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June 2008

Not just a highlight for astronomers, druids and festival-goers, this year’s summer solstice
(21 June) provides the perfect opportunity for people in the business of photography to give to those less fortunate than themselves.

Launched in 2006 by Canadian photographer Robert Kent in partnership with Getty Images, the annual Summer Solstice Shoot has so far raised over $100,000 for the Compassionate Eye Foundation (CEF) and its educational projects in Guatemala and South Africa.

Kent and other Getty Images photographers already donate significant royalties from their stock contracts to the charity and are this year supported by over 100 industry professionals.

“Using the value of your stock photographs is a highly sustainable method of giving to charitable causes," Kent explained. "An image can have a life span of up to seven years earning anything between $100 to $5,000 and more.

In 2007, stock images taken on the longest and lightest day of the year helped raise $24,000 in just one month. "It was a magical day,” recalled Kent. "We watched the images appear on a large wall outside my studio. It was wonderful to know that they would be helping to educate children."

© Robert Kent

CEF has helped to fund the building of classrooms at a school in Tuixoquel, Guatemala.

In support of Kent’s philanthropic venture, Andrew Saunders, vice president creative imagery at Getty Images, said: “We were completely won over by his idea of using our normal business model to fund CEF’s good works and we amplify their efforts by inviting more Getty Images contributors to shoot for the charity and by engaging our art directors to help the photographers produce the most saleable imagery for our customers.”

CEF currently funds a school educating at least 60 underprivileged children in Tuixoquel, Guatemala as well as a Cape Town high school that runs a fine art and photography programme.

“We have the potential to open hundreds of schools all over the world,” added Kent. “This is the reason why I am a photographer."