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Photographer devotes hundreds of hours to helping children battling cancer feel beautiful

Hope Rises sat down with Rick Warne, an established professional photographer, who has been donating his photography talents to nonprofits across his community for nearly five years. Overall, he has saved organizations thousands of dollars by supporting the causes he is most passionate about – pediatric cancer among them. 
We personally know Rick, having his generous support and kind spirit at our Hope Rises events, and we applaud his devotion and heart for others.

​​ Hear why Rick is so special to the Hope Rises family, as well as thousands of families he has felt so honored to meet and work with. 
Why are you so passionate about photography?

Photography is a passion, regardless of whether I am shooting a high fashion shoot for a magazine or covering an event for a local charity. My aim during the shoot is to capture the beauty. It might be a beautiful model or it might be a couple that has been married for many years – I love to see the final outcome and the connection.

How long have you been photographing people / nature and what are your success stories?

I started as an amateur photographer at the age of 15 by buying the most expensive professional camera I could on credit and beginning to take photos. I always tell people you don’t need to take photography classes, just go out there and start taking photos. You will make mistakes, but you will quickly learn from them. I am lucky enough to have had many of my photos in magazines and newspapers and I also have won awards.

When I used to live in England, I covered red carpet events. I have photographed the Royal Family, and when I lived in Spain I was lucky enough to cover the major golf matches. Now, here in the US, I tend to do more fashion and corporate work. I have covered the White House Easter Egg Roll, had a brief conversation with President Obama, covered The White House Correspondents Dinner, and this year will be the eighth time I have covered the Tony Awards. 

How long have you been donating your skills and for which organizations?

For over four years, I have donated my time and skills to Oishei Children’s Hospital (Buffalo, NY) – the hospital’s groundbreaking book including photographing sponsors and donors. I’m very proud of the book and seeing my images in print for such a good cause is wonderful. I also produced a series of videos for Gates Vascular, and I absolutely love Roswell Park Cancer Center, and the Courage of Carly Club. Although it’s tough, I absolutely love working with children who are battling life’s toughest challenges. 

My favorite time of the year is covering the Christmas party and the prom for Carly’s Club.

How much value does that equate to?

Its hard to work out value – the book was hundreds of hours, the videos several weeks to film and edit, but I would guess a ballpark figure of more than $30,000 total. 

What is one story that makes you so proud to work as a volunteer photographer?

Thinking back on each year of the Carly’s Club Prom – I truly can’t explain the emotions on this day. We have hair and makeup, when the children arrive they are pampered and they look beautiful. The children who have lost their hair from chemotherapy are given wigs to wear if they want and I set up my studio. It’s just pure joy in their face and it’s worth everything to me.

In your eyes, why is photography so important in this world?

I always say, ‘Taking a photo of someone or something, captures a moment in history.’ My favorite quote is, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today is a gift and that’s why we call it the present.’

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