© TAMARA REYNOLDS
Allison Winn, founder of the Stinkbug Project and featured in "The Power of One."
Nashville based photographer Tamara Reynolds has been freelancing for Reader’s Digest since 2004, documenting individuals who strive to make a difference in their communities. She shoots for “The Power of One,” a monthly RD feature that celebrates hometown heroes and their uplifting stories. Until recently, she shot still photography, but changing technology has called for a new way to reach readers. With the launch of the Reader’s Digest iPad App, she and Director of Photography Bill Black have transitioned to video to communicate each story in a creative and compelling way.
Reynolds has used video to record a number of different efforts across America. From St. Louis, Missouri, where the non-profit community arts center Urban Studio Café aims to spark creativity in the local youth, to NoLA, where a group of friends builds Habitat for Humanity homes for their alma mater. She has also travelled to small-town America to photograph and film a family who has begun to grow and jar their own food to save money during the recession. Each project is a combination of video and stills that engage, inform and inspire the viewer.
Most recently, Reynolds documented the Stinkbug Project, a charity program in Denver, Colorado founded by nine year old cancer survivor Allison Winn and her mother. The Stinkbug Project’s mission is to “support families stricken with childhood cancer” by providing well-trained, loving dogs as a companion for the ill child. Of her own dog, Coco, Winn says, “She made me feel better,” and she wanted to help other children through their treatment and recovery in the same manner. To implement their goals, Winn and her mother raise money by selling homemade dog biscuits, and use the profit to adopt rescue dogs from the prison-trained K-9 program at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility.
Reynolds says the biggest challenge of each project is to condense the amount of information into a one minute video. Each video not only serves to highlight the accompany article, but to invest the viewer emotionally in only sixty seconds. It’s a difficult task to honor the exemplary “Power of One” individuals like Allison Winn, who has put so much strength and drive into her cause.
Reynolds’ success is clear through both the final products and the praise of those that she works with. Bill Black says, “Tamara's exceptional gifts with people allow for unprecedented access and celebration of genuine character to come through in spades with every subject I've ever assigned her to shoot. The best expressions of honest emotions and human interaction can only really happen with trust and the ensuing vulnerability...Tamara is a master of that moment.” Tamara Reynolds is represented by RepGirl, Inc and Ally Godfrey Represents.