Skateistan Short Documentary

This is a short documentary about an amazing non profit, Skateistan. Take 13 minutes to watch, its a powerful story with beautiful cinematography.

“As the world continues to divide, in the Land of Skate people are uniting. Children and youth in countries caught up by conflict and inequality are being empowered through skateboarding.”

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Malawi to Paris, Scarity to Excess

I am transfixed by the vignettes of life unfolding on the parched dirt road in front of our simple brick home. The reed fencing around the house offers a small opening on a patch of road, and Malawian life, which is never hurried or particularly orderly, but so compelling and textured in the harsh African sunlight. Groups of children proudly drag or roll toys made out of packing crates or discarded bicycle tires, shouting and waving when they see me, leaning back to stay in the frame as long as possible, even popping back around the fence to yell “mzungu” at me - as if I didn’t know.

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How They Filmed the First El Capitan Climb With No Ropes | Vanity Fair

How They Filmed the First El Capitan Climb With No Ropes | Vanity Fair

Published on Jan 11, 2019

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, the directors of the documentary “Free Solo,” discuss how they captured rock climber Alex Honnold’s free solo climb (without any ropes, harnesses or protective equipment) of Yosemite’s El Capitan in June 2017. The film crew was challenged to record his incredible achievement without affecting Honnold’s climb.

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A Four Legged Christmas

Exactly 7 years ago, I adopted Mia at Christmas (actually I fostered, and then foster failure followed but that’s another story) and a few years later realizing I could not foster, I had the opportunity to help out Paws New England in a pinch. Just in time for Christmas we transported a dozen animals from Tenessee to New Hampshire, from a place which did not want them to homes in time for the holidays and it was the most wonderful experience of the true holiday spirit.

This year I was able to head to a different type of rescue operation. Little Brook Farm in Old Chatham New York is one of the oldest horse rescues in the country, and has 96 worthy equine souls in their care as well as dozens of cats and a pig, who scared the daylights out of me when it emerged from under a tarp.

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My Maine Escape

I believe in all cases that getting lost can be good for the soul, whether it is humility, spontaneity, wonder or peace, taking to the road and letting go of authorship is always a good thing in this world of stress, over connectivity and constant demands. And when things feel like they are at their worst, I think it all the more reason to get in the car and lost.

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Julianne GauronComment
The Universal Prayer that found me

I believe things happen for a reason, but that faith has shaken in the recent years. Still I found myself in a sanctuary of an Airbnb in Brooklyn, a yoga institute, and this prayer was in a book I opened at random. I was struggling, missing Mia and worried about work. Although I am not a proponent of theft, I felt compelled to take the prayer card with me. The next day I learned we were moving my mother to a memory care unit, something we knew was on the horizon since her alzeihmers diagnosis but which is painful nonetheless.

Although I try to meditate, it escapes my rushing mind and this prayer being in french forced me to slow down and find the true meaning of each word. My mind could not drift and it is a beautiful prayer. I think that the “Universal Prayer” of Swami Suryadevananda found its way to my hands just as it was meant to. And so I am sharing the beautiful words, translation and meaning with you.

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Malawi to Maine

I’m in western Maine looking out over a smooth slate blue lake reflecting the burnt autumn foliage of the mountains under stormy New England skies, even as in my mind I gaze back over the past few months. Exactly a month ago I sat high on a steep hill looking out over the vast cerulean blue of Lake Malawi, imagining Tanzania and Mozambique somewhere out of sight, trying to understand my weeks in country as I swatted the persistent stream of micro ants off my dress.

Malawi caught me off guard, I will admit. I have a tendency to tip myself into adventures by dealing with the logistics but ignoring certain glaring challenges until it’s too late, so I don’t miss out on a worthwhile adventure by overthinking it just because it’s hard. (My time living in India and Micronesia were textbook cases of this, cue mini panic the night before the flight.)

Malawi caught me off guard in some ways, I will admit. 

