Several weeks back we highlighted a special Help-Portrait project by Sasha Leahovcenco (“Sasha Leahovcenco Takes Help-Portrait to the Ends of the Earth”). Inspired by Help-Portrait, he traveled to Chukotka, Russia, for a unique opportunity to share the gift of photography with people who live at the literal ends of the earth. We posted an interview and several photos here, and this week Sasha shares a behind-the-scenes look at his time in Russia.

What’s your favorite part about the video?

Posted on Mar 23, 2011  |  Category: H-P Organizers  |  8 Comments
  • Photographer Travels To The Most Remote Part Of The World To Give Away A Portrait » f stoppers Photographer Travels To The Most Remote Part Of The World To Give Away A Portrait » f stoppers

    [...] March 24, 2011 Posted in Portraits TweetShareI’m sure many of you are familiar with Help-Portrait, an organization of photographers who shoot free portraits to share their art and enrich others [...]
    Photographer Travels To The Most Remote Part Of The World To Give Away A Portrait » f stoppers | 24/03/2011 5:17 PM

  • Photographer Travels To The Most Remote Part Of The World To Give Away A Portrait | Brent Morales Foto Wordpress Photographer Travels To The Most Remote Part Of The World To Give Away A Portrait | Brent Morales Foto Wordpress

    [...] sure many of you are familiar withHelp-Portrait, an organization of photographers who shoot free portraits to share their art and enrich others [...]
    Photographer Travels To The Most Remote Part Of The World To Give Away A Portrait | Brent Morales Foto Wordpress | 24/03/2011 6:15 PM

  • Sandro Esposito – La vita in immagini Sandro Esposito – La vita in immagini

    [...] molti di voi hanno sentito parlare di Help-Portrait, un organizzazione di fotografi che realizza ritratti gratuiti per condividere arte e arricchire la [...]
    Sandro Esposito – La vita in immagini | 24/03/2011 11:51 PM

  • Photographer Travels To The Most Remote Part Of The World To Give Away A Portrait « Little Fluffy Duck Photographer Travels To The Most Remote Part Of The World To Give Away A Portrait « Little Fluffy Duck

    [...] sure many of you are familiar with Help-Portrait, an organization of photographers who shoot free portraits to share their art and enrich others [...]
    Photographer Travels To The Most Remote Part Of The World To Give Away A Portrait « Little Fluffy Duck | 25/03/2011 3:24 PM

  • Daralynn Daralynn

    I was touched by Sasha's sacrafice and the looks on the faces of people who saw a picture for the first time was priceless!
    Daralynn | 06/04/2011 10:32 AM

  • Nick Nick

    Sasha was good! Chukchi knows everything. A beautiful Chukotka
    Nick | 23/04/2011 8:41 PM

  • Kickstarters We Love: Chukotka – A story from the End of the Earth « Free Photography Tips Tutorials Reviews and Wordpress Themes | Photography tips and photography tutorials and more Kickstarters We Love: Chukotka – A story from the End of the Earth « Free Photography Tips Tutorials Reviews and Wordpress Themes | Photography tips and photography tutorials and more

    [...] part of Help-Portrait project, Sasha travelled to the deep Tundra of Chukotka to live with and photograph a small nomadic tribe [...]
    Kickstarters We Love: Chukotka – A story from the End of the Earth « Free Photography Tips Tutorials Reviews and Wordpress Themes | Photography tips and photography tutorials and more | 13/02/2013 12:33 AM

  • Sasha Leahovcenco: Help-Portrait, Nigeria | Help-Portrait Worldwide » 07 DEC 2013 Sasha Leahovcenco: Help-Portrait, Nigeria | Help-Portrait Worldwide » 07 DEC 2013

    […] prolific volunteer photographers, and his Help-Portrait trip to Chukotka, Russia (“Help-Portrait. End of the Earth“), was chosen as a Vimeo Staff Pick. In it he shows the a behind the scenes look at his […]
    Sasha Leahovcenco: Help-Portrait, Nigeria | Help-Portrait Worldwide » 07 DEC 2013 | 03/12/2013 3:51 PM

John Keatley by Jenny Jimenez(John Keatley photo by Jenny Jimenez)

John Keatley is a Seattle-based photographer specializing in advertising and editorial portrait photography as well as celebrity impersonations. His client list runs the gamut of who’s-who: Microsoft, Starbucks, TIME, NBA, T-Mobile, Fortune … the list goes on. He’s photographed Annie Leibovitz, the mother of modern celebrity photography, reality fashion mogul Tim Gunn, Sarah Palin (yes, that one) and actor/comedian Andy Samberg. (For more about his work, check out this fantastic about video on his site.)

