Project Hohoemi | Assisted Living & Karaoke

For me day two of Project Hohoemi was spent at a kindergarten, photos coming soon, and an assisted living home. Many of the people living here are very capable of living on their own, but lost their homes in the 2011 tsunami. The director of the facility, pictured below on the far left, made things happen for us for sure. He told everyone that they were getting their photos taken and didn’t take no for an answer. But he did it in such a likable way that his assertiveness was almost hidden behind that smile. He used that same charming assertiveness on us after shooting when he demanded that we stay for coffee, snacks, and karaoke. And there was no shying away from singing. Again with the assertiveness.  It was so fun though. And I loved being able to smile with these wise people. I wish I had more time to sit and chat with them about their lives. So many great stories to be shared I am sure.

And here is a little behind the scenes action. Photos taken with my trusty Iphone

Project Hohoemi | Indoor Natural Light Studio

If I had to sum up this post in only five words then this is what I would say…


I am a natural light, outdoor photographer. The number one thing I look for when shooting is not a neat backdrop or a pretty setting. Oh no. It’s all about the light. Light is number one for me. Natural light that is. So when the decision was made to shoot in a make-shift studio I swear my pulse started racing. I’ve never ever shoot with a backdrop before. And even though we were using natural light that was flooding in from the windows I was still nervous to shoot in such conditions. But we only had three days to photograph everyone who signed up for Project Hohoemi and we were not going to let a little typhoon and some rain hold us back. I really hope that even though this was a stretch for me I was still able to take photos that these awesome people will enjoy.

Project Hohoemi | The Nazomi Project

During our first day in Ishinomaki we had the privilege of meeting some of the women behind the Nazomi Projec (http://nozomiproject  This is such an amazing enterprise that is “bringing sustainable income, community, dignity and hope to the women in Ishinomaki, Japan and the surrounding region by training women to craft unique jewelry products.”  They actually use pieces of broken pottery left by the devastation of the tsunami to make each necklace, sets of earrings, and various other types of jewelry. There story is heart touching and I encourage you to read more about their vision here (http://nozomiproject

If you would like to purchase jewelry from the Nazomi Project you can do so one their website (http://nozomiproject They update their site frequently with new pieces so check often.

  If you do decide to support this project and purchase some jewelry  please let me know! I would even love to see a photo of your Nazomi jewelry so be sure to share on the RBP Facebook Page (https://www NULL.facebook

November 3, 2013 - 6:19 pm

Mindy - Renee, I saw you post about this on Facebook and I already bought a couple pieces for Christmas gifts. I love them!

Project Hohoemi | The Vision Becomes Reality

Last weekend I had an amazing opportunity to travel to Ishinomaki, an area struck hard by the 2011 Tsunami, with four other amazing photographers. Our mission was to use our abilities to bless both those who survived the tsunami as well as those who are are now living in the area as missionaries. The five of us collaborated with some fabulous people in the area and what started out as a small vision become Project Hohoemi (https://www NULL.facebook (Project Smile).

We arrived in Ishinomaki on Thursday and were immediately put to work. We spent three days meeting wonderful people, hearing some of their stories, and photographing them in various locations. Even in the midst of heavy rain, an earthquake, and a tsunami warning (more on that topic in a future blog post) everyone on this trip remained positive and upbeat. And how could we not! We were received with such kindness and thankfulness that I almost cried at every photo shoot.  I was there to serve and give back, but I received far more than I could ever give.  I can’t wait to share all the stories with you about this adventure. So come back soon for more updates, photos, and stories.

Below you will find some images from my first day. Through my amazing translator I learned that the couple below are business owners. It is people like them who will rebuild this community because they decide to stay in the area. I also learned that this sweet man use to be a high school teacher. A high school once stood where we were shooting. After the tsunami it had to be demolished because it was so damaged. It just makes you think…He also teaches the art of sword fighting. His smile captured my heart and I believe that I if I had the chance I could sit with him for hours and talk. I hope to return one day so he can teach me how to handle a sword.

Below: Michiko is the master mind behind Project Hohoemi. She made this thing happen! Here she is acting as my translator, which I am very thankful for. I really wish could speak Japanese! But we made it work.

Below: An aunt and her niece. I did not get to learn much about their story, but their smiles still speak to me.

Below: Michiko’s daughter getting a sword lesson

A group shot because these families are friends!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read about this project. I will be posting more over the next two weeks. I can’t wait to share more with yall!

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October 31, 2013 - 6:25 pm

Lynnie (http://www NULL.threegirlies - Beautiful photos of beautiful people. I cannot wait to see more.

November 3, 2013 - 11:45 am

Kara (http://kararodriguez NULL.wordpress - Renee, I knew when I introduced you and Michiko, something cool might happen, and I am THRILLED to see what God has done. :) Jonathan and Michiko have amazing hearts for the people of Japan, and they couldn’t wait to get back there to serve those who were impacted by the tsunami. It’s just wonderful to see you using your talent and compassion for something like this. I’m blown away by these images and can’t wait to see more! Thank you for sharing your gift with all of us. It’s a blessing to know you.