mark williams-abrams & addison brown- making positives from negatives

photo by steed media service

Co-Founders, Levity Foundation

What can you do to spread AIDS awareness? If you have never asked
yourself that question, then perhaps you are not aware of how rampant
the problem is in your own community, much less for children in South
Africa. Fortunately, there are people who are aware of the problem and
create awareness for the cause. Enter the See Me Project. The See Me
Project is an annual photography contest and the brainchild of
filmmakers and Levity Foundation co-founders, Mark Williams-Abrams and
Addison Brown. In a partnership with Nurturing Orphans of AIDS for
Humanity (NOAH), and with sponsorship from Kodak, Brown and
Williams-Abrams issued 300 cameras to AIDS orphans in South Africa. “We
asked them to go into their communities, homes and churches and take
pictures from a positive perspective on how they were living,” explains
Brown. “We ended up with 8,000 submissions that [Mark and I] narrowed
down to 300 submissions.”

From that point, the 300 images were narrowed down to five winners by a
panel of celebrity judges, including Bill Cosby, Sharon Stone, Michael
Stipe, Cassandra Wilson and Ashley Judd. “The winners received a
monetary prize and we are doing a documentary for the Discovery Channel
as well as a photo essay book [and] all of the proceeds will go to
Noah’s Orphans,” Brown says. For Williams-Abrams and Brown, the success
of the project is measured by the responses of the children. “We don’t
necessarily measure our success from a financial standpoint – but the
experiences the kids have and seeing the smiles on their faces is how I
see our success,” states Williams-Abrams. With online voting and other
countries to come, Brown and Williams-Abrams are poised to make the
project even more successful in the future.
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