Paul Wheatley, Santa Paula, CA, USA:

In December I joined my friends, Dana, Steve, Valea & Hunter in doing our first Help-Portrait event at a retirement home in Santa Paula, CA. If you’re not familiar with Help-Portrait, please check out their website HERE. We gathered photographers, make-up/hair stylists, printers and helpers to capture, style and hand-deliver beautiful photographs to people who don’t have this kind of opportunity. It’s just a small way for artists to pass on something nice to others.

This experience was truly amazing though and left me feeling very touched. I felt like I took a little piece of everyone home with me. Their stories were incredible and everyone was so open and kind. I learned so much about everyone.  I felt like I made tons of new friends. Hundreds of photos taken and over 50 8″X10″ prints, hand -selected, retouched and delivered to everyone.

One of my favorite memories was of a woman I photographed named Loris. Loris lives in the retirement home but is truly one of the most energetic people I’ve ever met. We were having a great conversation during our shoot when she mentioned she had recently started taking up the drums. I was shocked. When her session ended she jumped up, headed to her room and returned with her electronic drum set in hand! She gave me my very own private concert right there on the set–it was AWESOME!! Loris was one of MANY that day that truly rocked my socks off.

So, cheers to everyone who helped make this day so special and I can’t wait for more of these events in 2013!

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