Medical Marijuana Is A Human Rights Issue, Not A Political Issue

Monday, November 7, 2016 | News

I'm very grateful to FlaglerLive for granting me the platform to write a column for the paper. I felt a great responsibility to my families whose lives are at the feet of the people. If you have a minute, please have a read, I would really appreciate it.

I remind myself that you can't go wrong when you put your heart into something and know that it is for the well-being of helping others. May the truth be told tomorrow -cannabis is medicine; it helps ease the suffering and saves lives.

A big thank you to these wonderful publications that featured this work. If you have time, please take a look.

ARTBORNE Magazine
The Saint Augstine's, The Record - Front page
The Daytona News Journal - Front page
The Palm Coast, Observer
FlagerLive


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ARTBORNE MAGAZINE - BREAKING THE LAW

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 | News

Thank you so much to ARTBORNE Magazine for covering this work. Jenn Allen did a very nice article, and I am grateful to ARTBORNE for helping us educate our community. We are now 7 days out from this election!

#voteyeson2
#cannabisismedicine
#charlottestangledweb
#takingfocus
#makingpicturesmatter
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Branden Petro: F.I.R.E.S.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 | News

Continuing with my stories in Florida for WEED, The Story of Charlotte's Tangled Web, I've just posted my story about Branden Petro on Taking Focus. Branden is 14 years old, and diagnosed with F.I.R.E.S.  I'm sure this isn't something you may have heard of before. His condition is rare. He was the 15th person registered in the state of Florida for the high CBD/ low THC now offered through the Compassionate Care Act of 2014. Finally on August 30, 2016 they were able to purchase the oil, and it does NOT work for him. He needs you to vote #yeson2.
#endthesuffering
#charlottestangledweb
#cannamoms

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FRONT PAGE NEWS

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 | News

Front page of the Saint Augustine paper, The Record.  Big thank you to Emelia Hitchner, who wrote a wonderful piece. Yesterday morning she had received lots of emails and calls from folks saying this had changed their mind, and of those who were just excited to see it. So thanks again to The Record for helping us fulfill our mission at Taking Focus. Florida please get out and vote Yes on 2! Medical cannabis is healing the sufferring and saving lives. This is a human rights issue, everyone deserves the option to choose.
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VISURA Instagram Takeover

Friday, October 21, 2016 | News

Instagramers! Please join me starting October 30th - leading up to election day, November 8th, I will be sharing images from this very important series centered on Florida, WEED: The Story of Charlotte's Tangled Web. Come with an open heart and open mind, while I try to help erase the stigma attached to a plant that is performing miracles. Together we can end the suffering and save lives. Education is key! https://www.instagram.com/visura.co/
#voteyeson2
#takingfocus
#cannamoms

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WEED: The Story of Charlotte's Tangled Web

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 | News

Those coming from experience continue to share their voice. Full heartedly they are trying to convey to the public on the importance of this November's Presidential election in Florida. Voting #yeson2 (Amendment 2), will heal the sufferring of thousands if Florida receives full plant reform.

Follow at www.takingfocus.org 
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BELLA INTO THE BLUE

Friday, July 15, 2016 | News

Series : Les Enfants

Island Estates, Flagler Beach, FL, 7/14/16
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Xavier Ryan

Friday, July 15, 2016 | News

Trying to remember when Xavier and I first met, it must have been in 2011. He comes from a very loving and nurturing family. His parents are amazing artists and he has a great love for music, he is also a classical pianist. And, not only is he beautiful on the outside, but he is beautiful on the inside. He is probably one of the sweetest people I have ever met. Someone will be very lucky to have him one day. We have become great friends over the last several months while working on a special project together, and what I see in those eyes in this image, is much of what I have been learning while working on the project. The eyes are the windows to the soul. This is my favorite shot from the other day.
Xavier is a wonderful model as well. To see more images from our shoot go to: jenniferkaczmarek.wordpress.com

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Pulse Victims Are Laid to Rest

Sunday, June 19, 2016 | News

Christopher "Drew" Leinonen, age 32, and boyfriend, Juan Ramon Guerrero, age 22, were both killed during last Sunday night's shooting. Yesterday was Christopher's memorial service at Cathedral Church of St. Luke in downtown Orlando. Two days after the shooting I joined a  group on Facebook called Human Chain Link for Pulse Funerals, the group has formed to protect the victims and their loved ones from any hate groups that may arise during their memorial services. As of today the group is at a member number of 33,276.

