Oakland photographer asks for help after digital photos, cameras stolen

OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) -- A professor who's also a professional photographer is turning to the public for help after losing what she calls her life’s work in a burglary.

Jennifer Little says countless photos she had taken and stored on hard drives were stolen during a burglary at her apartment in Oakland's Grand Lake District.

The photos are irreplaceable. She filed a report with Oakland Police.

"[I feel] very violated and discouraged. This is ten years of all my professional work," said Little. "I feel like I have nothing to show for it."  

Little is the Chair of the Visual Arts Department at the University of Pacific in Stockton.

She told KTVU she spent many summers in a small village in southern China documenting the plight of indigenous people through her photos and videos.

"All these projects were self-financed and incredibly time consuming," said Little.  

She says she spent the past three summers documenting the drought conditions in California's Owens Valley.

Little showed KTVU the photos she posted on her website.

"It's my driving passion.  I've pretty much put it ahead of everything else about my life," said Little.  

All her original work is stored on hard drives that were stolen along with five cameras, and audio-video equipment.

The items were taken Wednesday afternoon from her apartment in the Grand Lake District while she was teaching.

"Most of that just can't be recreated, no matter what I might want to do.  It's really a tremendous loss," said Little.  

She suspects the thieves climbed in through her bathroom window and were familiar with her apartment.

"A couple of different companies were doing construction work on this building over the summer and the last several months, including one that had multiple people in my apartment," said Little.   

All she has left is one camera and the laptop she had with her at work..

"This is the type of camera you have to use with a dark cloth," said Little.

She says the stolen items are invaluable.

She had hoped to use the photos in a book she plans to write and a short film she wants to make. 

"To lose all that means I have almost nothing of value to show for the last decade," said Little.  

She says she filed a police report online, but hasn't been able to actually talk to an officer.

She is offering a reward with her own money for information leading to the return of her belongings. 

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