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Colorado Gives Day 2018

Colorado Gives Day is today! This is Colorado’s local version of Giving Tuesday. Each year on the Tuesday following Giving Tuesday, Coloradoans can donate to local non-profits while maximizing their giving power through a $1 Million Incentive Fund. The incentive fund is split between all participating non-profits, based on the percentage of donations they receive. 

I know how hard it can be to find the resources to donate money or even time to non-profits. That’s why I’ve built it into my personal budget and my business structure, because I know giving is so important. Non-profits need money, but they also need other forms of support like time, services, and resources. Below are five local organizations I volunteered with, supported, or donated to this year. These are wonderful, homegrown organizations that need your help as well. 

Presenting Denver

Who they are: Presenting Denver serves as Denver’s dance community. Their goal is to create a way to bring dancers and dance lovers together through performances, support, and resources. 

How I gave: I volunteer on the Dance Events committee. I also volunteer as a photographer ambassador, where I photograph headshots, promotional material, and events.

How you can give: There are so many ways to support Presenting Denver. You can volunteer on one of their committees, attend an event, become a sponsor, or make a financial donation

Opera Colorado

Who they are: Opera Colorado is Denver’s biggest opera company. Each season, they produce three operas, two at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and one at a smaller theater. They strive to present new works, and bring up and coming artists to the state.

How I gave: I give to Opera Colorado by donating a portion of my services to the company.

How you can give: They have so many ways for you to support, from Young Artist Sponsorship to one time donations. You can donate to Opera Colorado through Colorado Gives Day here.

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Gender Identity Center of Colorado

Who they are: The Gender Identity Center is an important resource for transgender, nonbinary, and questioning Coloradoans as well as their families and friends. They offer therapy, support groups, community, and other essential services. The GIC is one of only a few centers in the country that does this and they have been open for over 40 years. 

How I gave: I ran a charity photo shoot at Boulder Pride, to raise money for the organization. I also donated to their fundraising campaign. 

How you can give: The GIC is always looking for volunteers to help at events, lead support groups or offer pro-bono therapy to the community. 

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Vagina Monologues Denver

Who they are: Kate Spencer organizes Denver’s production of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues, a world renowned play to help stop violence against women and girls. 

How I gave: I volunteer to photograph their rehearsals, headshots, and performances.

How you can give: Audition! Vagina Monologues is looking for anyone who identifies as a woman to be a part of the show. No acting experience required. Auditions are being held on December 15th. Don’t want to be on stage? Follow them on Facebook and attend a show in February!

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The Center

Who they are: The Center serves as the LGBTQ community center for Colorado. The provide the LGBTQ community with resources, programs, communications, and opportunities. 

How I gave: I donated clothing to their transgender clothing swap event.

How you can give: Volunteer at an event, donate, or shop through one of their affiliates.

Happy Giving, Colorado! I’d love to collaborate with you or your organization! Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Families Belong Together Rally at Denver's Civic Center Park

Families Belong Together | Denver Photography

The first protest I ever went was an immigration march in Chicago. The march went past my grade school so we had the day off and my brother’s high school agreed to allow excused absences for students who attended. Our my mom gave us $10 and my brother and I went to our first rally. It made national news and I felt like I was a part of something important.

Speakers at Denver's Families Belong Together Rally

When I heard about the Families Belong Together Rally in Denver, I knew I had to be there. When there are dozens of horrifying and upsetting news stories a day, a few stand out more than the others. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and stop paying attention to what the government is doing to this country and the world. But, when children and parents are being separated and detained just for trying to reach safer grounds, it’s hard not to be affected. It’s important to keep paying attention and keep being upset because this news should be upsetting!

Families Belong Together Rally at Denver's Civic Center Park

There was a moment during the rally that brought tears to my eyes. The speaker asked all immigrants to raise their hands. Then they asked anyone who was a descendant of immigrants to raise their hands. My grandparents were we’re asylum seekers who came here to escape Nazi Germany. At a time when many others in their situation were being turned away and sent to their eventual deaths, my family managed to make it to safety. This country provided the asylum they needed that saved their lives. And later, my grandfather served in the US Army and fought against his native land in World War II. His fluency in German proved to be an important asset in the war effort.

