As part of our Portrait for Pixels campaign, we are turning the lens, so to speak, on the photographers who have generously accepted our invitation to take part in this innovative fundraising campaign. In today’s interview, we speak with Greta Jacobs of Houston, Texas, US.

Question 1: Tell us about yourself – how and why did you become a photographer?

Like many photographers, the art of photography has long intrigued me. However, I did not set out to make photography my career. When making choices for college, photography seemed foreign and mystical to my conservative upbringing. I felt I needed to pursue something that would earn a stable living. After studying electrical engineering and continuing my studies in business school, I realized I was missing something and the creative world pulled me in.

I chose portrait photography because of its ability to connect one human to another regardless of time or space. Growing up, my mother valued photographs of her family and made sacrifices to have our family portraits done at regular intervals. I am so thankful for all of her efforts. Now that she and my father have both passed away, our family photos help me relive all those wonderful memories.

I am honoured to be able to give that same gift to my clients and their families.

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in “Portraits for Pixels” and what are you going to do for the campaign?

I learned of the Pixel Project through my affiliation with 85 Broads, a global network of women who are inspired, empowered and connected. After participating in the Paint-it-Purple campaign last fall (see below) we decided that, as a child and family photography studio, the Pixel Project purpose aligns so well with our client base that we would continue to work on Pixel Project campaigns going forward.

The Portraits for Pixels campaign is a great opportunity for our clients to get their holiday photos done early while raising funds and awareness for this great cause. Jacobs Design will support Portraits for Pixels through both of our photographic entities: Greta Jacobs Photography (www.gretajacobs.com) and GJpeg (www.gjpeg.com). We will run our campaign from 9-22 September 2011.

Greta Jacobs Photography, our signature portrait business, will donate $100 from each session to Portraits for Pixels plus 10% of portrait sales. GJpeg, our on-location digital product business, will donate $100 from each Purple Package. Purple is the ribbon color for domestic violence awareness so we are encouraging our clients to choose this package to show support for eliminating domestic violence. However, if budgets dictate otherwise, we will donate $75 from each Blue Package to the campaign.

Question 3: Have you been involved in other campaigns to end violence against women? If so, tell us about it and why you decided to get involved. If not, why you have decided to get involved now?

We had such a fun time with the Paint-it-Purple party last fall! We coupled our cupcake sales with a toiletry drive for the Houston Area Women’s Center (www.hawc.org). Our clients brought toiletries for HAWC and received a free 5×7 of their little one in Halloween costume. The children were absolutely adorable! Two local bakeries donated themed cupcakes for us to sell. The money raised from the cupcake sale was split between The Pixel Project and HAWC.

Although we did not raise a lot of cash from selling cupcakes, we were able to bring in five large bags of items (thanks to our generous clients!) for the women’s centre to use in their programs for women and children.

With three small daughters in our home, I am hyper-vigilant of what the future might hold for them at all stages of their development. My wish would be that they only find healthy relationships because no other kind exist! With that being a bit unrealistic in the short-term, my focus is to educate them and others on all the types of abuse and to empower women to avoid abusive relationships in their lives.

Question 4: Violence against women is a sensitive, even taboo, issue in many cultures that is frequently shrouded by silence and denial. How do you think photographers and photography can help “break the silence”?

Photographers speak without words. Carefully crafted imagery can convey powerful messages in a short time. In this fast-paced world, consumers of information may more easily digest the visual messages that we photographers can deliver.

Question 5: What do you think would be the best way of encouraging more photographers to get on board the cause to end violence against women?

Violence against women affects all of us. In Texas there were nearly 200,000 incidents of family violence in 2009 and (according to the Texas Council on Family Violence) 74% of all Texans have experienced some form of domestic violence either themselves, or by having seen a family member and/or a friend experience it.

There are many types of photographers out there. But for those of us selling our work to consumers, we recognize that women account for over 80% of all consumer purchases. It isn’t hard to join the statistics together and see that even if our clients are not personally affected, they probably know someone who is.

Question 6: Besides participating in campaigns such as “Portraits for Pixels”, how else do you think photographers can help stop violence against women?

The photographic community is rapidly changing with more women entering the business. If we all learn to recognize the signs of abuse my hope is that we can become a resource for our clients and others to get help and get out of abusive relationships.

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