Help-Portrait 4

I do a lot of charity events throughout the year.  It's a way for me to use what I do to make something special for others who can't afford it.  This past Saturday, I was involved in one of the most gratifying charity events of my year.  The was my fourth year participating in Help-Portrait.  I've been a part of it since it first began. And it's one of those things that I will be involved in for many more years.

Help-Portrait is a movement of photographers who are using their time, equipment and expertise to give back to those who are less fortunate. Help-Portrait is a community of photographers coming together across the world to use their photography skills to give back to their local community.  On this one day in December, photographers around the world grab their cameras, find people in need and take their picture. When the prints are ready, the photographs get delivered.  This is about GIVING the pictures, not taking them. These portraits are not for a portfolio, website, or for sale. Money isn’t involved here. As a photographer, I have the chance to give a family something they may have never had before—a portrait together.  It has nothing to do with me; it's all about them.

Sounds pretty simple doesn't it?  It is.  Some people question whether or not it's even relevant to give a family that's down on their luck something like a portrait.  To that I say, you've never been there.  You've never seen the joy on a young mom's face when she sees a photo of her and her babies that she can keep.  That she can send to grandma.  Or the face of a young man who never even got the grade school photos, who now has a portrait that shows off his winning smile and that he's going to give to mom for Christmas.  Or the older woman who's just had her hair and makeup done for the first time in a long time, who exclaims, "I look like a princess."  I have.  I know what this means for someone's self esteem.  It makes them feel like they are special and that someone cares.  It means a lot. 

Our group in the Jacksonville area expanded to 4 locations this year.  And we will be delivering over 100 portraits to the folks that we had the privilege to photograph.  Not a bad day.  While I won't post any of those portraits that I made, here's one of the group we had at our site....

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Here's one of my right hand man at Help-Portrait, Mistah Lee.....also known as Bad Santa

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And one of Cindy (who is always my partner in crime) and me.

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Yeah, we're already looking forward to next year.