'Something Nice': Using photos to capture real emotion

'Something Nice' Photo Project on December 2, 2016 (WLUK/Alex Ronallo)

KAUKAUNA (WLUK) -- An area photographer is proving that kindness can be beautiful. He's embarked on a project called 'Something Nice'-using a combination of photography, compliments and emotions to make art.

It's often said a picture is worth a thousand words. These pictures and the words with them are worth so much more to mother and daughter Sherry Fox and Elizabeth Mellenthing.

"I just wanted to share this experience with her and tell her in front of the whole world how much she means to me and how proud I am of her," said Fox of her daughter.

"I'm adopted and I'm so thankful everyday that God gave me her as my mom. So this was a wonderful gift," said Mellenthin of her mother.

The pair were photographed Friday by Graham Washatka as part of his 'Something Nice' project.

"Friends, strangers, family members compliment each other," said Washatka, describing the project.

But the artistry goes much deeper than that. The portraits include the compliment, the person being complimented and the reflection of the complimenter.

"It works by somebody writing on some glass the compliment they're giving somebody. The person being complimented doesn't know it until it's read when I take the photo," Washatka explained.

Washatka told FOX 11 he uses this technique because it allows him to capture the actual emotions as they happen."

"Smiling, laughing, crying, it's really cool. I have goosebumps," he described.

Washatka took the portraits during 'Take Me to the River,' an art exhibit at Grand Kakalin in Kaukauna. The exhbit featured more than 40 local artists.

The event coordinator, jean Detjen told us Washatka's project is very timely.

"People just having some emotions they want to get out and we're just saying, 'let's rise above that and have a good time and lift each other up,'" she explained.

Washatka himself told us he hopes everyone involved in this project gains from it.

"A better appreciation for each other and maybe you realize a quality within yourself that you maybe didn't see until somebody points it out to you," he said.

Showing a picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes the words themselves are just as important.

"Always just say what's on your heart to anybody. It really means a lot," said Mellenthin.

Washatka will turn the portraits into a full exhibit.

That will be on display at The Draw in Appleton sometime this winter.

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