But recently, John had the opportunity to travel to Liberia to do some very different types of photographs. And he loved the opportunity. We asked him to share about his experience there and how he’s learning to use business to benefit others.

Photography has opened up many doors for me over the past few years and has allowed me to meet people and go places I probably would not have had the opportunity to experience otherwise.  It’s a fun job, and through a recent project I worked on, photography presented me with an even greater opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and see the potential to truly make a positive impact in the lives of others.

This past January I was hired to travel to Liberia and photograph an ad campaign for MiiR Bottles, based around the first two MiiR-funded well projects.  For every bottle MiiR sells, they provide clean water for one person for an entire year.  It’s a really great idea, and something I was immediately interested in being a part of.  Business is a very powerful tool, and I have begun to explore the idea of using business to benefit others as MiiR is doing.  The possibilities are endless and I was excited to discover how I might be able to make a difference though my photography.

It was difficult for me to fully comprehend the extent of the water issues until I was in Liberia.  Access to water is not necessarily the problem, but access to clean water is really where it gets complicated.  We were guided through several villages by locals where we were able to get a first-hand look at the water sources where people washed dishes, bathed, and retrieved water to drink.  In some cases, they always bathed and washed clothes down-stream and drank up-stream, but the problem is there are several other villages up-stream doing the same thing.  Or there could be dead animals lying in the stream.  There are many wells in Liberia, but unless it is a sealed pump and it has been cared for properly, there is a good chance even those are contaminated.  Without being sealed, bugs, animals, trash, and sewage fall in or get washed into the well when it rains.  Clean water is hard to find.

Although our trip was focused on the clean water well projects in two particular villages, we had several opportunities throughout the week to travel to other villages and hear about the many different struggles facing Liberians.  One of the struggles is access to quality education.  Because of the economic situation in Liberia, there are many children whose families are not able to pay for school. One of our stops was at the Chariot Daycare and Elementary School in Buchanan.  It was founded and run by a wonderful man who goes by Pastor Kondoh.  He has an incredible story which I talk about on my blog, and he has an incredible passion to serve those who can not help themselves.  Especially the children.  One of his many goals is to educate and raise up the children of Liberia who he believes are the key to bringing about change in their country.

The organization MiiR partnered with to build wells in Liberia is Well Done Organization.  In addition to clean water projects, WDO recently began a child sponsorship program, to help families who can’t afford to send their children to school.  I was asked to take a few pictures of the students needing sponsorship.  One of the young students I photographed that morning was Zachariah, and his portrait is one of my favorites.  I could stare at his portrait for hours and continue to find new things I like about it.  I wrote about Zachariah on my blog and encouraged my readers to consider supporting him or one of the other children at Chariot Daycare and Elementary.  By the end of the day, seven children were sponsored.

While I have always perceived the value of a photograph to be great, this experience of using an image to motivate others to take action has broadened the way I think about my work.  Photography has the power to not only bring about awareness, but also to inspire.  We know this because we so often create images for the purpose of advertising and selling commercial products and services.  I have been thinking a lot about the power of photography since returning from Liberia.  How can great photography be used to inspire people to invest in the lives of others?  This same question could be asked of any professional skill, and thankfully it seems to be a question more and more people are thinking and talking about.  I don’t have all of the answers myself, but after hearing about the seven children who were sponsored in one day, a new excitement and curiosity has awakened in me.

Although I am still in the very early stages of planning, I have begun working on a very large new project revolving around the idea of giving back to others.  I will have more about this to share very soon.  I am excited to see how it will go and what can be accomplished in the weeks, months and even years ahead.  If you are interested in hearing updates and finding out more about this project as well as my photography, you can do so on my blog at www.keatleyphoto.com/blog and on Twitter @johnkeatley.

