Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Help Portrait: Giving back to those less fortunate

Hi everyone,

So this week I was informed by my mother (thanks mom) about this wonderful organization called Help Portrait. Help Portrait is a movement of photographers who are using their time, equipment and expertise to give back to those who are less fortunate. Its not just a small movement, there are tens of thousands of photographers around the globe taking photos and in more than 50 countries!

They describe themselves not as a non-profit, but as a movement, a shift in thinking about photography. Its an opportunity to give photos, not just take them.

One of the beautiful things is that these photos are not for sharing on the forums, using on your website or adding to your portfolio. These pictures are solely for the person you are shooting, not for you in the slightest way, this is all about giving.

Its also not just for photographers! You can join and help out setting the photographer up and making people feel welcome and offer some of your talents to the job as well, for example makeup artists are definitely wanted!

You can also go beyond the call of duty. Take canned goods, take books, blankets, play games. Do whatever you feel like you can do to help the people your serving. Photography is just the catalyst. It's up to you to go beyond that.

For me this sounds amazing since I really care about people in general and now there is an outlet for me (besides Engineers Without Borders) to use my photography to do something good.

I know some of you are probably thinking "Why would someone that is, for example, homeless want a picture?". I will let Jeremy Cowart, the founder of Help Portrait, explain why he thinks this is important:

"I love hearing the naysayers say things like "The last thing a homeless person needs is a picture."

Then I love seeing the reality.

I love seeing a 53-year old man dance in front of the camera because he's never had his photo taken. Ever.

I love seeing a 45-year old single mom work the camera and have that chance to live out the dream of modeling since she was a little girl.

I love the tears of a woman hugging me because this is the first photo she's seen of herself since losing 300lbs 8 years ago.

I love taking the very first photo of a 5-year old child and being able to give that to his mother.

I love seeing women glow as they get pampered with hair and makup for the first time.

I love their confidence and the realization that they are beautiful and they are special.

I love seeing other photographers come together, build a community amongst themselves and reach together and establish even more community among the needy.

Lastly, I love knowing that these photographers are getting to experience all of these moments themselves.

That's what Help-Portrait is about."

I am extremely excited to join Help Portrait and help bring a smile to someones face, help them feel special for once in their lives.

I encourage you if your a photographer, or not, to check them out and do something to help those that are less fortunate than yourself.

Check out the following videos that explain Help Portrait a little more and show some of the realities of the people they help.

To see more videos go onto the Help Portrait website or Youtube "Help Portrait"

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