Pablove Shutterbugs

We teach children living with cancer to develop their creative voice through the art of photography.

Pablove Shutterbugs, Audubon Zoo, April 25, 2015. Photo: Corrie Boudreaux.

About the Program

Who We Serve:

  • Children and teenagers between the ages of 6 – 18 years old who are living with cancer.

Where We Serve:

  • Los Angeles, CA – 8-Week Mentorship Program, Alumni Summer Camp
  • Palo Alto, CA – 5-Week Program
  • New Orleans, LA – 5-Week Program
  • New York, NY – 5-Week Program
  • Austin, TX – 5-Week Program

Cancer is no fun – especially for kids.

Through the lens of a camera, pediatric cancer patients are given a new perspective. Students in our classes learn to express themselves, exercise their independence, and practice new ways of seeing – all while having fun! Para más información sobre el programa Pablove Shutterbugs en Español, llámenos al 323.657.5557.


Our Approach

Here’s how Pablove Shutterbugs helps kids cope through creative expression:

  • Our classes cover key photography concepts such as perspective, light and shadow, and storytelling through a mix of one-on-one instruction, group classes, and field trips.
  • As part of our structured curriculum, students complete weekly photo assignments, instilling self-confidence as they practice and master new skills.
  • There is no cost for families to participate. Pablove Shutterbugs is supported by grants, corporate donations, and individual gifts to The Pablove Foundation.
  • Students who complete the program keep their digital point-and-shoot camera kits to continue fostering their creativity.
  • Our program evaluations have shown that creative expression has the power to uplift the human spirit. The smiles on our students’ faces prove this week after week.
  • Children undergoing pediatric cancer treatment have their daily routine disrupted and often miss school for days or weeks at a time. Our program instills a sense of independence and accomplishment in kids whose lives are otherwise dominated by medical treatment.
  • Pablove Shutterbugs is open to children who are currently in treatment, as well as those who are up to five years “off treatment” for pediatric cancer.

Our program offerings include 8-week mentorship programs, 5-week group sessions, summer camps, and workshops. Click on the Upcoming Classes tab to see if we have an upcoming program near you.

If you’d like to volunteer with Pablove Shutterbugs, please check out our upcoming opportunities at

Upcoming Events

Pablove Shutterbugs is offered throughout the year in Los Angeles and in sites across the country. There is no cost for children to participate. Programs in each city culminate with a public gallery show.

Pablove Shutterbugs Los Angeles

Upcoming Classes

We are now accepting student applications for the following programs:

Los Angeles 8-Week Program

February 27 – April 16, 2016

The Pablove Shutterbugs 8-Week Program is an outpatient mentorship program in photography that takes place over eight Saturdays. During the 8-Week course, students ages 6-18 are paired with a professional photography mentor that works with them one-on-one at their home and also attend group classes with other students in a classroom setting. The program consists of four (4) one-hour individual classes that take place on Saturdays at the student’s home, one group field trip excursion, and three (3) two-hour group classes that will take place at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, CA. The group classes are taught by experienced teaching artists and special guests. Each week, students learn a new lesson in photography concepts and technique. All supplies and equipment are provided by The Pablove Foundation.

If you’d like to volunteer with Pablove Shutterbugs, please join our Volunteer List at

Upcoming Gallery Shows

Pablove Shutterbugs Tacoma Gallery Show

  • Los Angeles Gallery Show
    Saturday, December 5, 2015
    4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
    FLOOD Magazine Gallery
    5810 W. 3rd Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90036


What kind of classes does Pablove Shutterbugs offer? When and where?

Pablove Shutterbugs programs include:

Core Programs: Our flagship One-on-One Mentorship and Alumni Summer Camp programs are based in Los Angeles and take place once a year.

  • One-on-One Mentorship: Our 8-week mentorship program pairs outpatient students ages 6-18 with a professional photography mentor that works with them in their home. Students also attend four group classes with their peers in a classroom setting.
  • Alumni Summer Camp: Our 3-day overnight camp experience for Pablove Shutterbugs Alumni ages 8-18, allows our students to broaden their knowledge of photography, participate in extracurricular activities, and become lifelong learners in the arts. The camp is an opportunity for past students to continue participating in our growing Pablove community.

National Programs: We offer 5-week Pablove Shutterbugs programs in various locations across the country. Each program takes place twice a year.

  • Classroom Based, Community of Learners: A 5-week outpatient photography program taught by an accomplished photographer and teacher. During the 5-week course, kids and teens, ages 6-18 attend group classes and learn photography fundamentals.


How does Pablove Shutterbugs help kids living with cancer?

