The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs—at least that's true with Dallas Graham's The Jolly Troop. The creative cast of cartoon birds are the stars of children's books, which are written as part of the heartwarming Red Fred Project.
Red Fred Project is a collaborative, story-making endeavor between Graham, a graphic designer and photographer, and children with critical illnesses. The goal is to publish 50 books created by 50 children across the 50 states.
“These are magical, creative children who have faced significant challenges in short lifetimes, with humor-, compassion-, and wisdom-filled stories to share. The Red Fred Project gives those children and their stories a voice,” wrote Graham on his Kickstarter page (successfully funded in 2013).
The book-making process is as unique as it is enthralling. “Each child is the creative boss; I’m just there to bring the story to life through photography and design,” Graham says.
The "creative" picks which members of the Jolly Troop to include in his or her story, and, then with a little help from Graham, decides on the theme, location, story arch, and the two life lessons that the book will impart. Graham visits the child several times, and the book begins to take shape with imagery, text, and character interaction. On the last visit, Graham gets to deliver the self-published book and say, “Great job! You’re an author!”
Each Red Fred book then lives on a wonderful, magical life. Foremost, it’s a lasting voice for each child and is a tangible achievement. The parents can sell the books as a fundraising tool to help pay steep medical expenses. And readers become inspired to become compassionate donors or advocates for causes in health care.
That’s the most interesting part of the Red Fred Project: its ongoing, empathetic, and pervasive reach could have an impact that exceeds beyond measurable bounds.
Read more about the Red Fred Project.
Photographer's Note: It was such a pleasure to add The Jolly Troop to this photo. Thanks to Dallas for letting me have creative say with his beloved birds.
Photographer and award-winning journalist Austen Diamond specializes in creative portraiture, commercial photography and editorial photojournalism. For booking inquiries and to view his portfolio, go to www.AustenDiamond.com.