San Francisco Editorial Photographer

Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic Gold Metalist and Literacy Champion, Diablo Magazine

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Okay, this was fun.  Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic gold medalist in figure skating (1992), dazzled audiences for Stars on Ice, won the Mirrorball trophy on Dancing with the Stars and founder of the Always Dream Foundation - dedicated to promoting childhood literacy.  The latter was the occasion for which this session arose.  Each December, Diablo Magazine features a number of local heroes (of the East Bay) who have changed the community in all manner of special ways.  Yamaguchi's foundation provides reading tools to kids at a young age and gets families engaged in reading at home.  Yamaguchi is also an author of several children's books, including the New York Times best-seller: Dream Big, Little Pig.  See below a few additional Threads of Hope recipients who were also honored in the feature.  / Creative Director:  David Bergeron  /  Story by:  Pete Crooks

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Lee Stimmel is the founder of the Blue Water Foundation, providing hope to teenagers who are currently incarcerated in various youth detention centers in the Bay Area - by teaching them to sail.  "These kids are so misjudged by all of us, including me," says Stimmel.  "Once they're in an environment where they're not in constant danger, they become children again."  Stimmel started the foundation with the goal of sharing the joys of sailing with at-risk youths and providing them with an "alternative to drugs, alcohol, and gangs."  "For many of them, this is the one positive thing they have in their lives.  They just melt when you praise them because no one tells them they're good at anything - ever.  And they are.  These are really good sailors."  There.  Lee Stimmel, another deserving Threads of Hope award recipient.  / Creative Director:  David Bergeron  /  Story by:  Casey Cantrell

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Ruth McCahan, founder of Lamorinda Village.  Perhaps you've heard of the idea of a "Village" as it relates to senior living.  It's not a "place", but an idea - and now there's a growing national network of nonprofit organizations aiming to help older adults age at in their own homes by providing the assistance they need to do so.  The Lamorinda Village is the community of elderly folks that McCahan is enabling to stay in their homes as long as possible.  Efforts / services include volunteers providing Village members with essential services like shopping, transportation, and home maintenance.  For more specialized tasks, the Village has a list of "preferred providers" - experienced professionals who have been thoroughly vetted.  Way to go Ruth!  Thanks for letting us litter your backyard with C-Stands and gaffers tape (which I think I left hanging on the branch of one of your maple trees. . . ). / Creative Director:  David Bergeron  /  Story by:  Morgan Mitchell

Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website at:  http://www.mitchtobias.com

Opera composer, Jake Heggie > UCLA Magazine

I was commissioned by Design Director, Charlie Hess, to photograph opera composer, Jake Heggie, at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco.  Charlie's directive was simple:  "Choose a location that contextualizes what he does".  I love that.

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Jake Heggie was working at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco as a PR writer when, in one moment, his professional life changed forever.  The general director of the opera tapped him to compose a score for a libretto (the text of an opera) by playwright Terrence McNally.  That opera was the wildly successful Dead Man Walking.  He's currently working on the music for a new production of It's a Wonderful Life.

Jake was game for pretty much anything photographically.  He told me after checking out my website that he had total trust in me.  Always handy - that vote of confidence from your subject!  For this particular shot (above) he's actually listening to an original guitar composition of my own.  (Yes, I write and perform music.)  A second after this shot was taken he opened his eyes and said, "This is good".  Ha!

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Pencil and paper.  Yes, there are still those of us from the old school.  Littered (in a good way) with notes, notating music by hand affords Heggie the freedom to be more spontaneous.  This is the lobby of the opera house, where a few thousand people walk up those steps to hear his music in the hall on a given night. 

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Harking back to the days working behind the scenes.

Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website:  http://www.mitchtobias.com