Daniel Agee is a photographer, designer, and community manager who helps independent businesses and non-profits tell better stories.

Watsi Photo Book

“Daniel is one of the most passionate, talented, and productive people I’ve ever worked with. His photography and design skills are outstanding. But what his portfolio won’t show you is that he gets shit done. He possesses the rare ability to execute quickly without compromising quality. If you work with Daniel, you’ll work with him again and again. Guaranteed.” — Chase Adam, Co-Founder of Watsi

The Project

While we were working in Guatemala, we realized Watsi’s Universal Fund was going to pass 1,000 monthly donors. Over breakfast we talked about what we could do to help commemorate the milestone. After working through a series of ideas, we landed on printing a limited-edition 60-page 7" x 9" photo book.

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The Work

The book is broken into three sections: a look into the history of Guatemala, it’s broken healthcare system, and what Watsi and Wuqu' Kawoq is doing to try and fix it.

In the first section, we briefly wrote on the political history of Guatemala and how it still greatly influences the care that indigenous people receive.

The second section, we included three vignettes from our interviews with Wuqu' Kawoq staff members. A longer interview with one of their co-founders, Peter tied the second section to the third.

The most powerful photos came from three patient visits — Anibal, Dominga, & Gustavo. Those were there three stories we focused on in the patient section of the book.

The design process took a few weeks in which we refined the style from Watsi’s website and translated it to printed form. The final week before the deadline, Grace and I worked tirelessly to perfect the flow and the content.

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We printed them with Hemlock Printers in British Columbia, Canada. After a gorgeous train ride, I arrived on-site for press check.

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Three weeks later, 664 pounds worth of books arrived in Portland ready to ship.

The Details

Originally, we were going to use a fulfillment company and call it good. But in one of our brainstorming sessions, we came up with this idea that each book should be hand numbered. Not only that, but each member of the Universal Fund should receive their numbered book. For example, I’m Universal Fund Donor #926, so I got book 926/1000.

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While the idea doesn’t particularly scale well, we did it anyway. Which meant that we needed to handle fulfillment as well. I handled fulfillment of the books with help from my wonderful friends at Buy Olympia. It took four days of work, but eventually every book was hand numbered and in the mail to their correlating Universal Fund member.

Within a week, 700 books started arriving across the USA. In two weeks, the 100 international deliveries started arriving. The response was absolutely beyond anything we thought it would be.

Taking It Further

With a few books left over, we decided we wanted to try to use the book as an introduction to Watsi for a new group of people.

We partnered with my friends over at Need to sell the books in their May 2015 collection Eclectic. They featured Watsi’s book first, announcing the partnership in their collection email announcement, and donated all the proceeds from the book back to Watsi patients.

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Shot by Jordan Laessig for Need.

There are still a few copies available on Need and I highly suggest you pick one up. I hope you’ll consider becoming a member of the Universal Fund, too.

Links: Watsi | Universal Fund | Wuqu' Kawoq | Exposure | Need

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