In addition to these images, you can see more of my photography on my website, www.keatleyphoto.com.  I was given a lot of freedom to explore and photograph whatever interested me while in Liberia.  Being a portrait photographer, I made a point of going out on my own to photograph people whenever I had the chance. These portraits are the ones I am really most proud of, and in the short time I have been back, I have really been able to use these images to generate quite a bit of interest and awareness about the situation in Liberia and how people can get involved.

(continued below photos)

Annie Leibovitz by John Keatley
Annie Leibovitz

Ben Huh by John Keatley
Ben Huh (I Can Has Cheezburger)

John_Keatley_Liberia
Stephen

John_Keatley_Liberia
Zinc Camp

John_Keatley_Liberia
Zachariah

Some really great things are happening in Liberia with the support of WDO.  If you are interested in becoming involved or supporting the work being done, you can find out more at www.welldoneliberia.org.

Posted on Mar 18, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  1 Comment
  • John Keatley on Help-Portrait | Redux Pictures John Keatley on Help-Portrait | Redux Pictures

    [...] Photographer John Keatley contributed this March to the Help-Portrait blog, writing about his recent work in Liberia. Read the full article here. [...]
    John Keatley on Help-Portrait | Redux Pictures | 21/03/2011 5:04 PM

Our friends at HalogenTV.com interviewed Help-Portrait’s Jeremy Cowart about his participation in TwitChange, a celebrity charity auction that ended this past weekend. With dozens of celebrities participating, Cowart was surprised to find his auctions at the top – raising more than $12,000 to empower women in the Global South through CARE.org’s efforts.

Cowart talks with Halogen about the auctions, what the winners get and his passion for Help-Portrait. You can read it here.

Posted on Mar 15, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  No Comments

Help-Portrait community – Jeremy Cowart needs your help. Jeremy has been asked to speak at the 2011 TEDxNashville in April.  We are excited for him to share about Help-Portrait and the stories from our community.

Help-Portrait and TEDx are a perfect combination.  TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.  Beginning in 1984 as a conference to bring together people from three different worlds: Technology, Entertainment, and Design.

This will be the second annual conference held in Nashville on April 9th. The event is titled “A Sense of Wonder.”  What a better platform for Jeremy to share about H-P! More information on TEDxNashville.

Jeremy needs your help! He would like to compile your favorite quotes, photos, stories, and videos to be able to quickly convey the power of Help-Portrait at TEDxNashville. Please send your quotes, photos, stories and videos by March 31st to: stories@help-portrait.com

Posted on Mar 09, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  1 Comment
  • Carmen Goldberg Carmen Goldberg

    Bring love and bring light to the life of another by taking their photos and watch the world bloom with the beauty of healing from hunger and illness and the beautiful smiles of joy.
    Carmen Goldberg | 10/03/2011 6:33 AM

Jeremy says this A MUST SEE TED Talk for all creatives and photographers! (via @JefnJul)

Posted on Mar 08, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  2 Comments
  • Brian Carey Brian Carey

    This is excellent. Love the work and ideas!
    Brian Carey | 09/03/2011 8:47 PM

  • Lillie Lillie

    Thumbs Up! This is a Wonderful project.
    Lillie | 25/03/2011 9:39 AM

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Check out the amazing story of Ruth Gruber, a photographer who documented the exodus of Holocaust survivors to America. This brave woman simply asked, “Why don’t we do something?” and then acted on it. A documentary about her life, called “Ahead of Time” is airing on Showtime throughout this month (click here for air times).

Posted on Mar 04, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  No Comments

Think Help-Portrait, but with painted portraits instead of digital ones. We loved hearing about what the folks at The Memory Project are doing for kids around the world and wanted to share it with the Help-Portrait Community.

The Memory Project creates keepsakes for children who don’t have so much as a family photo. The Memory Project recruits artists — mostly high school art students — to paint portraits of orphans from around the world. The portraits are then given to the children, in many cases becoming one of their few possessions.

