In 2012, while on a trip to Bulgaria, somebody tried to sell Tanner Wendell Stewart a baby for $50. That moment in all its horrifying reality changed Tanner’s life, and gave his photography a purpose that—up until that point—it had never had.

This is that child, photographed by Tanner just moments before he was offered up for sale:


That experience inspired Tanner to use his passion for photography to tell this story and abolish human trafficking, a goal that spawned a 365 project and book called Shoot the Skies that raised over $50K for The A21 Organization.

The story, described below in Tanner’s own words, is nothing short of astonishing:

I sold everything other than my camera and computer, moved out of my apartment and spent 100% of my money on traveling around the US. In 2013 I photographed in 20 national parks, 8 states, 5 countries. I hiked, road tripped, and flew all over the world. After the 365 project I used Indiegogo to finance the 365 project into a 410 page hardcover called Shoot The Skies book. My goal was 45,000 dollars but I raised over $100,000 dollars. I donated 100% of the proceeds of the book to The A21 Campaign. Over $50,000 dollars donated.

With this project and Tanner’s passion in mind, his already impressive body of work takes on a different, more meaningful feel. The images are gorgeous, yes—but they’re also at the center of a fight against human trafficking in the 21st century.

“My passion,” he told us in an email, “is to use photography to make the world a better place and encourage people to live a generous life.”

Here’s a look at some of our favorite photos from his 500px account:

To see more from Tanner or purchase his work, be sure to follow him on 500px, visit his website, or check him out on Instagram. And if you’d like to find out more about Shoot the Skies, check out the project’s website by clicking here.