A Safe Haven

One of the most wonderful things about photography is the confidence, inspiration and purpose it can give. At PhotoAid many projects involve photographers actually training or documenting a charity or good cause, we came across Diana who is doing it a bit differently. She shoots social and landscapes in her normal day to day work and donates 10% back to a charity. What we love about Diana, is that she took up a camera to express herself after a period of emotional hurt so as therapy for herself but also now generates revenue for a charity helping trafficked women. 

Diana Shaffer - interview on F8 for PhotoAid

Diana Shaffer – interview on F8 for PhotoAid

First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself, how did you start as a photographer?

Well, I always enjoyed taking pictures, but they were always from my phone. Back in June of this year, I purchased a Nikon D7000 from another photographer who was selling her equipment. It was like love at first sight! What compelled me to even buy it in the first place, was emotional hurt I was feeling. I felt like I needed a healthy outlet to express those feelings, and that’s when the actual pursuit of photography and using a camera began. It’s now not only therapy for me, but I’m able to make an income as well.

What kind of photography do you mostly do, what is a typical day for you?

Diana Shaffer - interview on F8 for PhotoAid

Diana Shaffer – interview on F8 for PhotoAid

I am based in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in the USA. A typical day for me, is taking care of my two daughters (I am a single mom) and going to work at a local middle school. Outside of that, I also find time to take pictures. I enjoy photographing the beautiful farm land in our area, and meeting with people to take their family portraits. I really enjoy capturing natural candid moments. I also like to find “diamonds in the rough” such as an abandoned barn, or something old and worn down to photograph it. I enjoy finding beauty in broken things.

Your method of benefitting a charity with your photography is different to what we normally see here at PhotoAid. Can you tell us how it works?

I felt it in my heart to start giving back at least 10% of any amount given me to charity, because I wanted to make a positive impact on the world in some way with my talent.  I have decided for the year of 2016-2017 to support North Star Initiative. They are a local non profit organization that rescues and rehabilitates women who are slaves to human trafficking. When I found out this was happening in my area, I really wanted to help in any way I could. North Star is in the process of opening their safe house for these rescued women called “The Harbor” where they can stay and be rehabilitated in a beautiful, peaceful place. Going from such slavery and chaos, most of these women are traumatized from the amount of abuse from their captures, and desperately seek refuge. Supporting this cause through a donation of money, or gifting your time to volunteer is needed to keep the Harbor up and running.

Was the process to donate to the charity difficult to set up?

Actually, it was and still is a simple process for me. I put 10% or more aside every photography shoot where I am getting paid, and I have a separate bank account just for giving, so that I am not tempted to spend it in any way.

Diana Shaffer - interview on F8 for PhotoAid

Diana Shaffer – interview on F8 for PhotoAid

Tell us how you came about supporting this initiative with your photography?

Honestly, I have a strong desire to see women be set free, from any kind of bondage, and feel that is my passion to see them be healed and whole again. I am currently on a healing journey myself, so this hits home to the desires of my heart.

What would be the total best outcome for you through your sponsorship of this charity?

I would like to make a difference to help meet the financial needs of North Star, and also encourage other photographers to give back to our community in a way that makes this world a better place for us to live. Maybe instead of saving up for a new piece of equipment, how about being a blessing to someone in need, even if it’s just once. None of us can do everything, but we all can do something.

If you could go anywhere with your camera, where would it be and why?

Oh my, that list is endless! But I would love to take my camera to Ireland, and capture all the beauty that country has to offer. I would also love to go somewhere with my camera to document a story, to show the world a place where an injustice is happening, so that we might do something about it.


To follow Diana, and find out more about the charity, have a look at:

North Star Initiative      Diana Shaffer Photography | Facebook    Instagram

Copyright VanessaChampion.co.uk

Diana Shaffer – interview on F8 for PhotoAid

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