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Originally Published in October 2017—Gina Martin has worked at National Geographic for 17 years. She is the Managing Account Executive, Editorial Sales for their photo agency, NG Creative. Gina is the Founder and Executive Director of the Bob and Diane Fund—a photography grant for visual storytelling about Alzheimer's and dementia. She is determined to find a cure for Alzheimer's - in honor of her dear mom. I had the honor to ask Gina a few questions.
Adriana Teresa: What or who inspired launching the Bob and Diane Fund?
Gina Martin: Photography and finding a cure for Alzheimer's are two of my main passions and it just made sense to combine them into something good. My mother died of Alzheimer's in 2011 and my father was her caregiver and passed away just 3 months after she did. It is my way of honoring them and thanking them for teaching me the gift of giving.
ATL: How can photography contribute to further Alzheimer's and dementia research?
GM: Showing a wide range of images from all over the world about this disease will bring more visual awareness to how devastating dementia is to the person living with it as well as their family.
ATL: What does the Bob & Diane Fund look for to support a visual story?
GM: We are looking for a cohesive and interesting focus of the disease - whether it is of patients, caregivers or from a science perspective.
ATL: What does the Bob & Diane Fund look for in a photographer?
GM: We are looking for photographers who are passionate about this work and who will continue their project with a book, exhibition or through education.
ATL: Who are the organizations that the Foundation works with in order to further Alzheimer's and dementia research?
GM: Right now we are focused on getting the grantees to work out there. We have been very fortunate to be supported by the Alzheimer's Association, NPR, Washington Post, The New York Times, Huffington Post and many photo blogs. FujiFilm North America was generous to donate a camera to our 2016 grantee as well. #grateful
ATL: What are the awarded stories used for by the Bob & Diane Fund?
GM: We work hard to get them published and seen worldwide when the grantee is announced. We also post on social media throughout the year to inspire people to apply, get involved or to just start a conversation.
ATL: What is the long-term mission of the fund?
GM: The long-term mission is to continue bringing a visual awareness and dialog to a disease that has lived in the shadows for too long. We want people to understand that this disease is more than just memory loss and that we must find a cure.
ATL: How can non-profit organizations in search of new visual stories focused on Alzheimer's and dementia support this organization?
GM: Obviously, as a 501c3 organization, we are always looking at ways to raise money so that we can increase our grant each year and provide workshop sponsorships. We want to inspire young photographers to work on stories about Alzheimer's or dementia and would like to support that beginning work and would love to partner with other education organizations.
ATL: What contributions can the combination of both photography and research do to further science?
GM: We believe that a visual awareness and dialog will bring a better understanding of this disease and inspire people to care, get involved, and to donate to help find a cure.