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Following the Energy With a DSLR

March 12, 2012 | By: Cathy Gordon

Following the Energy With a DSLRPhoto by Cathy Gordon

When our client CHHSM (The Council for Health and Human Service Ministries) talks about "following the energy," it means we are actively searching for, drawing out and elevating the good work that is already under way with CHHSM’s members.

For me this past week, it meant something a tad bit more literal— physical, even.

I just returned from St. Louis, where I attended CHHSM’s 74th Annual Meeting. This three-day event is a time for leaders to grow, connect and learn from one another.

My role was to give witness to the energy that bubbles up in people who are passionate about what they do and more importantly -- who they are.

So I crouched, poised behind my camera, focusing my lens and scanning the horizon for just the right opportunity to appear. With my finger on the shutter-release button I zeroed in on each genuine conversation, real concern, intent listener, good belly laugh – every spark – in essence, the passion that drives the CHHSM body.

The result? A series of images that captures the energy of CHHSM members in its most basic form. And a short video that frames the work of these members in the context of a broader historical movement.

As I physically followed the energy last week, I remembered that the storytelling process can be just as important as the work itself. The story contextualizes the past and helps us imagine the future. It reminds us allegorically that we're united under basic needs, similar stresses and shared dreams.

The words to the song in my video repeat the line, "light a fire in my heart with just a spark." The passion found in these people and in their work is the spark that warms people's hearts, but I truly believe that storytelling is the fuel to that fire.