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Behind the camera

Children fighting cancer pair up with photographers so they can focus on the things that make them happy.

May 11, 2008|By Sue Thoensen

She didn’t want to overly influence Sam in his choice of locale, Higgins said, but he was as eager as she was to point the lens at the twin beaches in Corona del Mar.

“The third shoot we did was at sunset, which is my favorite time at the beach. As a mentor, it was about showing and teaching Sam about photography — the lighting, reflections and shadows, or how to hold the camera,” Higgins said.

Sam said being the one taking pictures, and knowing what it’s like to be a photographer was fun, especially at his favorite place.


“I’ve always liked the beach, and taking pictures of the water, some with waves and some without,” Sam said, although he prefers the calmer waters for his pictures because you can see more stuff that way.

“The sun can be going down, or there could be a little boat passing through,” he said.

Sam said he learned things from Barbara that he didn’t know how to do before.

“She taught me about putting more stuff in the picture. Like if there was a person and a duck next to the person, how to move the camera to the side so that both are in the picture,” Sam said.

Sam may have learned a lot about photography, but Renee Guinane, Sam’s mom, said her son also learned a lot about himself.

“Barbara taught Sam about other things out there that he wasn’t in touch with, that he appreciates now.”

Like any kid, Sam was interested in the Internet, TV and video games.

After his photography sessions, Renee said he realized how much he likes the ocean, the birds and being outside.

“Sam’s always going to have these pictures and remember those two days at the beach, documenting life,” Higgins said.


The official launch of the “Things that Make My Face Say Cheese Exhibit” will take place Sunday at Reflective Image Studio, 211 E Columbine Ave., Santa Ana. The show will travel to Children’s Hospital of Orange County for the month of June, be at the Orange County Fair from July 11 through Aug. 3, and at The Festival of Children at South Coast Plaza from Sept. 6 through 28.

For more information on the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, go to

SUE THOENSEN may be reached at (714) 966-4627 or at

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