The story behind FOTO and Fotolanthropy can all lead back to one of the most impacting phone calls I received one morning in July of 2011. I wanted to write a special blog post about the story behind the James FOTOstrap. The James is much more than just a genuine leather camera strap.
I received a phone call from a mother who had just found out her 8 month old son James had been diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor and wanted to get some family portraits done as soon as possible. Working with Baby James and his family was the most emotional portrait sessions I have been a part of but it truly helped me to understand the importance of giving and also the comfort that photography has. Whether you are a professional photographer or hobbyist, pictures capture life and those images are what we can hold on to. James tragically lost his battle to cancer but his legacy lives on in so many hearts. James gave me the courage to begin Fotolanthropy and now FOTO, my dream to be able to use photography and film together in order to give back to someone facing a trail as well as to inspire others.
As we began to do more fotolanthropy stories, my associate Brooke Moore and I realized we needed a way to continue to help fund our mission. Therefore, we designed our own fashionable camera straps and decided to call them FOTOstraps. We designed two types of FOTOstraps, The James and The Classic. We decided to create a most luxurious camera strap made out of 100% genuine leather and name it "The James" in honor of his life. From day one of designing our straps, I knew it had to be named the James. In 8 months, James touched more lives than most do in a lifetime. He inspired prayer and compassion, and I know his light will always shine in anyone who has heard or seen his story. If you would like to learn more about James, please visit our fotolanthropy’s website by clicking here: http://www.fotolanthropy.com/2011/07/james-camden-sikes-3/
Pictured: Baby James
There is nothing I will ever be able to say to truly comfort James's parents as they have endured so much but I wanted to try and in a small way continue his legacy. It was sweet moment to share with James’s mom that we wanted to name a strap in honor of his life. She sweetly said "of course." I dream for her that she can see photographers, hobbyist, parents wearing this strap and feel their support for their family.
It is our desire to never lose sight of how we began this process and how we want to honor the life of James through what we continue to do. Thank you for all you taught me Baby James. I wear my James strap every day and think of you and all that your story taught me.
Founder of FOTO and Fotolanthropy