McKinney-based photographer Brooke Richardson has joined other photographers across the nation to celebrate The Olivia Act, named after one of the children killed in Newtown, Conn., shooting on Dec. 14, 2012.
The Olivia Act was started by Leslie Spurlock Photography, a Dallas-based artist. Olivia’s family had family pictures taken a short time before she was killed. Those pictures are precious and now priceless to them. Upon hearing this, Spurlock was moved to give away a 30-minute family photo shoot and has challenged other photographers to do the same. "We go about our daily lives and sometimes we don’t take the time or have the resources to have family photos taken," Spurlock says on the official Facebook page, facebook.com/TheOliviaAct. Spurlock leaves her name off the official page, choosing to focus on the event, not her service.
The act is named in honor of Olivia Engel, a six-year-old who was one of the 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School killed in the shooting rampage. A total of 28 people died in the tragedy, including the gunman and his mother.
Richardson, who started her own business (brookerichardsonphoto.com) a year ago, knew she had to be a part of this event.
"As soon as I posted what I was doing on Facebook, I had another friend/photographer immediately decide to do the same," she said. "This is the very reason I love photography because I'm able to provide someone or a family with everlasting memories.
"In this specific act I'm providing a photo session to a deserving family who otherwise may not have the resources to do so, and that makes it that much more meaningful to me. Everything about this involves kind and thoughtful gestures as The Olivia Act took a very tragic story and created an act that blesses other families. I know this is spreading to great distances as I originally heard about it from a family friend that lives in New York. It brings me great joy to participate in The Olivia Act, and I'll continue to repeat this gesture for years to come."
Richardson said she will be taking nominations for a family who you think would appreciate this gift. She will take nominations through Sunday, Jan. 13.
Richardson's Facebook page (facebook.com/BrookeRichardsonPhotography) gives instructions: "Please e-mail me their name, contact information and a brief summary of why you chose them to: firstname.lastname@example.org putting "THE OLIVIA ACT NOMINATION" in the subject line.
"The chosen family will be contacted via email or phone call. Please do not post their information here. The gift is a session and a collection of digital portraits, so they may have priceless keepsakes to adorn their home."
Richardson's participation in The Olivia Act is a natural for her.
"I'm an on-location, natural-light photographer who specializes in children, newborns, families, maternity, couples and seniors," she said. "Photography has always been a passion and hobby of mine but to see how far it has come in one year is a dream come true."