When talking about art that can fuel movements, photography deserves a central place. Photographs help us feel the reality of things we’d previously grasped only on an intellectual level. They carry a deep power to connect mind with heart, moving individuals from cerebral agreement to passionate action.
A number of tremendous humanitarian photographers have contributed greatly to the Christian orphan care movement in recent years, from Tony Cece to Esther Havens. Other friends of the Alliance like Jenn Kroll, Dustin and Katie Leonard, and Bryan Watt have played a vibrant role as well. These artists have harnessed a blend of skill and creativity and aesthetic sensitivity to capture images—both beautiful and painful—that are not easily forgotten.
One example of photography harnessed for powerful effect that I recently encountered came from Kristin Laughlin. Kristin has captured compelling images of children around the globe. She also provides her services to adoptive families desiring to record their adoption journey in poignant imagery.
But what recently brought tears to my eyes is the way Kristin told the story of a birthmother in Texas who made the decision to give her newborn for adoption. (She created the video of the slides in partnership with Gladney). With simple text, music and pictures, Kristin gives windows into both the sorrow and joy that adoption represents. What made this especially meaningful is that it gave special voice to the birthmother, who far too often is unacknowledged amidst a completed adoption. Though it can be awkward, Christians must do a better job of enabling the voice of the birthmother to be heard, both in its grief and in its hope. Kristin’s photo montage does just that.
Watch the video on Kristin’s blog (currently the second post from the top under the title “A Birthmom’s Story.”)