Help Portrait - NYC

For me, photography is about many things.  One of which is the ability and privilege to capturing a single point in time.  It may not always be the best time but it’s a point at which you can later look back and know that it’s what was happening in your life on that day – at that moment.  Help Portrait came out of a small effort for a group of photographers out of Nashville (I think that’s correct) looking to help people in need receive a gift of a portrait (everything from hair, make-up, photography, post-processing, and the print).  Sounds simple but consider how it might feel to have all the focus on making you feel special and taking your picture to remember that point in time if that’s never been done in your life.  It has a different impact.

This was the second annual Help Portrait event that happened on Dec 4th.  It’s a global effort where local communities are established and local photographers affiliate with organizations to use photography to give back to the community.  I participated in one of six groups in NYC.  The group was the Bowery Mission to help people that are transitioning back into society.  There were about 15 of us that volunteered in for this event, there was more of a need for someone to help with processing the images vs. shooting them.  I was overwhelmed – in a good way.  The men (some women but mostly men) would enter the room, get some wardrobe assistance then move over to the photographer’s station, pictures taken then the memory card was handed to me (there were two of us doing post processing), I would bring the images in, label them with the person’s name, bring them over to have them pick their favorite, clean that image up then get it over to the next person to print it.  BAM!  And repeat, and repeat.
I was there from about 9am to 1pm and had a hard time keeping up but loved the great energy in the room the whole time.  The people receiving the pictures were very appreciative.  I would hear them say, “Hey, there I am” as I scrolled through the images looking for the next one to sit down with and choose the one we would print.  Such a nice time and great way to give of my time.  I look forward to digging in again next year.  I put together a quick sheet that shows some of the images that were selected from the ones I processed.  There were many more that came out of the location I was at.  Check out the page on-line for more about Help Portrait.  For some behind the scenes images from around the world, visit the Flickr group on-line.