For those readers out there not familiar with you, can you give them a quick overview of what it is that you do?
JL: I am a full-time professional photographer, currently based out of Waterbury Center, VT. I’ve worked extensively with the local snowboarding and freesking communities here in Vermont over last five plus years. The USASA Northern Vermont Series welcomed me into their incredible community, and they play a huge role in why I feel so strongly about supporting the High Fives Foundation.
Big picture, my business provides commercial, editorial, event, and personal (family, weddings, and senior portraits) photographic services, and have been working professionally as a photographer since 2009.
How did you get involved with the High Fives Foundation?
JL: I don’t recall the exact year, but was asked by Ski Vermont to cover the FAT Ski-athon at Mount Ellen/Sugarbush. At the time I was working heavily in photojournalism/editorial, which lead to doing the homework and learning as much as I could about the High Fives Foundation before arriving on-sight. I had also just started becoming more involved with the local USASA chapter, and the dots were starting to connect when I realized how any one of those kids learning to “fly” over snow could find themselves in Roy’s position.
The energy of the event that day was incredible, and blown away by the community atmosphere. It reminded me a lot of what I was experiencing with USASA Northern Vermont Series, and from there knew I wanted to stay connected/involved in some way beyond just covering the story of the day. When I returned to the next USASA local event to photograph the kids launching themselves through the local terrain parks, doing what they love with so much passion – It really clicked for me. Sometimes it does go wrong, and in supporting the High Fives Foundation, feel like I’m supporting and helping to ensure their is always a “High Five” there for them in the event of the unforeseeable happening. Life is short, and meant to be lived to the fullest. Knowing there is an organization out there to step-in and support – it’s important.
The photos went on to be featured in Ski Vermont’s Annual Magazine, and proved useful in many other outlets which only deepened my relationship with the organization. Creating imagery to support either the success of an organization like High Fives, or extending the reach of a young person’s achievements in their hometown weekly – have in past been driving forces for me to keep at it. Becoming involved with the High Fives Foundation has been very inspirational as a member of the community, but also has a small business aiming to grow into one that gives back as it can.
How does your company support High Fives?
JL: The partnership as written is to donate 5% of my proceeds from on-mountain photography. However, I’ve been trying to expand that out to 5% of non-mountain-based assignments as the on-snow photography work has become more challenging to book due to unpredictable weather/conditions here in the East. (Climate change is real!)
What is your favorite High Fives Memory?
JL: Oh wow, this is a hard one to answer because I’m not sure I have just one, BUT will say this past season’s FAT Ski-athon awards ceremony was a tear-jerker in how they truly honored the local Mad River Valley community in a show of love like none other I’ve seen in a long time.
What does High Fives mean to you?
JL: Hmm… well to me it means, “We’ve GOT THIS!” or “WE DID IT!”. I find in my own life whenever I reach up and out for a “high five” it’s this flow of positive energy between people who are about to take on a challenge or to celebrate the achievement of overcoming that challenge – whatever it may be. This past weekend, the couple I was working with was given a tiny window to achieve a dream photo-moment on their wedding day, and after we achieved it (which only minutes to spare) – BIG old happy high fives! Just feels good!
How can others get involved helping High Fives through your photography?
JL: BOOK ME! Ha ha, OR… recommend/refer my services to those they think may enjoy working with me. I do a lot of content creation, stock photography for businesses who want authentic imagery to tell their brand’s story, and of course event coverage. I’m going to always give as much as I can whether it be funds or my time to support the High Fives. HOWEVER, if my business is not successful/profitable – unfortunately it adds challenges to giving back to the community if the community does not support your being IN business. This would be the same for any and all business who’ve opted to give back to High Fives Foundation. I personally strive to do business or reach out FIRST to partners knowing that I’m not only supporting my local business, I’m supporting my whole community, and the High Fives Foundation is an INTAGRAL part of our community here in Vermont. Which is incredible! With that said, I would honestly continue to strive to be a giving Five for Five partner even if my business has to relocate. I hope to be a partner for the duration of my career as a photographer!
THE CALL OUT! What other company do you think should get involved with the Five for Fives program?
GO: Ooo… locally I’m pretty stoked to say MANY of the local business are involved in some shape or form, as well as many “obvious” industry folk. So… think I need to think BIGGER and going to go BIG and call out JEEP! Being a Jeep owner has empowered me to go anywhere, to tackle whatever the road ahead of me presents, and more important feel apart of a community that is bigger than myself. It’s empowering. Sound familiar?!? Never mind with every “Jeep Wave” I feel like I’m giving out a high five to a stranger, and that always feels good. Anything is possible – right?