Her new photography career was quite a change from her former life, which had been spent as an architecture student and then an architectural design engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “I always had a camera nearby and stuck my nose in the activity of any photographer I saw,” she recalls. “I was especially impressed by the photographers on NASA’s zero-gravity plane who could shoot and film while floating inside the cabin of a KC-135 aircraft.”
Today, Laurie’s feet are planted firmly on the ground in her Austin studio. Her photography style aptly represents the sentiment she expressed on the home page of her website: “A memory is a painting dabbed with streaks of intense light and color; yet empty without the softer, muted tones of everyday life.” Little did PPACH know how lucky Operation Smile would be when Laurie’s name was drawn from the hundreds of photographers who qualified for the mission opportunity by donating to Operation Smile in 2009; in only a few words, she tells visitors to her website all they need to know about her motivation as a photographer and why she is so well-suited to document an Operation Smile mission:
I love imagery and movement,
the complexity of light,
brief sparkle of a connection.
People are intriguing,
their potential energy, amazing.
I have degrees in Architecture &
Extreme Environmental Design.
I love my 3 kids,
and they make me crazy.
I played at being a writer,
tumbled down ski slopes
& ran marathons.
I am in love with my
high school sweetheart.
I designed space habitats at
NASA and believed in dreams.
Photography has been my
You can visit Laurie’s website by clicking here.
"Last year represented an amazing turning point in our fundraising activities for PPA Charities. Because so many caring photographers and industry vendors recognized what could be accomplished for Operation Smile when we all stand together, we topped our $70,000 goal by $30,000! This allowed us to present Operation Smile with a check for $100,000 at our PPACH Celebration at ImagingUSA in January. This means that the smiles of more than 400 children will be saved through of the generosity of our industry.
"Because of this outstanding performance in 2009, the PPACH Trustees feel confident that our goal of $120,000 can be reached in 2010. Just imagine how we will feel about our great industry if this time next year we know that the lives of 500 children will be changed forever because more and more photographers participated in this great effort! It is within our reach if we start our fundraising efforts now, and if we spread the word about what we are doing to our industry colleagues!
"Thank you again for opening your hearts to children around the world and to the fabulous volunteer professionals at Operation Smile. Take a moment now to mark your 2011 calendar so that you can take part in the PPA Charities Celebration on the evening of Saturday, January 15, at Imaging USA in San Antonio!"
To learn how you can support Operation Smile, click here.
On January 10, during PPA's Imaging USA convention in Phoenix, Arizona, PPA Charities presented the 2008 donation to Operation Smile at Alice Cooperstown. The check was received by Beth Marshall, Operation Smile Senior Executive Advisor for Latin America and Caribbean, and Carmit Bachar, Operation Smile Celebrity Smile Ambassador. Bachar, an American singer and dancer, is best known as a member of the pop group, The Pussycat Dolls. Ms. Bachar, who was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate, participated on an Operation Smile medical mission to Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
PPA Charities' over $50,000 donation occurred during a time when many were toning down their charitable donations. In fact, during a four-year partnership, PPA Charities has raised more than $150,000 for Operation Smile...translating into helping hundreds of children and young adults.
PPA photographer Graham Wilson of Colorado was the largest donor to Operation Smile through the 2008 Family Portrait Month campaign, raising $10,000. By generating the largest donation during Family Portrait Month, Wilson won the chance to photograph an upcoming Operation Smile international medical mission.
Operation Smile has posted an item about PPA Charities' efforts on their website; you can read it by clicking here.