It is a blessing this group was formed. Westboro Baptist Church, who gives religion a bad name- made their way to Florida and obtained a permit to be a block away from the church where Christopher's memorial service was taking place. I can't understand why they call themselves a church, they breath and breed only hate. Their website heading is "God Hates Fags." This group is the epitome of pure evil.

I will be posting more images soon, and tell you how love conquered hate.

At 2:02 am tonight, the church bells at the Cathedral will ring 49 times in honor of all the victims.

Image taken at the memorial site in front of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando. 6/18/16


#onepulse #orlandounited #orlandostrong 
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Candle Light Vigil For Pulse Victims

Sunday, June 19, 2016 | News

A candle light vigil was held in Flagler Beach, FL., Friday evening in remembrance of those who lost their lives last Sunday in Orlando's shooting. According to the Palm Coast Observer, there were an estimated 700 people in attendance. Through donations and raffles tickets, the gathering collected a total of $1,721 that was then donated yesterday to the Plus Victims Fund that has been organized through LGBT's, Equality Florida.

As of today, Equality Florida has raised $5,460,186 for the victims and families of this horrible tragedy we will never forget.

Flagler Beach, FL., 6/17/16
#onepulse #orlandounited #orlandostrong
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Cannabis Is Medicine

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 | News

"WEED: The Story of Charlotte's Tangled Web" Please continue to share these stories as they are brought to you. Knowledge is key. Cannabis is medicine, and it is saving lives. www.takingfocus.org
‪#‎florida‬

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Connor-WEED: The Story of Charlotte's Tangled Web

Wednesday, June 1, 2016 | News

Connor Wiley is 21 months old. The youngest subject I've ever had. Connor has cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, and epilepsy. He had a stroke at 9 months old. The stroke caused permanent  brain damage in the cerebellum, and temporary paralysis on his right side. Now those muscles are permanently weakened. Over the last 3 months he has been on cannabis oil. His mom says she has seen remarkable advancements in his cognitive and physical/milestone abilities. With the onset of frequent fevers he has gone from 5 seizures a week to 3 in the last 2 months. The pharmaceutical drugs he was prescribed where creating significant  behavioral changes in him such as self harming and bad temperament.  Wiley's are coming out to the public in order to help save their child. They believe they should be able to have cannabis as a choice of medicine for their son. They know that Connor would not have made the advancements that he has made without it.

Backstory to this image. We were outside for not even 5 minutes and Connor's face began too get very flushed, he was becoming lethargic. We had to take him inside. His mom Jackie had to remove his shirt to try to cool him down. She applied a cool wash cloth to his body, as a fever was trying to ensue. This is how fragile this little guy is.

June 1, 2016, Orlando, FL

#takingfocus #charlottestangledweb #dotherightthing #educate #advocate #voteyeson2 #inspirechange #weed #cannabis #haleighshope #makingpicturesmatter
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CALEB: WEED:The Story of Charlotte's Tangled Web

Thursday, April 28, 2016 | News

Caleb, age 8, lives in Jacksonville, FL. Caleb's mother is under investigation by the CPS for giving him cannabis. My first visit is happening now. Caleb has intractable epilepsy  and two brain malformations. He has had tremendous positive results thanks to cannabis. Examples being; huge reduction in seizures and migraines. It has also completely erased his erratic behavior, and enabled him to have an appetite again. 
Also, he is now able to read and is helping with his writing. (Struggle with writing due to right side paralysis  in his right arm and hand). Prior, Caleb was unable to show any emotions at all, and now he shows emotion. He can express himself, including  being able to show love; hugs and kisses, and saying I love you.