Ben SchumakerBen Schumaker started the Memory Project in 2004 as a social work grad student at the University of Wisconsin. It was featured on Katie Couric’s first CBS Evening News broadcast and quickly became a full time job. Since then more than 25,000 portraits have been painted and delivered to children in more than 30 countries.

What gave you the idea to start this project?

Ben Schumaker: I was volunteering at an orphanage in Guatemala in 2003 when a man there pointed out that the kids didn’t have many personal keepsakes to contribute to their sense of self-identity. I had always enjoyed doing portraits in high school, so I thought it could be pretty powerful to get art students involved in making portraits for the kids. From that starting point, it was just a matter of taking one step at a time. Invite a few high schools to make portraits, invite an orphanage to receive portraits, get a few more high schools, another orphanage, and so on.

Why portraits? Can art change the world in a way some other form of aid can’t?

In this case I feel we are using art to add a personal touch that food and medicine can’t. Most of the kids who receive the portraits actually have most of their “basic needs” covered—they have a roof over the heads and are going to school. So for them the portraits are meant simply to make their childhoods a little more personal, a little more colorful. Something they can hang in their lockers. The portraits are meant to be special gifts in the same category as birthday presents, a day at the beach or other things they may remember fondly when looking back at their childhoods.

What kind of change in the life of a child does this effort make?

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that getting a portrait changes a child’s life in the same way a heart transplant does, but I have met kids who genuinely seem to value their portraits more than any other items they might own. Some orphanages have told me that their kids started to prop the portraits on their pillows after making their beds. Another orphanage told me that whenever new visitors arrived the kids got their portraits out of their lockers and showed them off. So it’s that type of thing—not a heart transplant that keeps a child alive, but just something that’s made life a little bit more fun.

You run My Class Cares together with your wife to support other projects impacting students. Your work seems to pair American students with kids around the world—why the emphasis on one-on-one connections?

I think the one-on-one connection really makes the project more engaging to everyone involved. For the American art students, I think it’s powerful to know that their gifts are going to specific children rather than a group in general. Likewise, for the kids who receive the portraits, I think it’s meaningful to know that a particular portrait was custom made by one person who cared. Even if the portrait didn’t turn out to be a masterpiece, there’s a heartfelt effort behind it to count for something.

What can we do to support the Memory Project?

Anyone who enjoys creating art is welcome to create portraits for the project. It isn’t necessary to be an art student in a school.

For the non-artists among us, the best way to support the project is to call or e-mail art teachers at a local school to let them know about the project. And of course, like every nonprofit, financial donations are always welcome!

Visit the Memory Project’s website for more on creating portraits and supporting this project.

This interview by Kevin D. Hendricks was first published at HalogenTV.com. Used with permission.

Posted on Feb 22, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  1 Comment
  • barb selmer barb selmer

    hello! we are a small group of people opening an orphanage in kenya on feb. 28, 2012. barb brandtner has shared information about you project with me and i am hoping we can work together in the near future. thank you for your caring and generosity. our website is being updated, but please have a look if you are interested: www.lordshouseofhope.org i will be in touch with barb brandtner (notre dame academy, green bay, wi.) also. thank you. barb selmer
    barb selmer | 21/01/2012 9:32 PM

Nashville singer/songwriter Andy Davis (@AndyDavis) is no stranger to the Help-Portrait community.  Davis was one of the songwriters that penned the song inspired by H-P titled “I See You” (get the free download from Noisetrade if you haven’t!). When we saw that Davis is raising support for his next album, we wanted to share this with the community to rally behind him and help raise meals for the homeless at the same time!

Andy Davis is asking for funds to record, produce, market and distribute his new album via Kickstarter.  If you are not familiar with Kickstarter, it is the largest funding platform for creative projects.  Davis is asking for $30,000 to complete a new album by this Spring. So far he has more than 295 backers and needs just over $10,000 to reach his goal. He must reach this goal in less than one week by Thursday, Feb. 24th.

The awesome thing about this project is that Davis is also partnering with his favorite local Nashville eatery, Baja Burrito, to bring meals to the homeless for every backer he receives.  Right now more than 295 meals will be provide from Baja Burrito for the homeless via the Nashville Rescue Mission!

