Tag Archives: Documentary Photography

Helping Others Through Photography, Part Two

Membership in various community-based organizations often comes with the expectation of some type of volunteer work.  It usually doesn’t take long to discover who is the best person to chair the ‘bake sale,’ serve as an officer, or head up the kitchen committee.  Each and every volunteer is important and has value with the organization.  Non-profit organizations couldn’t survive without volunteers!

Upon moving to our historically rural – but rapidly changing and growing – community of Nolensville (located on the south side of Nashville TN), I knew I wanted to learn more about the history of this charming little town.  Membership in the Nolensville Historical Society seemed to be just the place to do just that!

Ah. But finding a way I could meaningfully volunteer was challenging!

That’s where my passion for photography stepped in.

After making friends with a life-long local resident and member of the society, he and I set out to photograph historic Nolensville.  My friend is my guide and I follow along and take pictures…lots and lots of pictures!  Our first goal was to document the beauty of the land and the character of the farms and structures on the farms that quietly spoke ‘historic Nolensville and rural Tennessee.’

© Sue Henry

© Sue Henry

After exploring and photographing several farms in and around Nolensville, my friend and I gave a presentation to the Historical Society. While I showed many of my photos of Nolensville, he told stories and shared the history behind each photo.

The program was well received…and now we are working toward our second program.

Our next program will focus on log structures of Nolensville.  Again, documentary in nature, we are hiking in the woods, traveling down lanes and paths I would have never dared explore without my friend, where we find log barns and houses in various stages of disrepair.

© Sue Henry

© Sue Henry

Some of the structures are nearly gone and more than likely will not be restored.  The particular structure pictured above is on property that is slated to soon become a ‘dude ranch.’

Many Nolensville natives, however, are reclaiming historic log structures and preserving their charm and culture by painstakingly moving each individual log and carefully rebuilding log cabins on their property.  It is with a sense of pride the owners open the gates to their properties and allow us to visit and photograph.

© Sue Henry

© Sue Henry

By collaborating with my friend on this project I feel I am helping the Nolensville Historical Society and perhaps the town of Nolensville in some small, but meaningful, way.

More of my volunteer work can be found on the Nolensville Historical Society’s web site, where I help maintain the site.

I share this post with you today not to receive any kuddos, but rather to encourage my photographer friends to find a way to share your talent with others, especially charitable organizations. Some of my friends give their services to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, participate in taking photos of families of those serving in the Armed Forces, take photos of animals in shelters, or assist any number of other worthwhile charities.

Have you found your place to volunteer with your photography?  I invite you to share in the comments additional ways of sharing your talent.  Perhaps we can help other photographers find just the best way they can “Help Others Through Photography.”

Contributed by Sue Henry