By Marty Gordon
Just in time for Christmas and the New Year, Christiansburg photographer Sarah Vogl, who is the guiding force behind Gray Matters Graphic Design & Photography, has released a calendar that benefits Radford’s Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley, a non-profit organization. Vogl said the 2020 Women’s Empowerment Pin-Up calendar is a retro-themed photography fundraiser centering on women’s empowerment and feeling beautiful in one’s own skin.
The calendar includes several familiar faces from throughout the New River Valley.
Vogl said the project started as a meet-up of creative persons and is something she does for herself on a semi-regular basis for the sake of her personal sanity.
“Sometimes non-stop work for clients can become draining and can eat away at all the fun parts of my job,” Vogl said. “Hosting free/inexpensive meet-ups for fellow creatives is one of my favorite ways to stretch my creative muscles, to challenge myself and to keep my work feeling fresh.”
Meet-ups are also her favorite way, she said, to build new professional relationships, which has proven to be extremely beneficial in serving her clients. The evolution of this project into 150+ copies of an actual, physical product is a result of the persistence of Vogl’s business partner, Marie March.
“She’s got an uncanny business sense and a relentless desire to support the community and those in need. With her help, I was able to make the project profitable. Thanks also to John Wilburn of Hokie Real Estate for his donation to the project,” Vogl said.
Vogl has made a donation to the Women’s Resource Center, and the calendar participants will be able to make additional donations using profits from calendar sales.
Some of the participants/pin-up girls are Vogl’s friends. Some are local business owners, and some are new photo clients who found out about the project on Facebook and wanted to treat themselves.
“As far as I’m concerned, all my goals for this product have already been accomplished,” Vogl said. “First, I met some new people and had lots of fun. Second, this serves as a great promotional opportunity for the business owners involved. Third, the calendar is a way for me to serve some of my friends and clients with a unique product and service.”
Vogl is also confident that the whole project has made the models more aware of just what beautiful women they truly are.
“Photography has the power to give people a new perspective on the face they look at in the mirror every day,” the photographer said. “No Photoshop or magic tricks were required here. We just had 12 gorgeous, powerful and independent women.”
This has also been a year of transition for Vogl, and she admits she has found it extremely satisfying to wrap up the year with such a dynamic project. She has already begun taking reservations for next year’s calendar.
The calendar is available for $20 at the website. (https://graymatters/) and is also available at Bear Dance Market in Christiansburg, Fatback Soul Shack in Christiansburg, Due South in Christiansburg and Blue Ridge Fudge Lady in Pulaski.