More to come....
"WEED : The Story  of Charlotte's  Tangled Web" by: 📷 Jennifer Kaczmarek 
#takingfocus #charlottestangledweb #florida #jacksonville #medicalmarijuana #cannamoms #cannabis #documentaryphotography #photography #visualstorytelling #voteyeson2 #educate #advocate #inspire #makingpicturesmatter

75th DAYTONA BIKE WEEK WORKSHOP

Friday, March 25, 2016 | News | Workshops

Grateful to have been invited to be an instructor for the Southeast Museum of Photography's workshop series "Documenting Daytona", during the 75th Anniversary of the infamous Bike week. These selected images are in chronological order as our three day workshop unfolded. What an event like this gives you is the opportunity to meet people of all walks of life who have traved near and far to share in this unique cultural event. Anything goes a bike week, and as a photographer the freedom is all one could ask for. 

Again, a big thank to the Southeast Museum of Photography and to everyone who participated. What a great time we had!


Bruno Stillo- Dravet Syndrome

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 | News

Sharing my latest post of my time spent with Bruno Stillo. I first met Bruno in August of 2014. He lives in Miami, FL, and is four years old. My work, "WEED: The Story of Charlotte's Tangled Web", continues to follow the lives of those fighting for the right to have the choice to choose cannabis as medicine in the state of Florida. This visit with Bruno took an unexpected turn. This post truly gives you a peak into how fragile and unpredictible their life is; life with Dravet Syndrome.

Continuing with my effort to do what I can to help avocate for those suffering in this matter, it is important to go out and share this work with others. I stand firm in my belief that photography is powerful. It is important for others to see the reality that these families are living. Yesterday, Anneleise Clark, Christiana Clark's mother and I, held our first round of talks together. Together she and I bring a combination of information and visuals for those that may not know anything about the true realities and issues. Anneliese shared information from her Ted Talk about her daughter Christina, and how our laws got to be be the way they are.

Fighting for the right of those of all ages, she also holds dear the fight for all children. Anneliese along with Jacel, Bruno's mom, are members of CannaMoms, a group of mother's fighting for the rights of all critically ill children.

We were thankful for the wonderful crowd and the positive feedback. It was great to see a member of law enforcement on our side. Big thank you to Palm Coast Rotary for the invitation.

Rotary is a global network of community volunteers who provide humanitarian services and encourage high ethical standards in all vocations. They help build good will and peace in the world.

At the end of the talk, the Rotary awarded both Anneliese and I each a "Service Above Self" certificate of a donation made by the Rotary in both our names that will each go to cover the cost of 6 children's immunizations against polio. That really made our day.


Here is Bruno's post on Taking Focus.


Bruno: WEED: Charlotte's Tangled Web 2/9/16

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 | News

Today started with a routine visit to Dr. Miller, Bruno's  neurologist at Miami Children's  Hospital, but later ended with a rush to the trauma center. A fever ensued that brought on seizure after seizure, and Jacel's emergency meds were not bringing him out of it nor the lethargic state he was in. 

I don't take lightly what I said yesterday  about Jacel, she is a warrior. She never swayed, and I just wanted to cry.

The suffering is too much. The public needs to be educated, so that people can be saved. They deserve that chance, that option. I pray in November Florida does the right thing.

#medicalmarijuana

Orlando Museum of Art - Permanent Collection

Thursday, January 28, 2016 | News | Exhibitions

Recently my image The Spiderman Challenge, from the series Love for Alyssa, went into the permanent collection at the Orlando Museum of Art, which I am very greatful for.

And, with much surprise, Saturday night when I arrived at the opening of Women of Vision, National Geographic Photographers On Assignment exhibition, there on a wall, hung my image in celebration alongside of other great women photographers from OMA's permanent collection.  It's an honor for me to be included.

If you are lucky to have the Women of Vision, exhibition pass through a town near you, be sure to mark it on your to-do list. It is a wonderful exhibition.


Women of Vision is on exhibition at the Orlando Museum of Art from January 23 - April 24, 2016

Behind The Scenes 1-13-16

Thursday, January 14, 2016 | News

I am leaping into the new year continuing on with my projects, but still keeping this one under wraps. In time I will be able to unveil, but for now this is all I can share. I am grateful for this day.

