Help Portrait 2011

I heard about Help Portrait sometime last fall.  Immediately, I fell in love with the idea: professional photographers spending a day taking portraits of people who otherwise could not afford it and giving them those prints for free.  After some research, I discovered a Help Portrait event in Roanoke and brought a couple friends last year.  It was a grand time of taking portraits, meeting people, and seeing joy come through simple things.

I went again this year, with my friends Karli and Micah.  Several photographers from last year - Sam, Josh, and TJ - were back, and it was great to see them again.

I have very little to show for the day, as I spent much of my time taking portraits of the various people who came through.  These photos were taken, printed, and given away.  The original files were deleted, never to be used for personal gain.  I do, however, have the photograph above, taken of Micah as we were goofing around during a lull in the action.

While there, I had several conversations with some of the people who came to get their portraits taken.  Many of them, such as Mike and Sarah, had come to the Roanoke Rescue Mission for help.  They had been struggling with addictions to alcohol or drugs.  Some had hit financial difficulty.  It was wonderful to see them smile and have portraits of their own as a testimony to how they, by God's grace, had overcome addictions and were working through difficulty.  Many got their portraits taken to give to a faraway mother or other family member.

Help Portrait founder Jeremy Cowart posts some stories from Help Portrait on his Google Plus page.  All over the world, this event has brought joy, hope, and healing to many people.

Take someone's portrait, print it out, and give it to them.

Such a simple, yet powerful idea.