hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

for clients: to view my portfolio just click on this link - theCOCOgallery.com. to book sessions please send me a message through theCOCOgallery.com or contact me via michelle@thecocogallery.com | 949.734.0604

Thursday, March 12, 2009

mila | projects

i've been working on a project for the last few weeks now and i'm bursting at the seams to share it with everyone.  my high school class and i have been racking our heads on how we can raise funds for our 25 year reunion.  it's a tradition at our school that the batch celebrating their 25th reunion helps to fund the community outreach program that the school maintains.  the outreach program consists of mission schools in the poorer areas of the philippines as well as community support centers in the slum areas.  we are 6 years away from our reunion but we've got a large number to try to hit.  

there is a bridge in manila that has approximately 25 families living underneath it.  they have only this concrete structure and a few pieces of tarp and wood to protect them from the elements.  they have nothing to their name other than their meager belongings and their family.  even with so little they give so much.  it is not uncommon that children are orphaned or abandoned in this city.  communities just like these take those children in and adopt them as their own.  

my classmates have kids of varying ages.  it's hard for me to believe that we even have girls with children in high school already!  i haven't even started down that road yet!  but i digress.  we are gathering our children, ages 5 - 10, and we're having a playdate!  we're meeting at the side of the bridge for some snacks and games.  i'm bringing the lights and we're having a photobooth session.  the beauty of youth blurs the lines between rich and poor.  we are looking to bridge the gap that day with a few hours of fun and a lifetime of memories and even if only one seed sees its way to the future we have made a dent in the world.  a child's smile is universal and we want to share that with the world.

the photographs will be used in an exhibit to be shown in november.  we are hoping to raise enough funds to continue the momentum.  perhaps this can be an annual project.  cross your fingers everyone!

here's a sneak peak on the last trip we were on.  can you guess where this is?


  1. Your adventures look so amazing!! I love all the images with monkeys, I want to hang out with monkeys all day!!

  2. Gorgeous shot and a great thing you guys are doing for those people. GO girl!

  3. Beautiful Photo! I love the reflection. My guess is...hmmm... Thailand?

    Good luck with the work you are doing! I love that you are doing a photo booth for the kids...brilliant idea! You are right about the beauty of a smile for sure. :)

  4. What a sad but moving story. it really helps put into perspective to hear of circumstances like these---make me humble--- thanks for sharing.