By Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program

This weekend we will be submitting three entries to the “Shining a Light” International Photo Contest. The contest and resulting photographic exhibition are being organized by the Muhammad Ali Center in partnership with MensWork Inc. to highlight individuals and organizations working to address violence against women.

When we heard about the contest, we thought some photos from our farm would be a great fit for the exhibit! A member of our staff connected us with Rebecca Powell Photography in Lexington. Rebecca and her mother-in-law, visiting from South Africa, agreed to volunteer their talents to the project. Because of the nature of our mission, we are always very careful about photography in the shelter and on the property. Before the photographers’ visit, our advocates met with shelter residents to gauge interest in being part of the photo project. Several determined they and their children were safe to participate.

The photographer arrived one late evening in July, just during that time of day when the sun’s light casts a beautiful glow across the farm. The kids grabbed their pails and trowels, and we walked the farm in search of the best photo opportunity. It turns out just enjoying and tending to the farm provided more photo opportunities than we could imagine. As the kids picked and ate berries, the adults pruned some flowers in the hoop house and pulled some weeds in the gardens. Then, we all walked down to the stables and visited with the horses. Our horses sure do like getting their pictures taken!

Before the rain rolled in that evening, the photographers had captured hundreds of photos. Contest rules prohibit us from posting the three photos we’ll be submitting, but trust us when we say they are great! The image featured in this blog was taken that evening.

This project reminded us to appreciate the simple things the farm brings to our work to end intimate partner abuse. Our farm creates community. It feeds us. It’s a safe and beautiful place that changes every day. It’s a space for survivors to heal, children to play, and families to remember that tomorrow is full of possibilities. Every moment on the farm offers an amazing photo opportunity!

Wish us luck in the contest. We’ll keep you updated.