Well, this year is finally drawing to a close, and I know everyone has been THROUGH it in some way. I wanted to send one final blog post for the year and wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season. I also wanted to recap
what I've been up to and what's coming down the pipeline! To refresh memories, I was living in Vietnam working with photoshoot clients and traveling around when Covid hit. I was lucky enough to visit India for almost the entire month of February for a nonprofit client before borders closed up. By the end of March, I was back in America as the embassy advised leaving.
Because I've had such a nomadic life for the past few years, I was limited with options to bunker down in the States. My parents are gems, though, and I've been mostly staying with them. A lot of people in their 20's and 30's have had to do the same in these unprecedented times. And while it was very hard for me when I'm so used to being completely on my own with my treasured independence, at the end of the day, I'm just grateful that I had this as an option.
The first few months back were quiet; we were mostly in quarantine or limiting exposure. So I found part-time office work and kept myself busy with that. I also photographed a lot around town with the racial inequalities, social justice issues, and protests. It was an honor to use my camera to capture what was happening and share it with local advocacy groups.
A major escape was hiking and trails. I haven't really explored around North Carolina, and like so many others, I rediscovered my love for the outdoors. Most weekends I was on hiking trips or driving to nearby trails or state parks. From the mountains in the west of the state to deserted barrier islands with wild horses off the eastern coast, I took every possible chance to safely get some fresh air and explore.
And while still being as safe as possible with contactless payment, social distancing, and mask-wearing, I did start doing photoshoots again. All outdoors, all in the fresh air, all full of love and fun. I think having portraits and shoots in 2020 was a necessary thing. This is such a weird time, and people have been confined with each other so much more than ever before. And eventually that will stop. People will stop working from home. Kids won't have to use Zoom anymore. So while this was a challenging year, I'm glad there were so many opportunities to photograph the silver linings and happy moments with each other.
And now onto what's in the future. I've had something cooking up for almost a year: Retake. A nonprofit I founded that offers free photos and photoshoots to people who have lost their homes and belongings due to disasters or who come from war-torn countries and are now immigrants, refugees, or forced migrants. My goal is to create new keepsakes as they rebuild their lives.
I started Retake while living in Vietnam in January 2020. Little did I know I would soon be living my pandemic lifestyle, but it has allowed me to the time to do a lot of the back-end research and work. There are a lot of details into creating a nonprofit like securing board members, becoming an entity in the state of NC, creating the logo and social media, being granted a 501c3 status from the IRS, and so many other things.
I am so beyond excited for this next chapter and to combine my passions through this organization. There's still so much to do, but things are starting to come together. So 2021 is all about domestic travel and working with people through Retake while also finding new photo clients along the way. I'll be available for shoots all over the country, so reach out if you're interested or if you have connections with disaster relief/refugee groups that you think Retake could help!
Thank you everyone for all of your support, and I look forward to seeing you again safely in the future!
PS- for those interested, Retake's social media sites are:
Danielle Desnoyers is a traveling freelance photographer with a focus on humanitarian, travel, and family photography. She currently splits her time between the United States and Vietnam with travels to other countries as well.