Mike Cowart knew the power of photography.


In what he describes as the darkest season of his life in 2004 following an accident, job loss and enduring a divorce, Mike was given a gift. The gift of photography.

Photography gave Mike hope.

Just two days before Mike passed away tragically from a heart attack at age 43 earlier this month, he wrote this status update on Facebook as he announced the launch of his new website, MyrickStudios.com:

“Something inside of me came alive, gave me hope, told me to hang on. I fell in love with capturing people’s stories, their souls, emotions and beautiful moments. God is so good. Don’t give up on your dreams.”

Help-Portrait in Action

So it was little wonder when Mike jumped at the chance to give the gift of hope through Help-Portrait.com, founded by his younger brother Jeremy five years ago.

Mike served alongside Jeremy and others in the Nashville Help-Portrait group for several years, including last December, when Mike was joined by both his brothers, Jeremy and Benji, to sing together after a day of shooting portraits for individuals and families in need in the Nashville area.

Perhaps the most amazing thing to see happen in the days following his death in March has been seeing Help-Portrait in action: 40 photographers have stepped in and have volunteered to shoot the remainder of Mike’s weddings this year, and are donating the proceeds to his family. There’s no better gift a community and a movement can give than reciprocating the love and grace one of its own has faithfully given.

If you’d like to give in Mike’s memory, you may do so by:

Purchasing His Worship EP

Mike was a worship leader at his home church in Hendersonville and had a worship EP, which is being offering as a $5 download to benefit Mike’s beautiful children, Noah, 15, and Reese, 11.

Donate Directly to a Fund Set up for His Children

There’s an additional donation fund set up for them as well.

Give a Gift in His Name to Help-Portrait

In lieu of flowers, Mike’s family has asked for contributions to be made to Help-Portrait. So even in his death, Mike is still giving and serving through the gift that gave him hope, so that others may experience it as well.

If you’d like to read more about Mike’s story, visit his website, and this article published in The Tennessean.