Northern Virginia photographer gives back through free 'empowerment' portrait project

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Empowering people through photography. It’s what an Air Force vet, turned photographer named Brian Silver of northern Virginia, provides to people who have experienced a life-changing event and want to tell their story one picture at a time.

Silver messaged FOX 5’s Ayesha Khan during the time she shared her stage three breast cancer experience in the series ‘Cancer: Fight over Fear’ and wanted to offer a photo session, pro-bono.

Khan said she took him up on it and so have many other people who get to feel empowered, thanks to the man’s generosity.

A crisp October morning at Glen Echo Park was the perfect backdrop for an empowerment photo session with Mona Redmond and Silver, the guy behind the lens.

The timing, during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month could not have been more fitting as Redmond shared her story of fighting the disease back in 2018.

“I try not to think too much about it because I do not want to live in fear,” said Redmond.

The goal behind Silver’s pro-bono empowerment photography is to give women like Redmond, confidence and courage to keep fighting through whatever life has thrown at them—one picture at a time.

“Whether it’s about domestic violence survivors, sexual assault survivors, breast cancer warriors, they all have a story,” Silver said.

Silver said that during the process of the portraits, emotions will usually surface, as the layers of stories unfold.

“Because it reminds them of where they were, to going through the storm, to surviving the storm,” said Silver.

For Redmond, it’s the pain she endured and carried with her during her breast cancer experience and after.

“I think about how lucky I am to be here, to be healthy and to be able to do these things, because when I was doing treatments, I couldn’t even walk,” Redmond said as Silver took her pictures.

Silver said that while he his paid for his photography, the empowerment project is a hobby that allows him to give back.

“I just felt that it was a perfect fit for the project,” Silver told Khan when speaking of their phot session together.

Silver said that his project, allows his subjects to lay down their burden in front of his camera and for a moment, share with the world something, not everyone would be open to, which is—vulnerability.

“I feel empowered, yes I do,” said Redmond.

Silver said that, even though he does this type of photography pro-bono, people still ask to pay him but he doesn’t accept payment. Instead, he asks them donate to their favorite charity in his name.


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