Brendan Moore Photography's Phoenix Arizona Advertising, Editorial, and Corporate Photography Blog

Hello, and thank you for visiting my blog. I'm an advertising, editorial, and corporate photographer based in Phoenix AZ, and I love to photograph people. I think the people I photograph for advertising, editorial, corporate and personal projects have interesting stories, and I thought people might enjoy finding out about some of the people that they can also find on my website  at www.brendanmoorephoto.com.  You'll find  images of  some other interesting people there at my website that I've done for clients or myself, (sometimes both!)  I do hope you get the chance to check it out. Thank you for visiting my blog, and I hope you enjoy it-take care!

Brendan

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

People Helping People: Darkness to Light

I love pictures with stories behind them. And I'm inspired by stories of people who have overcome or are overcoming great difficulties in their life. I think many of us have had to overcome great difficulties on our lives, whether it be mental, physical or spiritual. The Phoenix Dream Center, a faith based recovery center based in Phoenix Arizona, has helped thousand of people over the years. Many of the residents have come directly from jails, institutions or living on the street. Many are attempting to overcome years of alcohol, drug and physical abuse. They are all attempting to regain their selves, to become something better.
I recently had the pleasure of taking portraits of a number of past and present Dream Center residents. They were kind enough to tell me a little of their stories, where they had been, where they were now, and where they wanted to go. Sometimes it was hard to reconcile the somber stories with the bright, hopeful people that were sitting in front of me.

Originally I wanted to tell every detail of these people's stories - then I realized the most important story to tell was what these people had discovered and learned since coming to the Dream Center.
So instead I used just a few of their words with their photographs, to say what I thought they were telling me had happened to them after coming to the Dream Center.
Lives that had been marked with tragedy and despair have been transformed into lives of usefulness and hope. Many have regained relationships with family and children, continued their education, received college degrees, embarked on new careers. But what I got from talking to the people I photographed, was that the most important thing they have gained from coming to the Dream Center, and what brings them the most joy, is the desire and ability to give back and help others by using their own experiences.
What a concept! Helping others...... People you don't know, people you have never met before.....Seems to run contrary to everything that I personally have picked up in this life. It seems that helping others in some strange way seems to help them. What the? This is all a little hard for me to believe, I can't quite figure it out. Isn't being happy just a matter of acquiring more money, more prestige, more people telling me I'm great, more love, more me?
The people I talked to had lost much. Jobs, homes, family and friends. Years of their lives........ It seems the things we use to fill the holes in ourselves make those holes so big there's almost nothing left of us or anyone around us. So their stories of using their life and experiences to try and pick someone else up....so that person can try and pick someone else up......



































Well it's downright inspiring to a selfish person such as me, myself, and I! I'm hoping some of this will rub off, so I don't have to actually help someone besides myself to get the light I see in these people's eyes! Can it work like that? I'm thinking.....probably not.



By the time I came back to the Dream Center to show everyone their pictures, one of the people that I photographed had left suddenly, throwing away everything they gained and stood to gain since they arrived at the The Dream Center. It's heartbreaking when you realize the terrible place that person came from and all that they had to lose by leaving. There seemed to be no sense to it. It's the nature of the beast I guess, for a hundred reasons it must be very hard to change the way you live your life. And it makes the stories of those who continue down their new path so much more inspiring to me.

I'm very grateful to all my subjects at the Dream Center for telling me their stories and letting me take their portraits. One of the reason's I love to work on projects like this is it does me so much good to be around people like this. People that are really trying to improve themselves and the world around them. It resets my priorities a bit, makes me realize what's really important. And it ain't necessarily me! I hope to get the chance to do something like this again soon, and I hope you guys like the pictures!




