top left: Steve Tague, Mike Albright, Peter Welker, Michelle Swager, Deanna Leach, Lauren Zivney, Clare Kubota) (bottom left: April O’Meara, Karin Morris, Kathy Martin, Kevin Kubota

Through the Lens, Healing Works of Photography

The Ablitree Lens Project, Abilitree’s annual photography event featuring clients and mentors, will be continuing through June 26 at Franklin Crossing.

Five Abilitreeclients tested their photography skills in the Old Mill District. With two photography classes under their belts, the amateur photographers captured landmarks, iconic scenery and elements of nature throughout the city of Bend.

“The Lens Project is more than an art show or fundraiser. The project fills our clients with the joy of exploring new talents and living a full life filled with creativity and new experiences. We’re proud and excited to share their work with the community,” says April O’Meara, marketing and development director for Abilitree.

The photography outing was one of the several ways that Abilitree, a local nonprofit, empowers individuals with disabilities to develop their independence and inclusion in community life. Abilitree serves adults with disabilities in the tri-county region of Central Oregon, from physical, intellectual and developmental (including Down syndrome, Autism spectrum, cerebral palsy) to cancer and traumatic brain injury survivors. Abilitree offers employment placement, counseling and support groups, skills training for living independently and information and referral.

Abilitree partnered with local photographer, Steve Tague, to teach the photography classes and lead the workshop. “This project combines my love for photography, teaching and being able to contribute to make a positive impact on our community,” explains Tague.“Before this project, I was familiar with Abilitree but I didn’t realize to what extent Abilitree changes people’s lives. I am thrilled to be a part of this project.”

“I learned so much about photography through this project,” says Peter Welker, an Abilitree client. “I learned about lighting, perspective and the mechanics of the camera. I would like to purchase my own camera one day and when I do I will know how to use it. Thank you, Abilitree and Steve Tague for teaching me this knowledge about photography.”

Two days of classes provided participantswith the basics of photography, including the use of SLR digital cameras, framingan image, defining a good image and post-production. Clients’ 16×20 canvases and prints will be for sale during First Friday, June 3 as a fundraiser benefiting Abilitree along with raffle prizes including a gift certificate from the Old Mill District.

“I’m excited to do more photography,” says Abilitree Client Michelle Swager. “This project taught me so much. I’m inviting everyone I know to the exhibit on June 3 and I hope they all come.”

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