Ted van der Linden of San Francisco, CA, shared this from his December 2011 event:
I was asked if there was any way to help take some yearbook photos for the daughter of a friend. (This is not the traditional Help-Portrait event, I know.) I decided to do this as I didn’t have a full day to donate – and was able to create a framework to support the need of this request.
We (photogs) should make a point to do pro-bono work – just like the legal community – find a project, adopt a school…and give your time like it was critical to your success.
“A single mom with her 18-day-old baby girl came near the end of the day. She was very excited because she never imagined that she would get to have a nice photo of her baby that small. She was really sweet and the photographer asked her to stick around since we were almost finished for the day. Once everyone was done, he brought her back in and gave her a baby/momma photoshoot like she never imagined. He captured the baby’s tiny hand holding hers and her little ears. All of the things people pay hundreds of dollars to have. She was so moved and grateful. I felt very happy to provide that experience for her.” –Tess Kearns, Chicago, IL
From Timothy Swanson in Wilmington, DE:
Lindsay, a wheelchair bound mother of two young children, and her husband Jason, came into our event after hearing about it from one of the event coordinators. Lindsay was excited about the opportunity she was being given, but Jason on the other hand seemed to be a little unenthusiastic about the process. Jason did not want to have anyone touch his hair let alone remove his hat. After talking to Mark Varone, one of the barbers, Jason came around. Mark and his staff worked their magic to clean up Jason and ended up cutting his hair! While Jason was getting his hair cut, Lindsay had her hair styled by J Christian, an internationally known platform artist. Their daughter Alysia, worried that her dad would be upset with the way his hair turned out. Lindsay, Jason and the kids had their portraits taken and were nothing but smiles.
Oliver was brought in from a group home. He was very shy, and didn’t know what to expect. Leo, one of our photographers, did a great job talking to Oliver. He left with a smile on his face, and a portrait in a frame he picked out.
It’s not what people said it was their reaction when they realized what they were getting at no cost. Being able to see some of my own family smiling was awesome after know what they have gone through. Also, knowing that our group of 35 volunteers would come back and do it again tomorrow, no questions asked!
“We had a high school senior come in with his newly ‘adopted’ mom. He had been kicked out of his house with nowhere to go and had been homeless until this family took him in. They brought him to our Help-Portrait because he had not had his senior pictures done. He was shy and quiet, but within minutes his smile was enormous. There were lots of great hugs going on around him!” –Cathryn Becker, Casper, WY
“People were shocked that we were giving them framed photos and CDs for free. Since all our photographers were between the ages of 10-19, some of their families came along for portraits. One mother said this about the 11-year-old photographer that made her family photo: ‘Thank you so much for a wonderful time our family and kids had today. It was a really great experience having our portrait taken by Helen. We are really grateful for the opportunity offered to our kids and have a wonderful environment!!’” –Erik Auerbach, San Francisco, CA
Photo made by Helen Jimenez, age 11, and it was of her cousin Katherine Flores, age 14, and her family. Katherine is on the right.
Chances are the first place you visited after hearing about Help-Portrait was this website. But this website wouldn’t exist without the generous development support of Flosites. We began working with them because of mutual friends, but the professional service was a match made in heaven, as the Flosites team specializes in brands, blogs and websites especially for photographers.
H-P founder Jeremy Cowart describes them as “Amazing. They’re on the other side of the world but they’re always available and super laid back and friendly. If they were here, they’d be the type of people that I would hang with in my downtime… great people.”
Their time, design and input has been invaluable to the Help-Portrait movement, as our website, online brand and online community are foundational for us. They’ve been instrumental in piecing all those aspects together so Help-Portrait forges ahead as a movement – existing beyond our online tools.
Debby Faught, from Mobile, AL, shared this from their Help-Portrait event:
We worked with Wings of Life. Wings of LIfe is a Christian, Bible-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment center located in Mobile, AL. It was absolutely a joy to bring smiles to people’s faces that day. One of the guys that sat down with me, Markeish, could not stop thanking me. Thanking me for being a light in this dark world. Thanking me for taking the time out of my busy schedule to do something like this (Help-Portrait).
The main thing I guess to take away, would be to not take my talent for granted: photography. Everyone is precious and worthy of feeling special/beautiful at least one moment of their life. The people we came into counter with on Saturday were the nicest, most grateful people I’ve ever met. They had so little, yet were so thankful for the simplest thing: a photograph.
(Debby and Grace, who helped plan the event, are pictured above)
“I just love the power in coming together with creatives to give back. Photographers are a bit of a funny bunch:) Setting all of that aside for day, pulling our head out of the creative sand and giving back.” -Amber Strehle, Sultan, Washington
Trampus Boyles, from Hedgesville, WV, sent these stories and photos from their Help-Portrait December 2011 event:
As youth leaders at our church, we decided to get our teens involved in Help-Portrait. One of our teens invited a classmate to the event. When classmate and her mother arrived, her mother briefly told us about how they lost their house in September 2011 due to a fire. After losing everything in the fire, her mother was ecstatic that she was able to her daughter’s picture taken and start a new collection of memories.
The last family was invited by one of our youth leaders. This was a mother and daughter family that had been involved in a very bad domestic relationship. Her husband is now incarcerated and she is working hard to start a new life. The portrait is representation of her new beginning with her daughter.
Whether it is to celebrate a new beginning or to provide a memory for another, there are so many lives that are impacted by Help-Portrait. Thank you for allowing us to be apart of this!