(They are best friends. They have been through the thick, and are as close as ever.)

~Jennifer

Notes to Self:

- Stay focused
- Keep pushing boundries
- NEVER lose sight the importance of the work

#makingpicturesmatter #takingfocus


          

 " I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do."                                                         `Edward Everett Hale                                                



Ringing In The New Year With Much Gratitude

Thursday, December 31, 2015 | News



To all of our supporters,


As this year comes to a close, we would like to give our utmost appreciation and thanks to  those who have supported us along the way. Without your financial support and belief in our mission, we could not exist. We are deeply indebted to all of you. Thank you!

This year Taking Focus made extraordinary strides in bringing awareness to important social issues that our occurring not only in our world, but in our backyards as well.. From the beginning our goal has been to allow other photographers and filmmakers to be able to pursue their projects that in turn would have an impact on our society. This year that goal became a reality when we held our first submission selection. Jonathan DeCamps, “Ghosts In America” and Teresa Meiers’s, “Photosynthesis”, we feel, are two amazing projects that will have true impact on the lives they touch. Catch up on our blog to learn more about them and consider donating to further their success.

The other profound event which took place this year was my invitation to be a part of the Orlando Museum of Art’s, Florida Art Prize in Contemporary Art. This was an exhibition of ten selected artist throughout the state of Florida that the OMA felt exemplified artists that are moving forward in the contemporary art world and making an impact with their work. Being the first and only photographer selected, it was quite an honor. This opportunity was another indication that helped solidify my purpose for creating this organization. I want to thank OMA for showing images from this controversial subject, “Weed: The Story of Charlotte’s Tangled Web”, because here in the state of Florida, we are at a critical time.  We need people to be educated on the subject.

Please consider continuing your support; we are making great strides and need your support more than ever.

For am extended thank you to all our supporters and sponsers, please go Taking Focus, INC.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!


Best to all,


Jennifer Kaczmarek /Founder                                                                                                                        and entire Taking Focus Team

Wishing You All A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2015 | News

Wishing all of my talented fellow peers, a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!  I wish you all great success as we head into the new year and I look forward to seeing all that unfolds.

I would also like to wish my first born, Bella Mia Kaczmarek, a very Happy 13th Birthday! She will always be the best Christmas present I'll ever receive. Always keep those dreams alive baby ♥

Peace and Love to All,

Jennifer Kaczmarek


"WEED: The Story of Charlotte's Tangled Web"

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 | News

Exciting news to report! Anneliese Clark, Christina's mom has been selected to speak at the next TED Talk in New Hampshire on November 14, 2015. Anneliese is the perfect person to speak on behalf of medical marijuana. She is one of the leading advocates here in the state of Florida fighting for her daughter's life.

Here is the article accompaning her upcoming TED Talk.
http://tedxamoskeagmillyard.org/2015/10/16/meet-anneliese-clark-2015-tedxamoskeagmillyard-speaker/

To learn more about my time with Christina, you may follow along the Taking Focus blog:
http://www.takingfocus.org/tfblog/?month=november-2014&view=calendar

"Keep The Light On"

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 | News

On October 27th I visited the Vanhoutte Family. It has been a couple years since I last photographed them, and a year since Taking Focus has aided with assistance.  

Last week their family was evicted from their home. I visited with them at a local hotel where they have been staying.

Before continuing on, we would like to give our deepest gratitude to 
Trinity Presbyterian Church in Palm Coast, FL, for their donation to Taking Focus that allowed us to cover the Vanhoutte's next seven days at the hotel. Here is a link to when I first started their story in case you may have forgotten or are hearing about them for the first time.http://www.takingfocus.org/tfblog/blog/keep-the-lights-on
 

As of today, Alison's health remains the same as it did two years ago when I last documented them. Though the seven larger tumors we reported surrounding her lower back are now accompanied by several smaller ones surrounding her spine. Alison can no longer walk around for any extended amount of time. Her body now gives up, the pain is so immense that she becomes very flushed within moments, needing to stop because her body wants to give up. 

