First off, my apologies for not blogging for <cough> 2 1/2 weeks. But, this past Saturday was probably one of the most blog-worthy topics ever. Here is just a sample of what went on (this is the Nashville location)…
12.12.09: The first annual Help-Portrait event was in full swing – and a much bigger swing than probably any of us thought possible. What is Help-Portrait? Help-Portrait is a shift in thinking for photography, a movement really, that was conceptualized earlier this year by one of the best photographers working today and one of my biggest influences, Jeremy Cowart. The idea? For photographers anywhere and everywhere to use their cameras to give back to their local communities by finding people in need, taking their portrait, and then delivering a final print to them. Period. No money, no self-promotion – nothing. Well, except the opportunity to make someone feel beautiful, special, and loved.
So, this past Saturday, 12.12.09, I joined up with several other photographers from the Greenville, SC-area (even some from Spartanburg and Columbia) and set up at United Ministries in downtown Greenville from 10-4 and took portraits of about 50 different people. Men, women, children, and whole families together. It was without a doubt the most rewarding experience I’ve had yet as a photographer. One of the last couples to come in told us they had recently been married and they came in to have their wedding picture made. <insert tears>…and that was just one of the stories. Those of us that were there are already talking about how to make next year’s Help-Portrait even better, and even possibly doing one in the springtime just because. Just knowing that you’ve been able to use your camera to love on someone and watching their faces light up when they see their new portrait is indescribable and humbling in every way. (Just in case you’re wondering why I don’t have any of the portraits from the day, it’s because the Help-Portrait community decided to respect the privacy of those in front of the camera by not posting their portraits online.)
So like I said earlier, the first Help-Portrait was much bigger than any of us dreamed it would be. The final stats? Approximately 36,000 portraits given by 3,002 photographers & 4,422 volunteers in 511 locations in 41 countries. That is UNBELIEVABLE! If you haven’t watched the video above yet please do, and if you’d like to be involved in the next Help-Portrait here in the Greenville area just add a comment to this post or use the contact link at the top to send me a message. Keep in mind that to be involved you don’t have to be a photographer. You can volunteer in a number of other ways such as greeting/welcoming, doing hair/makeup, being a set of extra hands, providing or serving food, etc. The opportunities are endless.
If you’re reading this, you have been and are incredibly blessed. Take the time this Christmas season to let someone know they’re beautiful and loved. You won’t regret it.