Fighting Cancer One Smile At A Time

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Up Close & Personal With Jon Diaz, photographer of the Beautiful Faces Of Hope™: national campaign to fight and prevent pediatric cancer.
NCW: When did you start making children’s wishes come true with your lens?
JD: I started doing the images depicting kids and their dreams in early 2012, but it
wasn’t until this year that I began doing it for kids with cancer. In December 2013, I decided to use what talent I had to help others, to inspire and give hope to children who are fighting for their lives.

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NCW: How did you start? What was your previous background?
JD: I assume you are speaking of my photography background. I began taking
photographs seriously in the middle of 2011 when I opened my photography
business J.M. Diaz Photography LLC with my mother MerriLyn Diaz. We did mostly family portraits and weddings. The business was mostly a means to find more people to take pictures of in order to fuel my creativity as well as a way to fund an expensive hobby! While fun and interesting, family photography and weddings was not the kind of photography I was interested in creating. I knew I wanted to be more creative with my work and I knew that I wanted my work to mean something. So that is why I started the Anything Can Be project.

NCW: Can you talk a little bit about the Anything Can Be Project?
JD: The Anything Can Be Project was created as a way to use my photography to
better peoples lives and to allow myself away to continue creating the types of
images that I was interested in doing. Anything Can Be was derived from a Shel
Silverstein poem. The poem teaches children to ignore the negativity of the world
and to believe that anything is possible. Specifically I take the dreams of children
who are battling cancer J.M. Diaz Photography LLC and bring them to life through photography! I try to base the images in reality but I also attempt to add an element of fantasy and whimsy as well. During each photo shoot we attempt to make it memorable by making each shoot an experience that reflects their dream.

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NCW:How was your experience at the photo shoot for THE BEAUTIFUL FACES OF HOPE™?
JD: Shooting the images for The Beautiful Faces of Hope™ was a great experience, everyone was professional and respectful. For me the kids involved in the shoot were the highlight of the experience. Like most children I have met who are fighting cancer they were optimistic despite dealing with something so scary and painful. The kids were a lot of fun and definitely having a good time. Anytime I can be a part of putting smiles on kids faces, especially kids fighting life-threatening diseases, it is a good day!

NCW: What is one of the things you learned by photographing children
affected by cancer?

JD: I have learned that there is so much more to be done in the fight against pediatric cancer. The fight is far from over. Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children. The damage done to these kids through their life saving treatments, often leads to more problems later on in their lives. Because childhood cancer drugs are not profitable for pharmaceutical companies to develop, advancements that improve treatments are virtually non-existent.

Article from The Fashion Issue