Alison says, her children are her rock. Despite all that is happening it was nice to see their humor has remained. She says they have their moments of course, but are trying their best to stay positive as they face the unknown.

Marlee - WEED: The Story of Charlotte's Tangled Web

Saturday, June 6, 2015 | News

Meet Marlee, she is 15 years old and suffers from epilepsy and autism. Cannabis is their last hope. Her family stands firm in the fight for the whole plant. Take a more in depth look into what these past 15 years have consisted of at Taking Focus.

#makingpicturesmatter

FL Prize In Contemporary Art at OMA

Thursday, May 28, 2015 | News

On June 11, 2015 the Orlando Museum of Art will have their opening reception for the Florida Prize In Contemporary Art. I am very honored and humbled to have been invited to participate as the only photographer in this exhibition. Below is a desciption of the exhibition:

The Orlando Museum of Art’s Florida Prize in Contemporary Art is an annual invitational exhibition that focuses on the production of contemporary art in the State, while also providing new scholarship with an accompanying exhibition catalog.  Each year the Museum invites up to ten artists for the exhibition based on a criteria of artistic excellence, involvement with significant ideas in contemporary art and a record of achievement shown by a history of exhibitions and awards. The purpose of the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art is to bring a new level of recognition to the State’s most progressive artists and to encourage their on-going contribution to the State’s cultural vitality.

The work selected by the museum is work I have done for Taking Focus, the non profit that I founded. This will be 22 images from 3 bodies of work; Love for Alyssa, Weed:The Story of Charlotte's Tangled Web, and Keep the Light On. I am greatful to be able to continue sharing  Alyssa's story, and educating those on arthrogyposis. I want to thank Adriana Teresa Letorney so much for her extended edit of the work that now will have images shown from it, and for her continued support.

I am also thrilled that OMA requested to show my new work in progress, WEED: The Story of Charlotte's Tangled Web. I still consider myself in the beginning stages of this work, but the timimg is perect since we are at such a  pivital moment here in the state of FL. I believe in fighting the good fight, and doing the right thing. I have learned so much thus far.I am witnessing the power of this plant, and I know in my heart this is the fight to be had.

Over the past few weeks we have been seeking sponsorship for the images of the medical marijuana project. We have a few more images left for sponsorship available. For further information on becoming a sponsor please go to: Taking Focus.

Thank you,

~ JK




Photo of The Day

Thursday, March 5, 2015 | News

Please take a look at my blog post at ultrakaz, Annelise Clark has very important information regarding medical marijuana in the sate of Florida.

When I first met Christina she had just started taking cannabis oil. Her mom's hope at that time was that not only would medical marijuana eliminate the seizures, but that she would see a glimpse of light turn on in Christina. This image from yesterday shows that flicker of light. 

Fingers crossed, next Tuesday Christina will be 100 days seizure free.

Stay tuned for my blog post at Taking Focus

~JK

Charlotte's Tangled Web

Image of the Day

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 | News

This was my first time meeting Marlee Vinzant who is autistic and suffers from epilepsy. She is 14 years old, and in need of medical marijuana. Stay with us, her story is to come at Taking Focus.

#charlottestangledweb

New Portraits - Friends & Lovers

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 | News

Posted  @ ultrakaz 

New Website

Sunday, January 25, 2015 | News

Thank you so much to Adriana Teresa Letorney and Graham Letorney for all their time, support and guidance. I am proud to be a GUILD member! I am sure that I can speak on behalf of all the other amazing photographers selected that we are so grateful for your belief in us and your dedication and drive to change the industry. Thank you so much!

P.S. I LOVE my new website!

@www.jenniferkaczmarek.com

Christina Part II- Charlotte's Tangled Web

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | News

The journey continues with Part II of Chirstina's Story at Taking Focus. Read how over the course of the past few months, Christina has responded amazingly to medical cannabis.

 Medical marijuana will be back on the ballot in the state of FL come 2016. 

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