Earlier this year, before the COVID-19 lock down hit, I had a chance to do a fun photo shoot for Bell Flower clinic, a local STD clinic under the Marion County Public Health Department. Having done a lot of social media & branding work with a couple other non-profit clients who receive funding from DMHA and SAMSHA, I’m really excited to see government and social service agencies get creative with the power of social media! Promotional or branding photographyPromotional & Branding Photography is a big part of that effort.
The clinic has a variety of outreach programs, including a presence and/or ads on some of the online dating apps. They were looking some playful images for their outreach campaigns, and one of their outreach folks was asked to model. It worked out great, because Dillon was also looking for an updated headshot – so we were able to kill two birds with one session!
Here are a couple images from the shoot. I think Dillon nailed it – fun, playful, approachable!
Dillon just completed his studies at Butler University in their Physician Assistants (PA) program. In his addition to work at Bell Flower, he has worked with other local HIV/STD prevention efforts. So he has a robust understanding of health and well-being. (He’s going to be an AMAZING PA, I can tell already!) I mention this because of something he said during the session. I had shared with him during our consultation that I was HIV+, so that opened us up to deeper conversations about living with HIV. At one point, I was talking about my general health. I said “yea, except for being HIV+, I’m pretty healthy.” He quickly corrected me, “You are healthy. Being HIV+ doesn’t mean you’re sick.”
At first I wanted to correct him – I mean, I take a pill everyday, so I must be sick right?
But the more I thought about it, I AM healthy. I’m living with HIV on an effective treatment, and am compliant with taking my medications. My viral load is undetectable. Without even getting into the science of U=U, I am healthy. It’s a subtle concept, but it gets at how I see myself. How I talk to myself. Even the dictionary defines healthy as “showing physical, mental, or emotional well-being” and “not displaying clinical signs of disease or infection.”
Subtle, but powerful.
For me, this is the power of promotional photography – it’s about the power images have in telling a story, and the conversations that are opened up through the storytelling. It already happened during our shoot – a conversation that changed how I view this part of myself. Imagine what other stories will be changed because of this outreach?
And to tie it all up in a bow, Dillon also brought me a gift. A pair of socks with U=U on them. Whenever I wear them, I think of him – his impact – and the power of storytelling.