Signs at Denver's Families Belong Together Rally

When it comes to protests, it’s important to show up because numbers make a difference. That first march I went to with my brother drew tens of thousands and it made national news. It woke people up and demanded that they pay attention. That’s why showing up matters. It’s not easy, especially for people with unconventional schedules like me. I’m often working during protests and marches or it’s the only free time I have that week to edit, answer emails, or go grocery shopping. It’s hard to even keep track of when the next one will be. I try to go when I can because I know how important showing up is and I know how important documenting these events can be.

Protesters at Denver's Families Belong Together Rally

Signs at Denver's Families Belong Together Rally in Civic Center Park

Children hold signs at Denver's Families Belong Together Rally

Children hold signs at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Protesters at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Child donates money at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Speakers at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Protseters at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally in Civic Center Park

Protseters at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Statue of Liberty sign at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Speaker at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Photograpers at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

What collection of protest photos would be complete without an adorable dog, keeping cool in the shade?

Cute dog protester at Denver's Keep Families Together Rally

Interested in working with me?  Send me an email at jamie@jamiekraus.com

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Dancer and Activist Pi DuVal | Denver Headshot Photography

One of the ways in which I volunteer my time is by donating my Denver headshot photography to Presenting Denver. Presenting Denver is a non-profit organization founded in 2013. Their mission is to support the art of dance through increased public exposure and the appreciation of movement as an innovative art form.

In the past, I’ve taken dance photos of members of the dance community that Presenting Denver features as part of their In the Spotlight series. This season, I took headshots for the spotlights, as well as the ambassadors for the organization. We did these portraits on the rooftop of the Beauvallon building, where the Presenting Denver offices are located. This location gave us some wonderful spots, with nature, architecture, and beautiful views of the city.

Dancer and Activist, Pi DuVal

Allegra “Pi” DuVal grew up dancing, performing, teaching, and choreographing in her mother’s dance studio in Crested Butte. Her passion for dance never faded and she now strives to use dance as a medium to spread kindness and solidarity.

One of the things that struck me most while I was reading Pi’s interview was her passion for giving back and activism in her community. If you’ve seen my new project, Dance Warriors, you know how important the intersection between politics, social justice, and the arts is to me. As Sutton Anker writes in her In the Spotlight interview, “Pi is involved with the Colfax Community Network teaching hip-hop to children of transient families and also teaches at Feel the Beat, a Denver area studio for the deaf and hard of hearing.” She also founded Dance is Love, in response to the rise in hate crimes during and after the 2016 election. They have performed for the Denver RAW Artist Showcase and are now the official dance company of Denver Pride Fest.

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Looking for a relaxed, fun headshot experience, with a lot of character? Contact me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Colorado Gives Day 2017

Colorado Gives Day is Colorado’s local version of Giving Tuesday. Each year on the Tuesday following Giving Tuesday, Coloradoans can donate to local non-profits while maximizing their giving power through a $1 Incentive Fund. The incentive fund is split between all participating non-profits, based on the percentage of donations they receive. This year, they’ve introduced, Kids for Colorado Gives, a website just for kids so they can donate to their favorite causes. Colorado Gives Day is December 5th this year, which is tomorrow!

A couple years ago, I wrote my first blog for Colorado Gives Day and I thought it was important to update it. This time I’m sharing where I donate throughout the year. It can be hard to find the resources to donate money or even time. I’ve built this into my personal budget and my business structure because I know giving is so important. Non-profits need money, but they also need other forms of support, like time, services, and resources. Below are three local organizations I support, that need your help as well.

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Opera Colorado

Opera Colorado is Denver’s biggest opera company. Each season, they produce three operas, two at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and one at a smaller theater. They strive to present new works, and bring up and coming artists to the state.

