Pictured above: this family’s first photo
From the H-P volunteer: “It was the 1st in history for us in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah to have this event done this year, and the response was amazingly GREAT! I expected alot of people coming for it but I didn’t expected to see myself struggling to process the photos for that massive crowd! All thanx to my fellow photographers, Make up artists and hairstylists! and also volunteers/ runners/ ushers! Can’t do it without them!” –Dennis Wong Tze Kok, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Pictured: one of their guests
“Feeling blessed to have been a part of showing others that they’re special, valued, and loved.” -Christiane Sears, Cincinnati, Ohio, US
“We photographed a man named Thomas and daughter Zoe who’s wife/mother committed suicide in August. He was so grateful to have photos with his little girl. Thomas was married in the very room we held the HP event in. He and his wife had always hated their wedding photos and she had vowed to have family portraits reshot in that room. He said he almost fell over when he walked in and we were shooting in the same room he made his vows in.” -Dustin Bryson, Midland, TX
“I photographed a couple who had recently lost a baby and are now expecting again. They are finding it really hard to let themselves connect with this new baby. Having their portraits taken was the first thing they’d done to celebrate the new baby, and it was a real turning point for them. I learned to not judge. I wondered if the people I had chosen to photograph were ‘not poor enough’ because they weren’t homeless or recovering drug addicts. But isn’t that the point – everybody deserves our respect, and is worthy of our help. Everybody. No exceptions.” -Gisele Hardock, Cochrane, AB, Canada
Hillary Shemin is the co-leader of the PHiladelphia SmugMugUsersGroup (Philly SMUG) in charge of one of four Help-Portrait locations in Philadelphia and shares these stories from their location’s December event:
For me the most impact was in the smiles and good wishes given back to all of us with thanks for their portraits. I loved that one young man saw how good he looked in his photo and said, hey, maybe I could be a model!
Also, one of the people who came in asked for some of the promotion slips we were handing out on the street so he could help spread the word to others. He so appreciated what we were doing and wanted to help US get the word out to others to enjoy the day.
A single mother who had not had money for a portrait of her 16-month-old couldn’t say enough to thank us for the opportunity. Just not something she could do and would treasure always. Bottom line, people are people and no matter where we come from love and attention given to us matters. Giving love and attention to someone else is as rewarding as receiving it. We all went away with a full heart after yesterday, photographers, volunteers and the people we photographed.
A grandmother, daughter and granddaughter came dressed up coordinated in purples and browns they were so excited for the opportunity. ..they looked stunning…they said it was the first time the 3 of them have been photographed together..3 generations of women and their first portrait, that was wonderful. We know they will treasure the fun memory of the experience and the portrait they took home for the rest of their lives. It really meant something special to them.
Here is a shot of our team at The Career Wardrobe, one of 4 Philadelphia locations. We are all members of the Philly SMUG (SmugMugUsersGroup)
“We did setup our HP 2011 at a carecenter for the children that need special attention. After only 2 hours in our first day of shooting (we went back a second day) we already received feedback on the change of some of the kids. We made them smile again, even for a short while. We really have started a movement here.” –Peter Maessen, Den Bosch, Noord Brabant, Netherlands
The 2011 stats are in. Without further ado…
- 56 countries
- 67,927 portraits given
- 4,984 photographers
- 8,793 volunteers
If you haven’t submitted your stats yet, don’t worry, there’s still time. We’ll update this page as new stats roll in. But remember, it must be for the 2011 calendar year. We’ll be posting a 2012 submission form very soon.
Since the launch of Help-Portrait in 2009, you, the community, have now given away over 169,500 portraits to just as many people. Wow. To think back to August 2009 where we sat and talked about how cool it would be if this got out beyond Nashville, Tennessee. Fast forward to today and we’re in awe. All we can say is thank you for believing in this vision. Without you, Help-Portrait is just an idea. With you, it’s a movement that’s bringing smiles, hope and encouragement to tens of thousands of people ALL ACROSS THE WORLD!
So, we thank you for not just believing, but doing. 169,523 people thank you too.
—Jeremy and the Help-Portrait team
“This is the first time I’ve seen myself so beautiful.”
From the volunteer, Houston NG, Hong Kong:
This was the first HP event in Hong Kong. A total of 5 photographers and 11 volunteers took part in this event. There were 27 families, approximately 80 individuals, and more than 200 individual and family portraits were made.
Miss Ho is a single mother who raised her teenage daughter by working multiple jobs without receiving any social support or government subsidies. This is not only one of the few occasions that the mother and daughter have taken a picture together, it is also one of the few times that Miss Ho had makeup on.
[Woman in the photo] “Thank God that there are people like you, you can not imagine how much joy filled up my heart. Woman who look at me from photo looks self-confident and happy. I am feeling great now.”
[From the H-P volunteer] “We understood once again that we can change the world a bit :)” -Vytaute Stankeviciene, Kaunas, Lithuania
(click to enlarge)
“A husband & wife couldn’t have kids of their own & ended up with 2 foster kids… which they adopted… and she wrote ‘not being able to have biological children turned out to be the greatest blessing in our lives! Never losses, only blessings’… We all cried after reading what mom wrote… How pampered and special they felt…
“And a mom was soo touched [pictured above] – she couldn’t express her gratitude… so she asked if she could give me a hug… we hugged about 3 more times as we conversed… That a simple gesture… a simple hug… a simple portrait… can change lives… not just for the recipients… but for the givers…” -Jamilah Thet Newcomer, West Palm Beach, FL