It was really cool to meet Chris Farrar and Katie Heymer, the talent behind the Fashion for RAINN photo exhibit launched to raise awareness of sexual violence issues this month. (Chris is on the left, me in the middle, and Katie on the right in the photo.) RAINN is the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network and is an incredible organization dedicated to helping survivors in communities all around the country. Fashion for RAINN got its start in New York photographing celebrities speaking out about about rape, and this year made plans to do more installations around the country. Chris shot the photos for the installation and Katie produced the shoot. We got to hang out together at the exhibit as we talked to people about how they felt about the photos. What a remarkable pair of dedicated artists! They are energetic, warm, and very dedicated.
Both of them have recently moved to the Twin Cities after graduating from the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA. As they've looked for ways to introduce themselves to the area, they decided to showcase their talent through their commitment for social change. "We really wanted to raise awareness for RAINN," said Chris, "It was a great project for us to do." It also means alot to him personally because a number of women close to him in his life have experienced sexual violence. "I've know what it feels like to have someone close to you get hurt," he said. Gathering the facts for the photos made him feel like there's still so much more to do to raise awareness. "It's a silent issue, nobody likes to talk about it, even when it's in the news all the time. It's so much a part of everyone's life."
Katie produced the photo shoot, which was a HUGE job! She organized everything: lining up models, finding hair and makeup people, procuring the clothing, and scheduling and locating the shoot. She did a casting call for models, got stores to donate outfits, and the hair and makeup crew gave their time and talents over the course of three days to make it all happen. The end result is a beautifully presented and powerful compilation of photos. Katie said, "I've personally known alot of people who are affected by this issue. I wanted to attract people to thinking about it through beautiful pictures, to get educated about a hard situation." Chris and Katie's efforts on behalf of RAINN and survivors everywhere is hugely impressive.
To view all the photos on line, go to http://www.chrisfarrarphoto.com/ and click on "Fashion for RAINN." They're awesome!