Tuesday, August 17, 2010

People helping People: Walking the Cross





This is Jim Cherrier's finger, and this
is his Bible. He got it in prison. He lives at The Phoenix Dream Center now, phxdreamcenter.org , a faith based halfway house in Phoenix, Arizona. Jim lived in half a dozen countries by the time he was eighteen and traveled to 80 more. Had a wonderful family and a high paying job. Jim's lived on the streets for 20 of his 56 years now, and he lost that family, that job and his arm to heroin. Today he's Walking the Cross. Jim met a woman Walking the Cross years ago before he lost his arm, and now he does it every Sunday, rain or shine. He's done it every Sunday for a year and three months, almost the whole time he's been with Church On the Streets. Church On the Streets Phoenix, cotsphoenix.com , is a ministry born on the streets of the largest city in Arizona, and that now resides at The Phoenix Dream Center. Walking The Cross is one of Church On the Street's outreach programs, faith based activities wherein they help many of the people that live on and around the streets of this city. The poor, sick, homeless, and addicted. Ex cons and prostititutes, their pimps and the mentally ill. Jim spent the last 6 years of his addiction here. Now he wants to help, help whoever he can, and give them what he has. He rises early, about 5, get's his things together, his clothes, his Bible and other books. He wants to be ready, to have what he needs for the 3 mile walk up Van Buren. A street that runs east and west through the Phoenix metropolitan area, until recently it has been synonymous with prostitution, now merely for decay. Jim is familiar with the route, it's people, their wants and their needs. He ran these neighborhoods with many of the people he now tries to help. And who better? He puts his Bible and other books into a well worn satchel, thumbing through them, making sure everything is here, where it needs to be. He's ready now, ready for the fight.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Whoever Has It In Their Heart

Jim is the leader of the Cross Walk, he does it every Sunday, rain or shine. He will accept up to 7 other disciples who have it in their heart to participate in this mission. Many times his fellow walkers are barely off
these streets themselves. They speak
amongst each other, planning their route and strategy. Each one speaks words of prayer, with the others murmuring words of assent and encouragement. At the end, as leader, Jim receives annointing of the Holy Spirit in the form of oil. Jim tells me this ritual is a symbol of reducing self, so the words he speaks on the street will be words of The Holy Spirit, words that will cut to the heart and be the truth of life. Words that can help whoever he meets.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Riding the Bus

The Dream Center houses 200 or so residents in a former Comfort Inns Suites Hotel. The four story building's parking lot is typically humming with activity, as visitors, residents, volunteers and employees on various out reaches, tasks, and errands come and go. The Church on the Street disciples walk through the rain and load the Crosses on to one of the buses in the rear of the parking lot. The bus begins it's drive to an outreach staging center run by Church On the Street and based at a house about five miles away on Van Buren. Towards the end of the drive, as the bus bounced and splashed it's way through wet streets, Mike paused from his prayers and talked to me about why he was Walking the Cross. He told me that although this would be his first time on the streets of Phoenix, he had been where we were going, knew how to get out of that place, and wanted to help and share that with others.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Starting the Walk

The Church On the Streets disciples unload their Crosses at the Washington House,
a residence used by Church On the Streets as a staging center for many of it's outreach programs. A pastor that lives in the house reaches out to prisoners in the Arizona jail system, other disciples
reside there to assist in whatever needs to be done for the various outreaches. Food is cooked, books are packed, sound equipment is transported to senior centers, homeless ministries, hospices, and needy neighborhoods. For many, Church On the Streets is their church, the only church they can or will have contact with. After praying outside of the Washington House, they walk the crosses to a nearby home, where an elderly woman lives who encountered disciples Walking the Cross some time back. She can't go to church, so on Sunday's Church On the Streets comes to join her in prayer on the front porch. Heads bowed and hands clasping hands and shoulders, the disciples pray with and for this fragile, cheerful woman. At the end she prays for the men, and blesses them as they walk towards their mission.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Just Folks

COTS disciples walk the cross rain or shine, and today it's rain. Which is wonderful, because most August weekends in August hover around 110 degrees in the shade. As we walk the route of the Cross, anyone we come across is hailed and approached-would you like to take the Lord in to your heart? Would you like to pray? Would you like to get right with God? Husbands and wives, young families, pimps and prostitutes, crack addicts and police, all are greeted with with these words. I am amazed-almost every person stops to talk and pray with one or all of the disciples.
Jim tells me the Holy Spirit gives them the gift of discernment, that they will know the right words to say to each person, that the Holy Spirit will touch their heart and people will know they are hearing the truth. At times the disciples pray with people they ran with on the street. Many times the Cross stops are spur-of-the moment, at a cracked corner of sidewalk or bus stop. Some are regular stops, places they've been before, places where Church On The Streets is the only church the people will see. At one of the homes we stop at, three ferocious dogs run up to us and beg to be pet, licking our hands and feet. I guess Church On the Streets has been here before. A dignified gentleman of about sixty leads us across the way to the home of a man called Bungee. Bungee got out of prison not long ago, recently had a heart operation, and is confined to a wheelchair. Church On the Streets regularly brings Bungee to their Sunday morning meeting at the Phoenix Dream Center, and also to My Fathers House, www.homeontheway.com , a ministry on 30th Ave and Van Buren where the homeless are fed, clothed, and given spiritual support. At My Fathers House Bungee is able to give as well as receive spiritual support. Today the disciples talk to Bungee, and gather around to pray-the dignified gentleman's dogs are not excluded. As I sit on the ground and photograph their prayers, the more ferocious of the three dogs comes over and licks me on the face. I think he wants to include me. After their prayers are done, we bid Bungee adieu. At the end of today's Crosswalk, the disciples will come back to Bungee's residence and place him in the front of their Chevy truck. Then they will put his wheelchair into the back of the truck, where it will ride with the three crosses and four disciples back to the Church On the Street morning service at The Phoenix Dream Center. On that day Bungee will thank the congregation for their prayers and support during his heart operation.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Demons