Let’s help Andy Davis reach his goal and bring more meals to the Nashville homeless community.

Posted on Feb 17, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  3 Comments
  • Ron Ron

    This is so awesome! I hope he does it! I can't afford to help right now, but I will pass this along.
    Ron | 17/02/2011 4:22 PM

  • Tweets that mention Andy Davis Raises Money for Album + Homeless Meals | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- Topsy.com Tweets that mention Andy Davis Raises Money for Album + Homeless Meals | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by caranicoledavis, Help-Portrait. Help-Portrait said: Friend of @Help_Portrait @andydavis is raising money for a new project and meals for the homeless. Let's help him! http://ow.ly/3YhBI [...]
    Tweets that mention Andy Davis Raises Money for Album + Homeless Meals | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- Topsy.com | 17/02/2011 5:41 PM

  • Jeremy Knop Jeremy Knop

    The idea of a marriage between music and charity is something that always touches me every time. I did not know previously about Kickstarter. This is very valuable information, thank you. Learning something new is always a plus.
    Jeremy Knop | 17/02/2011 11:33 PM

Like Help-Portrait, many ideas start simply, then strike a chord with audiences online and spread quickly. So it was with yesterday’s Generosity Day.

On Friday, Sasha Dichter (@sashadichter), who is the Director of Business Development at Acumen Fund, a global non-profit venture fund that invests in enterprises that fight poverty in the developing world, posted a blog entry that challenged people to turn Valentine’s Day into an opportunity for greater good.

Inspired by a talk at last week’s Social Media Week New York, the idea was to “reboot” Valentine’s Day as “Generosity Day: one day of sharing love with everyone, of being generous to everyone,” he wrote. “Let’s make the day about love, action and human connection – because we can do better than smarmy greeting cards, overpriced roses, and stressed-out couples trying to create romantic meals on the fly.”

The goal was to spend the day saying “yes” to everything that was asked of you – all day long, leading to big and small acts of generosity. Those who participated were encouraged to share their experiences by tweeting and using the hashtag #generosityday.

More than 3,000 people tweeted and bloggers and national media picked up on the story.

And for good reason. We’re all in favor of ways to encourage giving back – in big and small ways – and look forward to Generosity Day becoming a yearly tradition. Who’s with us?

You can join www.facebook.com/generosityday for updates.

Posted on Feb 15, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  1 Comment
  • Tweets that mention Generosity Day Reboots a Traditional Valentine’s | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- Topsy.com Tweets that mention Generosity Day Reboots a Traditional Valentine’s | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jim Montgomery, Deborah Lee, Leslie McDaniel, Lori Mahon, James Currie and others. James Currie said: RT @help_portrait: We loved this idea: rebooting Valentine's Day as #generosityday http://ow.ly/3Wx4A [...]
    Tweets that mention Generosity Day Reboots a Traditional Valentine’s | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- Topsy.com | 15/02/2011 2:30 PM

We saw this post about giving back with flowers today on Design*Sponge and just had to share it with the Help-Portrait Community. We love it when we see others bringing beauty to the community in creative ways. With a similar approach as H-P, Jaime at The Monkey Flower Group in Napa, Calif., launched a fantastic new project called Flowers to Care that provides simple, low-cost flower arrangements to members of the community who wouldn’t otherwise have them.

Check out Jaime’s site to donate an arrangement (you’ll even get an email with a artful picture of the arrangement for personal use).

Read more at Design*Sponge.

Posted on Feb 08, 2011  |  Category: Inspiration  |  1 Comment
  • Tweets that mention Flower Group Brings Fresh Bouquets to Communities in Need | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- Topsy.com Tweets that mention Flower Group Brings Fresh Bouquets to Communities in Need | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by caranicoledavis, Help-Portrait. Help-Portrait said: It's the floral version of @help_portrait! Check out The Monkey Flower Group http://ow.ly/3SAU2 [...]
    Tweets that mention Flower Group Brings Fresh Bouquets to Communities in Need | Help-Portrait | 03 Dec 2011 -- Topsy.com | 08/02/2011 6:46 PM