As part of the campaign for Volunteer Week, I asked NZ Sculpture OnShore volunteers why they do it? This is me putting my money where my mouth is. Photo: Tom Gray, 2014. Shot on iPhone4, edited with Photo Editor by Aviary

As part of the campaign for National Volunteer Week, I asked NZ Sculpture OnShore volunteers why they do it? This is me putting my money where my mouth is. Photo: Tom Gray, 2014. Shot on iPhone4, edited with Photo Editor by Aviary

It’s National Volunteer Week here in NZ, and as the marketing person at NZ Sculpture OnShore, I’m trying to leverage the event to sign up some new volunteers to help at this year’s exhibition.

Riffing off of some other recent social media campaigns involving people and simple signs, I decided to ask our volunteers why? Why do they give up their time to help at our event? Why do so many come back year after year? Why do some (like me) get involved in the management of the exhibition.

Answers on a sheet of paper, in a photograph to be shared on FaceBook, Twitter, our website, etc.

To get the ball rolling, and show people the kind of stuff I wanted, the boy-child and I did some test shots. His counts because he has volunteered (read persuaded by his mother) to do some design and photography work for us. Does the sense of coercion show?

tom volunteer
The boy-child’s reason for helping out. Actually I think it was a toss-up between that and “I did it for the canapes and gelato.”
Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Photo Editor by Aviary.

My contribution to Sally’s Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge this week is not really an experiment in photography, but in the way the growth of phoneography and non-SLR devices have changed the way we create, process and deliver information.

Because I can reliably assume most of our volunteers have a smart phone and internet access, I can ask for participation in a campaign like this, and know that it’s not going to be a huge hassle for people to take part. And as we become more and more used to instant photography, it changes how we process information — text become image. Because of social media, I can share this text-as-image information with a huge audience.

These images were shot in colour and I had intended to share them in colour too; but having stripped away the distractions of my pink and green top, and the greens and reds of the artwork on the wall; I’m not so sure. Perhaps black and white is right for a campaign that about the sincerity of the words and the faces of those who have written them.

If you would like to see how other volunteers responded to the campaign, you can visit our FaceBook page or, Twitter feed. Volunteer Week runs until Saturday 21st, and I’ll be posting daily until then.

And if you would like to see how other bloggers have responded to Sally’s challenge, check these out:


Helping others: it’s never black and white

29 thoughts on “Helping others: it’s never black and white

    • Thank you Sally; I hadn’t really thought about what a difference black & white photography would make to these shots. πŸ™‚


  1. Pingback: Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Black and White (Train to Berkeley, California) | Lens and Pens by Sally

  2. aloha ZimmerBitch. your Pens section has me smiling. and i like the smile on the Mom Told Me To photo. it tells a story between sign and being which i like.

    the idea of your question and mechanism for sharing is spot on. and i agree B and W is an excellent way to give weight and clarity to the purpose/intent of the photo. fun. aloha.


    • Thanks Janet; I’m hopeful too. It’s a huge event (over 100 artists, 16 days) and almost all of us do it unpaid. πŸ™‚


    • Thanks Raewyn; we’re having so much fun with these. I got together with some of the front gate team on Saturday over a wine and took a bunch of fun photos. The volunteers are amazing!


    • Thanks Doda; I’m really pleased with the way this campaign has worked. It has generated a lot of interest and we are getting new volunteers for the exhibition. The boy-child was happy with his photo, and has been a very good sport about the whole thing. Hugs, Su πŸ™‚


  3. I really really like the black and white treatment AND the choice you made with the frame. It really works. If it was color, I’m not sure I would focus as much on the words and faces as you mentioned. What a great campaign! And of course I am still chuckling about boy child’s sign, and your idea that maybe he’s doing it for the food… sounds just like my boy!


    • Thanks Meghan. The campaign has gone really well; we’ve got lots of attention on FaceBook and signed up quite a few volunteers. We did actually pay the boy in gelato “vouchers” for some design work, and he’s good at availing himself of the catering when he photographs events. Boys eh; we know what makes them tick!


        • πŸ™‚ Recently, I’ve seen the back of my fridge for the first time since we bought it. It’s like he’s absorbing food through his pores!


          • My kid is 20 and he’s still really lanky and always hungry. He’s been a size 28 waist forever. He’s quite tall and hopefully he’s stopped the upward trend and can now fill out.


          • πŸ™‚ mine is 16 and went through quite a few years of being short and a bit pudgy. He’s just started growing again and is really lanky now too. No idea how tall he’ll get but his dad is 6’4″!


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