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Travel Supplies you Might be Missing

As a frequent traveler, whether local or international, I always have a weekend bag packed and know what goes into my international bags, work and vacation – though I’m not sure when I last had one of those. Needless to say my camera bag is always at the ready, like sports gear, when you come home, you reset, so I will skip that one.

I don’t believe in buying things on the road when you have the items at home, so here are some critical things from years of experience. And in many countries you cannot get things you might consider essential or as on Sundays in Zurich when you have a bad cold, you cannot find goods so best to always be prepared. Of course shop local if you can, but I have some links as well if you cannot.

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The freedom of the "Most Disgusting Version of Yourself"

When I arrived in Livingstone, Zambia to join African Spokes, Jen Gurecki gleefully warned that I should be prepared to be “the most disgusting version of myself.” An organizer and veteran of the 70 day trip, riding from Nairobi to Cape Town, she was on to something.

Each morning of Leg 4 started like every other day in camp; shuffling into cycling cloths in the dark, we broke down heavy canvas tent by headlamp, packing up camp while stuffing in calories and water to be ready for first light. When the sun started over the horizon we were off, covering 90km on a short day and up to 214km one special day, aiming to cover as much ground in the early post dawn desert cool as possible to avoid the intense heat to come. And the relentless lack of shade. Leg 4 which crossed a bit of Zambia, all of Botswana and northeastern Namibia had particularly nice tarmac, for Africa.

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Press - Boston Voyager

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julianne Snow Gauron.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I studied industrial design and spent over a decade working on apparel innovation teams in India, the UK, at New Balance in Boston, and North Face, before going out as a consultant four years ago. A major part of innovation work is understanding the user, and I have a lifelong love of what I learned at RISD is called embedded field research. I spend anywhere from an hour to days with people to understand how they live and think in detail, I was doing this long before I became a designer living overseas as a volunteer teacher and other means of exploring the world.

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Julianne GauronComment
There’s Less to Portraits Than Meets the Eye, and More

This beautiful article about the power and process of portraiture, from its inception, and in today’s technological world is from the New York Times Magazine, written by author Teju Cole.

There’s Less to Portraits Than Meets the Eye, and More - “Every portrait works in triplicate: depicting the sitter, revealing the photographer and reminding the viewer of a shared humanity”
NY Times Magazine

Portraiture existed long before photography was invented. And for more than a dozen years after photography’s invention, it was practically impossible to make a photographic portrait: the required exposure times were too long. But the two eventually came together, and now their pairing seems so natural that it’s as if photography was invented for making portraits.

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A woman's right to choose

A few weeks ago I had the extraordinary opportunity to direct a film about women exercising a vital American freedom, the right to choose with Windy Films and Planned Parenthood.  Although it is very hard to believe that we are in a moment when progress could roll back, but the defense of women's reproductive health and choice stands in the hand's of two senators, Sen Susan Collins of Maine and Alaska's Sen Lisa Murkowski. 

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Sculpting with Fog in Boston's Emerald Necklace

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy in Boston for artist Fujiko Nagasaki created five site specific fog sculptures throughout the Greenway, which disperse magical fog on the hour and half hour across the landscape.

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Walking together always

I have spent the last weeks in shock, dumbfounded by intensity of the sadness and pain of loss I feel with Mia’s passing.  I thought I had prepared for this, having spent so many years with her in ER’s and hospitals, she had been to more types of specialists and doctors in her short 6 years and 5 months with me than I have seen in 37 years.  I used to expect her to pass on the regular, placing my hand on her curly blond torso for the rise and fall. This so familiar, from nights with pneumonia and chronic bronchitis, surgeries and unnamed scares, that when the breath went out of her the final time in the hospital I found myself utterly unable to fathom that her tiny body was truly still. 

We had dodge death so many times, how did it finally catch us? And how had I been so unprepared to let her go when we lived so vibrantly with gratitude every day.

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