Photographer shooting for charity

Portion of portrait session fees goes to Operation Smile

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— Photographer Shauna Lamansky had no idea there were medical professionals in Steamboat Springs who participated in Operation Smile.

When she read this summer about the work nurse Kathy McKinley, anesthesiologist Eric Meyer and plastic surgeon Chris Weatherly-White had done in Vietnam, Lamansky was proud to be on the fundraising end of Operation Smile.

Operation Smile is an international mission organization that sends medical professionals to repair cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities of children in poor, developing countries.

Lamansky, who owns Steele Images Studio in Steamboat, is a member of the Professional Photographers of America. PPA's primary charity is Operation Smile, which is appropriate, Lamansky said, because her job is to capture smiles through a lens.

During October, Lamansky, and other PPA members from across the country, are promoting "Family Portrait Month" to raise money for Operation Smile. But Lamansky has pledged to contribute a portion of each portrait she takes between now and Nov. 15 to Operation Smile.

"I decided to extend (the deadline)," she said.

Inclement weather has made portrait taking difficult outdoors, and Lamansky wants to give families a chance for an outdoor photograph if desired, she said.

"It's a good time," Lamansky said.

The holidays are approaching, so people wanting a family portrait or a portrait of their children can reserve a session, knowing a portion of their payment will be given to charity.

"Few gifts are appreciated as much as portraits of family members," said Ann Monteith, chairperson of the Board of Professional Photographers of America. "When families participate in Family Portrait Month, they are making it possible to truly change the lives of children who would otherwise face a lifetime of pain and rejection."

Each year, Operation Smile's volunteer dentists, surgeons and specialized health-care professionals, perform surgeries on as many needy children as their funding allows. Because the medical professionals volunteer their time, the operations typically cost $240. More than 100,000 children are born each year with a facial deformity in the 23 countries where Operation Smile visits, according to a release from PPA.

To contact Lamansky, call Steele Images Studio at 879-6213.

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