I give to Opera Colorado by donating a portion of my services to the company. My donation is through their new Corporate Sponsorship Program. They have so many ways for you to support, from Young Artist Sponsorship to one time donations. You can donate to Opera Colorado through Colorado Gives Day here.

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Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health care and advocates for the same across the country. They have clinics, online service, and events throughout the year. While Planned Parenthood is an international organization, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains focuses on the needs of people in Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.

For the past two years, I have been donating monthly to Planned Parenthood. They also have many volunteer opportunities for local events like Denver Pride Fest. You can donate to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains through Colorado Gives Day here.

http://www.jamiekraus.com/

Presenting Denver

Presenting Denver serves as Denver’s dance community. Their goal is to create a way to bring dancers and dance lovers together through performances, support, and resources. They are also co-presenting a dance festival, in partnership with the Newman Center. The first Presenting Denver Dance Festival will be this summer, on June 23rd and 24th.

Like Opera Colorado, I donate my services to Presenting Denver in the form of dance, event, and headshot photography. I also give my time by serving on their Dance Festival Committee. They even have an Amazon Smile account so you can support them through your regular Amazon purchases. You can donate to Presenting Denver here.

Happy Giving Colorado

Total Solar Eclipse | Denver Photography

August 21st, 2017 had been saved in my calendar for two years. My partner loves space and watches astronomical events closely so when we realized that a total solar eclipse would be within a couple hours of us, we knew we had to be there. We tried looking for hotels and airbnb’s near Casper, but they were either sold out or out of our price range. Then we found a campsite, in the path of totality and even closer than Casper. It was perfect, but I was a bit worried. We had never been camping together and I hadn’t been since I was a kid. We’ve been through far more stressful experiences together, so I knew we could handle it, even if I’m not the most outdoorsy person in the world.

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Camping turned out to be lots of fun. There were so many other people there who were excited to see the eclipse! Our camp was in an old rodeo arena and within walking distance of the Oregon Trail ruts. The ruts are where over time, the wagons carved a path in the rock as they traveled across Wyoming. It was incredible to see stone so clearly altered by humans, hundreds of years ago. And yes, there were lots of jokes about dying of dysentery!

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Even though our campsite was in the path of totality, we wanted to get even closer. We drove to a spot where we would be on the line of perfect totality. That means we would get an extra few seconds with the black hole in the sky. We were also near a bunch of cows, which I was really excited about. I wanted to see how animals reacted to the eclipse. The farm was very large and they were probably scared off by all the people, so I couldn’t really see them but I did hear them mooing!

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I was intent on experiencing the eclipse unencumbered but my partner wanted to photograph the event so I set up a camera and left him to it. I had another camera on a tripod taking video of the cows and the 360 degree sunset. You can watch the whole video below, just excuse the shakiness from when I picked it up to get a glimpse of the eclipse itself.

There is no way to describing the sight of a total solar eclipse, that would do it justice. I had seen so many photos and videos and heard from people who had seen them before and I was completely unprepared. And being near the path of totality, but not in it, is not even close.

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The “diamond ring” shot

As it got closer to 100%, it started getting darker around us, but not quite like the sun was setting. The sky looked hazy, and the sun was still visible, high in the sky. Then the sunset in all directions started to appear and we could hear the cows mooing and crickets chirping. But when it got to 100% totality, I immediately started crying. It was the most incredible sight. We had about two and half minutes of totality, but I don’t think any amount of time would have been enough. As the sun came out from behind the moon, I was able to see the “diamond ring” effect and my partner was able to capture it! I then raced over to the nearest white car to see the “shadow bands,” the snake like shadows from the edge of the sun shining through the moon’s mountains and valleys. And just like that, it was over and we had to head home.

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A composite showing the sun’s corona

The trip home was not quite as easy as the way there. It took us 8 hours to get home. It would have taken 2-3 hours normally. Eventually, we made it back to Colorado and stopped in Fort Collins for some much needed tacos. We already have plans for the next one to go through the U.S., seven years from now!