When The Pablove Foundation co-founders Jo Ann Thrailkill and Jeff Castelaz were going through treatment with their son Pablo, they found that there was a strong need for programming that allowed “kids to just be kids.” Treatment schedules, stress, and isolation from peers take a toll on children who are undergoing medical care. Research has shown that the arts have the power to uplift the human spirit, provide a person an outlet to focus on something positive, and is a tool for self-expression. Pablove Shutterbugs is an outpatient arts program that allows children to come together and work with professionals in the field of photography to develop their artistic skills. Photography is a good match because of its accessibility to a large age range, portability, and functionality. One of the unique aspects of Pablove Shutterbugs is our flexibility and bringing the program bedside if the student is undergoing treatment at the hospital.

What do Pablove Shutterbugs learn?

Pablove Shutterbugs students learn the ins and outs of their camera and learn fundamental concepts that help them develop their artistic eye and creative voices. When students finish, they will be able to compose, consider lighting, and tell stories through photography.

Our structured curriculum is designed to foster a sense of accomplishment, confidence and self-expression in each student who participates.

Is Pablove Shutterbugs an art therapy program?

No. Pablove Shutterbugs is an arts education program that allows children to learn in an environment where they are taken away from the stresses of treatment and allows them to be, for a short period of time, just like any other student in a place where cancer is not an issue. Our approach focuses on learning and mastering an art form thereby improving quality of life.

Who is eligible to become a Pablove Shutterbugs student?

Pablove Shutterbugs is an outpatient program that serves children who have cancer. Although priority goes to children who are currently in treatment, we accept all students who have been diagnosed at any point in their life. Please reach out to a Pablove Shutterbugs staff member if you are unsure about a particular child’s eligibility. Age ranges that we accept depend on the type of programming that we offer:

  • One-on-One Mentorship Program: 6-18 years old
  • Alumni Summer Camp: 8-18 years old
  • Classroom Based, Community of Learners Program: 6-18 years old

Can siblings participate in Pablove Shutterbugs?

Our program is designed to address feelings of isolation and uncertainty that many kids diagnosed with cancer experience by providing a learning environment that fosters a sense of normalcy.  Developing a sense of independence and creating friendships with other children living with cancer helps students cope with and find an outlet for self-expression during a time where so much is out of their control. Therefore, priority is given to students with cancer.
However, the majority of our programs are family friendly allowing all members to participate, such as attending class field trips and graduation ceremonies. Many of our Pablove Shutterbugs students teach their siblings their lessons and use them as the subjects of their photography assignments. Please check out our resource page for programs that serve siblings of pediatric cancer patients.

Are parents required to come to group classes?

For group classes, parents are not required to come to class and can leave their child without parental supervision with a signed waiver. In these cases, we encourage parents to stay within a  5 – 10 minute driving distance of the class location.
For our Alumni Summer Camp, students are engaged in an overnight camp experience and spend time away from home for three days. Looking for camps that serve siblings and families? Please visit our resource page for the camps that we (pab)love!

How can I volunteer with Pablove Shutterbugs?

Pablove Shutterbugs is always looking for others to join our community! We offer a variety of ways to get involved:

  • One-on-One Photography Mentors (Los Angeles only): Most Volunteer Mentors have a professional background in photography and are paired with a student to teach them the basic concepts of photography. Mentors receive extensive training about working with families affected by cancer and will follow a basic photography curriculum established by Pablove Shutterbugs.
  • Teaching Assistants: Volunteer Teaching Assistants support the instructors during classes. They work closely with groups of students by communicating lessons using age appropriate language and provide guidance and encouragement to their cohort.
  • Medical Staff (Los Angeles only): Volunteer Medical Staff work with us during our three day overnight summer camp to ensure the safety and wellness of our students. They include physicians, physician assistants and nurses. Their main responsibilities include administering medications, first aid, health assessments, emergency response and more.
  • Photographers: Volunteer Photographers help document our Pablove Shutterbugs programs during group classes. The Pablove Foundation shares these photos from class with our families, on social media, and uses these images for marketing and outreach.
  • Translators: Volunteer Translators help out by communicating with non-English speakers. They ensure that all families have a pleasant experience with the program.
  • General Volunteers: General Volunteers help out where it is most needed. Their tasks may  include being an extra set of hands during classes or by helping to recruit students through tabling sessions at our partner hospitals.
  • Interns: Pablove Shutterbugs interns are generally passionate about youth programs, community outreach and photography. They are paramount to the program’s success. Lasting three months, interns participate in a balance of administrative duties and learning opportunities in a fast-paced, structured and supportive working environment.

Please sign up for our Volunteer List to receive the latest volunteer opportunities near you!
If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please send an email to

Student Gallery


View + purchase Pablove Shutterbugs photography on the Pablove Prints Shop! 100% of the proceeds from your purchase benefit The Pablove Foundation’s Childhood Cancer Research Grants.

Photo Gallery

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