Vanessa Embling » A blog about my life & photography

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Vanessa Embling bio picture

    I love photographing people. I love telling stories with pictures. I love watching people and capturing emotions and feelings in an image. I love to have fun. And Laugh. And be silly.

    I am an endless wanderer and my middle name means 'bringer of light' so I try to do that wherever I go! I just moved back to the U.S. after living in Bolivia for the past two years working for a non-profit there. My life is an adventure as I strive to pursue my dream of being a photographer, adventurer, humanitarian and storyteller all at once.

Giving to those in need at Christmas time

It was a busy December here in La Paz, Bolivia!  I am working for HOPE worldwide Bolivia and this Christmas, we partnered with Foundation Arco Iris, the La Paz Church of Christ and other individuals in the community to collect food and clothing donations and we were able to provide a very special Christmas to 40 of the city’s neediest families.  We spent a couple of hours with the families at Casa de Paso, playing games, coloring, talking and eating.  It was a special time filled with lots of joy and smiles!  It truly is better to give than receive!


La Paz 3600 10k Race

Over 10,000 runners joined together to run the Carrera La Paz 3600 10k race through the streets of La Paz, Bolivia.  The race supports children with congenital heart disease and for every runner that participated, Banco Bisa Bolivia donated $1 usd to the campaign, raising over $10,000.  I walked/ran the race (carrying all of my camera gear and taking pictures simultaneously) with many of my friends – it was a lot of fun!







Race Route

5k Race for Operation Smile

Sunday morning we ran a 5k race to raise money for ACS Operation Smile in hopes that they can start a chapter here in La Paz, Bolivia.  Currently there is only one in Santa Cruz, so patients have to travel the 18 hour bus ride to seek medical treatment.  Martina Muñoz, a high school student here, helped to organize the race and it was her desire to start a chapter in La Paz.  This girl is incredible and has a deep desire to change the world… and is already hard at work doing it!  The race was a ‘color run’ – bags of colored powder were thrown at us during the race, which made it super fun and crazy!

Thanks everyone who worked so hard to make this possible and also to all the runners and walkers that came out to support such a great cause!  Below are a few of my favorite photos from the day – but you can click this link to view ALL the photos – feel free to share on facebook!


With two of my friends that ran the race as well – Jordan Hall and Gwen Ellis


Just about to start! Let’s DO THIS!


Color Madness!




VANESSA RACEVEmbling_141123_0112VEmbling_141123_0109VEmbling_141123_9859


Several blind people ran the race, with the help of a guide. So incredible!



Several blind people ran the race, with the help of a guide. So incredible!




This is Martina, the high school student, that organized the race. Such an inspiration to see someone so young changing the world and making a difference!!


I was alone, and you visited me…

This past Saturday we went and visited an elderly home in La Paz to serve them, to encourage them and to spend time with them.  Many of the people in the elderly homes here have been abandoned and they are neglected.  The HOPE volunteers brought food and drinks to fill their stomachs and we sang songs together and sat with them and held their hands and talked with them, which hopefully filled their hearts. It was so neat to see their sad faces fill with joy and watch them come to life.

I brought my camera and my little printer with me so that I could take photos of them and then print them right away and give them a keepsake.  They absolutely loved it, it was so fun to see their eyes light up!


Franz led the group in singing songs with his guitar.



Several of the volunteers helped the elderly peel potatoes

Below are some portraits I took.  I think these women are so beautiful.  I’m reminded of the lyrics to a song called “The Story” by Brandi Carlile

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to
It’s true…



Mariela (one of the volunteers) embracing one of the elderly women


Noelle (one of the volunteers) bringing joy and smiles to everyone around her


MeryLaura (one of the volunteers) embracing one of the elderly women


Group photo!


Me, with one of the elderly gentlemen – PEACE!


Eugenia (one of the volunteers) bringing smiles and laughs


Ludi and Jordan (HOPE worldwide one year volunteers) with one of the elderly women


Franz (one of the volunteers) encouraging the elderly with his guitar

VEmbling_141101_8214VEmbling_141101_8199And below is a video I put together with some of the photos…