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  • Writer's pictureLiz Hill

The challenge—and joy!—of finding just the right photos to illustrate my new business website

After spending three years living on Maui between 2013 and 2016 I had let my public relations business website get outdated. It's been more than a year since I returned to the U.S. continent, I'm no longer living in Washington, D.C., and it was definitely time for me to design a new site. So what took me so long? To be honest, my former website seemed to be working well enough for me and, in fact, I was still consistently receiving compliments about it. I justified the fact that it was woefully outdated by my belief that it remained a good representation of my business—and me. But it was definitely time to step things up a bit with a new, eye-catching website.

The words came easy. The most challenging task of the redesign process was finding illustrations that depicted aspects of my work and the services that my business offers, while also giving my site a personal touch. Not everyone believes this but I happen to believe a personal touch is important. I want prospective clients to not only learn about what I can do for them in the business sense but also to get to know me as a person, a Native woman who is committed to making things better for other Native people in the best way that I know how—by utilizing my communications skills to create a better understanding of our cultures, histories, languages and struggles.

I needed an especially eye-catching image on my About page. I wanted a photo that suggests my Native heritage. Fortunately, the photography of Michael Barrett came to mind. Michael, Red Lake Ojibwe (like me), is the Editor of the Red Lake Nation News, an online news website that gets 8 million hits a month. Michael also is an absolutely superb photographer and very generously offered me the use of any of the photographs that he shot at the Red Lake Nation celebration this past July. It was nearly impossible to choose from among the hundreds of photos that Michael has displayed his Facebook page—they are all stunning—but I finally came up with this one.

The other very special photograph that I received permission to use is by David Forte from Chicago. David is an incredibly talented musician who plays bass guitar in Chicago Bluesman Toronzo Cannon's band (David has performed with many of the most highly-acclaimed Blues artists over the years). Toronzo was very kind to allow me use of any of his photos on his Facebook page and after viewing thousands of them, I found David's shot, which shows Toronzo performing in front of a huge audience at the Montana Folk Festival in Butte this past July. Also pictured in the photo is keyboardist Luca Chiellini. The photo of Toronzo is an amazing image (I was only sorry that the size restrictions on the web page didn't allow me to show the entire panorama); and I used it to illustrate what one aspect of being a publicist is all about—getting visibility for your client whomever he/she may be, in this case a musician. Here is the entire panorama—impressive!

Thanks to Michael Barrett, David Forte and Toronzo Cannon my new website is truly a reflection of who I am and what I do.

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