Today the Photographer Spotlight is on Melissa van Ruiten Photography. Melissa is a native New Englander, recently transplanted to the SF Bay Area. She has been pursuing photography since film was cool the first time around, and has reached her 5th year in business. She enjoys spending time with her husband and three kids, and dreams of someday owning a farm. Melissa is almost always equipped with a cup of coffee and a smile.
Where are you located? I’m located in the San Francisco Bay Area, but I’m always up for a good road trip!
How would you describe your photography? I photograph families and kiddos. Currently, I’m a fair mix of traditional posed portraits and documentary storytelling sessions, with some weddings mixed in for fun!
What made you want to join tghp as a volunteer? When I was in middle school, I had a good friend who was diagnosed with cancer. He beat it but relapsed after we graduated high school. He wasn’t able to beat it a second time. I always wished that I could’ve done more for him, so volunteering with The Gold Hope Project is something that I’m able to do in his memory.
What is your favorite thing about being a Gold Hope Project photographer? I love being able to provide the child I’m photographing with a super special day, focused on them and their family. I like knowing that it gives them a chance to focus on just being a kid, instead of worrying about their illness.
Has working with children with cancer changed anything in your life? It reminds me to slow down and not take any day for granted. Each child that I’ve photographed has been an inspiration.
What is one thing you hope the families you photograph for the project can take away from this experience? They are not alone in their journey. There are people out there who are willing to fight for them, and eventually find a cure.
Thank you Melissa for giving back with The Gold Hope Project! Want to follow Melissa’s lead? Apply to be a volunteer photographer here.