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Wanna meet me and chat? Send me an email at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

How to Fill Your Wall With Art for Free

I love being surrounded by art. I love visiting art museums or seeing public art while I’m walking through a city. As a Colorado dance and portrait photographer, it’s important to have art around my work-space, so I made sure I was fully immersed in art and never without inspiration.

My office space is covered from floor to ceiling with art I’ve collected for the past 6+ years. My laptop is covered in stickers. My camera bag is covered in pins. I even have a hat that is covered in pins and jingles as I walk.

Below, I’ll walk you through the steps to make your own inspiration wall. It’s super simple and it won’t cost you a penny!

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How to make your own Inspiration Wall

What you’ll need:

  • Blue painters tape
  • Command strips
  • A measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Ample floor space for planning
  • A tall, sturdy chair or ladder
  • A large collection of posters, postcards, photos, prints, and small objects.

Collecting:

This step will definitely take the most time. Like I said, I’ve been collecting art for over 6 years, and I only started this wall a year ago. I also didn’t spend a single cent on any of it. (I do however spend money at art events and on other art pieces throughout my home, that I fell in love with.)

I get a lot of it from art shows and First Fridays. There are always business cards and postcards sitting out from the artists, and I grab all my favorites. Some of the pieces are my own work and some of them are from print trades with other artists. I also put up a lot of personal photos from my childhood or from my Instax camera. I got the posters for free from college events and guest lectures. I’ve ripped off the front of greeting cards and torn pages out of magazines for my art wall. Inspiration is everywhere!

My wall doesn’t have a lot of 3D art on it which is a shame, but don’t be afraid to incorporate all dimensions. You can include framed work or hanging objects, like dried flowers or records. This gives the wall a lot more texture and interest.

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Planning:

Once you have a sizable collection of art, you can start planning your wall. First you’ll want to measure your overall space. Then, if you are working around a piece of furniture (like my desk in this case), you’ll need to measure that. Make sure your measurements include where the furniture is, relative to the edges of your space. Also, don’t forget about outlets and other things you’ll have to work around.

Next you’re going to recreate that space on your floor. You can work in sections if you don’t have enough floor space. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough to fill the whole space. This is an ever-evolving project.

Once you have the space you’ll need to fill laid out on the floor, you can start filling it with art! This is definitely the hardest part but also the most fun. It’s like a giant puzzle without a reference picture. Feel free to trim things to size, so everything fits. I tried to keep about half an inch of space between each piece, to keep things consistent. You’ll want to make sure you mix small and large pieces, as well as 2D and 3D work. You don’t want a cluster of giant posters on one side and a bunch of tiny prints on the other. If you want, you can center everything around one prominent piece in the middle.

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Hanging:

Now you’re ready to start hanging everything up!

Before you start, take a photo of your layout so you can reference it later. Starting with the center, take once section at a time, and flip all the pieces over. Next, put tape on the back of each piece. For the bigger posters, I used command strip in each corner. For the smaller, lighter works, put a painters tape roll in each corner. For the really small pieces, I just used one piece of painters tape. If you’re hanging 3D work, use nails and string or wire.

Now put them on the wall, starting with the center and working your way out in sections. Use a chair or ladder to reach higher up the wall. You can refer back to the photo you took earlier, if you need to.

Once you’re done, step back and bask in the glory of your art-filled wall! You did it! Give yourself a high five and a bowl of ice cream. You totally deserve it.

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Wanna meet me and chat sometime? Send me an email at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Denver Art Show Recap | Denver Photographer

Two weeks ago, I showcased my art at the Denver RAW Art Show. It was phenomenal! The line to get in was around the block, the whole venue was packed all night, there were outstanding shows and performances the whole time, and everyone was having a blast.

I had a big wall and a table to display all my work. I had big prints and little trinkets for sale as well as a giveaway for a free photography session going on. I reached out to the winner of the giveaway last week and I cannot wait to show you all the memories we’re going to capture.

I also got to meet a bunch of other incredible artists so hopefully, some fun collaborations will be coming soon!

These awesome photos of me and my booth were taken by the RAW Photographers, Steven Pedraza and Sam Nguyen.

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