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Linda Solomon, nationally-recognized photojournalist and author, has earned wide-spread recognition for her talent, but her most cherished achievements have been the lives she's touched through Pictures of Hope. Using photography as a vehicle, Pictures of Hope, a program founded by Solomon, encourages impoverished children to snap photographs of objects representing their dreams. The results have proven remarkable.
"I met a 12 year-old child in Memphis," Solomon said. "This little boy wanted to go to college and he photographed the exterior of Rhodes College (in Memphis)." Ultimately, the photograph was shown to the president of Rhodes and the child, who had been living in a shelter, was granted a four- year scholarship. "For me, it was a life changing experience because it changed one child's life forever."
Solomon was merely 5 years-old when she first picked up a camera. When she was 13, her parents bought her a photo album. That would serve as a pivotal moment in her life.
"I always said that the camera was a very important gift, but it was the photo album that changed my life," she said. "It showed that my parents had respect for my photography."
Never allowing herself to be pigeonholed into a particular vocation, Solomon has collaborated on three books with her sister, Jill Rappaport, who is a correspondent for the Today Show. "People We Know, Horses They Love," earned a spot on the coveted New York Times bestseller list. Included in the book are photographs and stories of celebrities, such as Robert Redford, Richard Gere and Whoopi Goldberg.
"To do the book on horses was like a dream come true," Solomon said. "I was able to travel for over two years to all these beautiful ranches and farms. It's one of the best times I've ever had."
No stranger to the celebrity scene, Solomon has been covering the red carpet at the Oscars (Academy Awards) for 28 years, she said. The experience has been thrilling.
"I have a photo of a darling little 9-year-old girl with her father, Jon Voight. That was, of course, Angelina Jolie. She's probably one of the most beautiful women I've ever photographed."
Although Solomon has earned remarkable acclaim, she hasn't wandered far from her Birmingham beginnings, where she enjoys gardening, creating her own line of jewelry, and stopping at estate sales in search of cameras to distribute to children for Pictures of Hope.
By any standards, Solomon has already packed a lifetime of achievement into her career, but she isn't ready to sit idly back and relax. ...continued on page 2