As the disciples proceed on the Walk, again and again the disciples stop to pray with whomever seems to need or want it-would you like to pray? Would you like to take the Lord in to your heart? A working man hurrying along the sidewalk, police talking on a side street, a prostitute that cries as the disciples surround her, their palms holding her hands and shoulders.
At a bus stop, two men sat huddled together as the Crosses approached. One of the men said, " I just did heroin, you can't help me! I have demons inside me." The disciples
seemed to know what to do, hovering
around the man, holding hands with
him and his friend, speaking words of what, I don't know what they're saying as the man started to writhe in his seat, garbling not words but sounds, tongue sticking out, his body jerking around as he threw up. The men didn't cease their words or their holding of his hand and shoulder as he continued to slide down and jerk in his seat. The disciples continued their prayers as the the man's movements subsided. Eventually he sat up and started talking with the disciples. Before we left I heard him tell his friend, "the demons aren't inside me anymore!" I have to tell you, I had never seen anything like this before. I was a little stunned. But I remember thinking that the man would probably be shooting heroin again in a short time.
Three or four blocks down the road the disciples approached a man clutching his walker at a second bus stop. As the men neared, he asked if they could help, that he had demons inside him. Again the men surrounded him, holding him and praying and talking to him so close and fast that I couldn't understand what was being said. The gentleman sweat and cried and in the end was calm. The disciples stayed with him for some time, telling him about services at The Dream Center and leaving him with literature.
I asked Jim later what they had done and said to these men. He told me they were casting demons out of them.
And that Jesus gives disciples the authority and power to cast out demons and sickness. That the Holy Spirit works through disciples to work miracles.
He said that he didn't know if these men had demons inside them, but that if someone was suffering and told him they had demons, that he would help.
Jim also told me that the first man had come to an evening service at The Dream Center a week later, where Jim was giving testimony before the congregation. Rushing to the stage, he began kissing Jim's hand and telling the congregation that he had been saved from demons. Then he sat down smiling, and watched the rest of the service.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Anywhere Everywhere

The Cross Walk continued, at times the disciples talked about what they'd seen and done, and what more they could do.
They seemed satisfied, sure of themselves and what they were doing. Jim told me we were going to a laundromat now, one where the homeless and others in need of spiritual support might be.
A pretty young homeless girl sitting on the sidewalk smiled up at the men as the crosses come to a stop outside the laundromat. Her smile was open and friendly, and she welcomed the disciple's offer of prayer. The men banded around, and after a man wearing a Riverside Baptist Church t-shirt and well worn work boots joined in, they began to pray outside the laundromat. After they were done with their prayers, several of the men crouch to give the girl spiritual literature. I am continuously amazed at the welcoming, enthusiastic reception given to the men walking the Cross, and I notice that people seem engrossed in the literature after the group has passed by. Some of the disciples entered the laundromat, and after a time I followed. Several of the disciples circled and prayed around an elderly man as he stared into the distance. Later I see him poring over one of the books they gave to him. Two of the Church On The Street Cross Walkers were having an animated conversation with two young men in their twenties, the men promising to attend one of the services at The Phoenix Dream Center. In the back of the laundromat, several of the disciples were praying with two Hispanic women and their children. One of the women is crying. Jim tells me later that one women brought the other to him. The second
woman, a single mother, asked to be
set free from her alcoholism. The men
prayed with her as she held her child, and before we left, gave her ways to follow up their invocations, giving her schedules for services at The Dream Center and other literature.