Photographer Donates Book Profits To Help Struggling Musicians During Pandemic
Author/photographer Michael Blanchard is donating profits from his award-winning book Through A Sober Lens to help musicians impacted by the COVID crisis.
An article in the Los Angeles Times by journalist August Brown described the impact of addiction on the musical community during the shutdown. The article features profiles of artists lost to substance abuse in the past year, Cady Groves, Justin Townes Earle, and rapper Chyna.
The article quotes CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield saying “The disruption to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic has hit those with substance use disorder hard. As we continue the fight to end this pandemic, it’s important to not lose sight of different groups being affected in other ways. We need to take care of people suffering from unintended consequences.”
Charitable giving is nothing new to Mr. Blanchard. As a recovering alcoholic who nearly lost everything in 2010, the former healthcare executive has rebuilt his life on pillars of compassion, artistry, and contribution. To date, he has donated over $40,000 through sales of photographs, calendars, books to support mental health and substance abuse treatment.
His 2014 debut, Fighting For My Life, was recently re-released in a “jail-friendly” paperback version to satisfy requests from incarcerated readers who were hoping to benefit from his uplifting message (hardcover books are prohibited by prison security).
Mr. Blanchard resides in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Most of his photography features the island’s breathtaking natural landscapes. His daily Facebook posts have attracted an international following with their uplifting themes of resilience, connection, and hope.
As a lifelong music fan, Mr. Blanchard felt drawn to the MusiCares mission.
“Photography is my means of expression, but music has always defined the most important moments on my way back from an addict bottom,” he says.
“My photography follows in the words of the Indigo Girls: ‘Darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable and lightness has a call that’s hard to hear.’ I use my photography to show people the light.”
Blanchard’s writing has drawn praise from Oscar and Emmy award-winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, MDs, PhDs, social workers, law enforcement officials, and more. Dan Lyons, New York Times best-selling author and writer on the HBO hit SILICON VALLEY, calls Blanchard’s prose “pure inspiration.”
Stephen Okazaki, the Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, calls Blanchard’s story “deeply moving and personal, told with honesty and heart.” Through A Sober Lens – A Photographer’s Journey won the gold medal for Most Inspirational Book of the Year at the 2020 Benjamin Franklin Awards.
“I am thrilled to contribute a portion of the proceeds from the sale of my book to help musicians who are struggling,” he says. “Songs have lifted me up in times of darkness and I want to support efforts to help show musicians the light.”
MusiCares helps the humans behind the music because music gives so much to the world. Offering preventive, emergency, and recovery programs, MusiCares is a safety net supporting the health and welfare of the music community.
Founded by the Recording Academy in 1989 as a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) charity, MusiCares safeguards the well-being of all music people through direct financial grant programs, networks of support resources, and tailored crisis relief efforts.