More than 17 years ago, when Atlanta-based photographers Karen and Troy Burns formed their company, Karen Images, they felt called to find a way to give back to the community using their skills in photography. Soon they discovered a wonderful program that touched their heart, Camp Horizon, a camp for children of abuse in the metro Atlanta DFCS system.
For the last 14 years, Karen and Troy Burns have been fulfilling the role of Camp Photographers for Camp Horizon. Camp Horizon hosts a special one week camp for 8-11 year olds who are in foster care every summer. Camp Horizon has been a lifeline in the Atlanta community for over 30 years and serves as a calm port for kids sometimes lost in a storm of neglect or abuse. The counselors and staff provide unconditional acceptance, trust and love, guiding each child on a journey of self-discovery. Carefully designed activities help them realize they are children of promise with endless possibilities.
Each year, the duo donates their time and photographs the kids at Camp Horizon. They’ve been honored to have those photographs shared with the children and to be a part of their lives, often forming a close bond with them and keeping in touch as they age out of the foster care system and begin their own lives.
Troy explains why these photos are so important to the children, “These kids have bounced around from place to place and home to home and they’ve lost a lot of their stuff along the way. So many of them grow up and they don’t have all of the typical mementos people have from their childhood. They don’t have photos of themselves as they grew up. One way we can give back is to take pictures and offer them those memories.”
He adds, “One of the things we learned about along the way is about the tie between foster children and homelessness. Over 70% of children in foster care will become homeless or in prison in their lifetime. It is clear that there simply is not enough being done to prepare these children for the world they are released into on their own with little to no resources. It really is a problem that we as a society must understand if we want to have an impact on crime, homelessness, and desperation. Camp Horizon is a wonderful program to help these kids, but it is just the beginning.”
Karen says, “I’ve been able to photograph the weddings of kids I took pictures of at Camp Horizon. I watched them grow up. I’ve been able to be there to watch them start their family, to make memories with their own children. I’ve been there for their child’s first year and I’ve seen and photographed them when they have a new little brother or sister to add to the family. It is an honor.”
For more information and to see wonderful photos by Karen and Troy Burns, or to schedule your own photography session, please visit their website online at: https://karenburnsphotography.com. To learn more about Camp Horizon and how you can help, visit: CampHorizon.net.
Karen Burns Photography is located at 3355 Lenox Road, Suite 750, Atlanta, GA 30326. Karen Burns can be reached by e-mail at: KBPhoto@karenimages.com. Or, call (404)436-8406.