Issue 4 Stories
Philanthrophy

Capturing Images of Peace in Unexpected Faces

Cows are one of Pam Lennard’s favorite photographic subjects. No matter where she is, whether near her home or on another continent, if there is a cow in her line of sight, she will stop and shoot. “Cows are relaxing. They’re kind of reflective, and their eyes speak to you,” she explains.

Pam’s passion for photography began well over 40 years ago, but approximately ten years ago she left her less-than-creative corporate life behind. She quit trying to juggle dull and boring with wildly creative, and she turned her photography passion into a full-time career. She shoots destination weddings and corporate events around the world, as well as high school senior portraits, equestrian events and—of course—cows.

Photos of two of her favorite cows will soon grace the corridors and patient care areas at Sentara Martha Jefferson. Pam is donating the photographs in memory of her mother, Doloris Thomas, who volunteered at the hospital for many years and who established a fund with Pam’s father, Jim, at Sentara Martha Jefferson to help prevent and treat obesity.

In one of the photographs, the sweet, knowing eyes of six-week-old Maverick gaze through a fence at Pam’s camera. Maverick was given to a friend by a veterinary student at the University of Georgia and found a permanent home and easy life on a Madison, Ga., farm. He was bottle-fed and rode in the backseat of the owner’s car, Pam laughs. When she met him during a visit to the farm, he was about the size of a Great Dane and romped in his paddock like a new puppy. According to Pam, when she left the paddock, Maverick rested his chin on the fence as if to say: “Please come back and play with me.”

In the second photo, another of Pam’s bovine subjects, Agnes, stands at attention in a golden, sunlit field of hay, her face gentle and serious. Pam found Agnes on a summer day in a field north of Atlanta and jumped the fence with three cameras to capture just the right shot. After she snapped the photos, she spotted a bull coming over a ridge, followed by another 20 cattle heading toward her. At that point, it was time to run to the nearest gate and establish a safer shooting perspective. This was not the first time—nor the last—Pam had hopped fences, crossed ditches and navigated tricky terrain to get her prized cow images.

Pam hopes the tranquility she observes in cow faces and postures will translate to the hospital setting and provide peace, beauty and maybe even a moment of introspection for the visitors who see her photographs. “People relax around them,” she notes. “There’s sort of a sense of peace in them. They’re just sweet animals.”

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