A week after the tragic shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, the gravity of the situation still sits heavy on the shoulders of the country. The massacre claimed the lives of 49 people and wounded 20 more, leaving the nation reeling in an unprecedented event Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is calling an act of “extremist, right-wing terrorism.”
In response, photographers Kyle Kotajarvi and Mio Monasch have created an online photography shop called Prints for Good to support those impacted by the shooting, with 100% of the profits going to victim support services.
The shop features New Zealand landscape and nature photography by more than 25 artists who have lived and traveled to the country. Prints are available in a variety of sizes, canvases, and frames with prices starting at $25.
When Kotajarvi first heard about the tragedy last Friday, he knew he couldn’t stand idly by. He reached out to Monasch, and less than two days later they debuted the shop and began spreading the word to their friends and the photography community.
“I think both me and Kyle knew we had the power to do something, and we were sick and tired of feeling helpless when we saw tragic events like this on the news. We knew we needed to mobilize quickly for this to have impact,” says Monasch.
Kotajarvi and Monasch both visited New Zealand for the first time in January for a photography project, experiencing the country’s warm culture and welcoming people first-hand.
After hearing about the shooting, Kotajarvi said he was especially struck by how violent event was in contrast with the sense of inclusivity he felt when visiting the country.
Chris Poplawski, one of the artists featured in the Prints for Good shop, also found it difficult to imagine that such a horrible event could happen in New Zealand. Poplawski visited the country on a photography trip with his girlfriend.
“The people in New Zealand are truly one-of-a-kind. A vicious hate crime is far from something you’d expect to hit their country.”
Another artist who donated prints to Prints for Good is Sophie Piearcey, a freelance photographer and blogger who relocated to New Zealand for work and now calls the country her home.
“Our Muslim community in New Zealand really needs you right now,” says Piearcey. “I encourage you to reach out, donate if you can, and stamp out negativity and racism whenever you see it.”
At the end of the day, Kotajarvi and Monasch see Prints for Good as a platform for photographers to make a difference in something they care about.
“Regardless of our financial contribution, I thought it was important for those in New Zealand to see that the creative community cares,” says Korajarvi. “I believe we have a responsibility to use our voice and platform for good,” he adds.
“As a photographer, you have the capacity to have a commentary on the things you care about,” he says. “Us photographers and creative professionals should not be afraid to use our platforms to speak about what matters. If you have a line of action in sight you know will have impact, do it.”
Kotajarvi and Monasch hope to raise $5,000 NZD for victims as part of their effort.