You're Richer Than You Think                



                Photo Life Magazine: December-Jauary, 2012

Let’s face it, we’ve all dreamed of that special assignment for National Geographic magazine to cover some exotic south sea island…all expenses paid and for a huge amount of money.  

Hey, wake up! It’s just a dream.

Back to reality: we’re all fortunate to have a peaceful and stable life here in Canada, plus we have a great hobby, photography. So let’s forget that pipe dream and use our photographic talent (which I call photographic wealth), not for material gain but for helping others less fortunate.

Case in point: while vacationing in Mexico, a ten year old Mexican scruff of a kid approached me selling muffins. They looked quite tasty and the price was 45 pesos (less than three Canadian dollars) for five big juicy ones. So I paid him with a 50 Peso note. He responded, in perfect English, “I’m so sorry sir, but I have no change.”

What’s this? A little street urchin speaking perfect cultured English?  Then a fellow traveller advised me that this kid, his name is Gilad, never has change for a 50. He does this with everyone. It’s his way of squeaking some extra profit.


I thought to myself, what a canny little kid. All this made me very curious to know more about this little entrepreneur..  So I asked around and found out that he lived in a small enclave about 50 km from where I was staying.  Next day I hopped on a bus, knocked on his door, introduced myself…and then and there started a most rewarding friendship with a dirt poor Mexican family. 

After chatting a bit about muffins and the English language, I photographed the family. The images were not remarkable, but what was remarkable was that it gave me the idea to write a story about Gilad and how his muffin sales help support his family. I simply wrote about what I saw; a simple straightforward documentary (I’m no Hemingway) with a few pictures.

I approached the local magazine (every vacation spot has a local magazine to promote local tourism and lifestyle) and told them I had a simple human-interest story about a local boy that ekes out a living for his family by selling muffins. Guess what? They purchased the article!

Earlier in this article I said, “Let’s use our photographic talent, not for material gain but for helping others less fortunate.”  Here’s how I helped Gilad: he now has many copies of the magazine article to use as a sales tool to advertise his muffins to better support his family. And, the payment I received for writing the article went to Gilad and his family.

Am I richer materially? No. I am richer emotionally, knowing that my photographic wealth helped someone in need. Yes. And Gilad’s family is now getting richer… materially.

You can read the full story, “Meet Gilad, He Sells Muffins” on my website under articles.

Remember, it’s not about hi-tech photo skills or fancy equipment. It’s about doing something good with your photographic wealth.

I don’t dream about an assignment from National Geographic. I dream about how I can share my photographic wealth. Hopefully you’ll dream the same dream.

PS - and remember, dreams often come true.

Editor’s note:  Larry will be forwarding his author’s fee to Gilad’s family in Mexico.


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