help-portrait

Looking back through the family photos makes me cringe a bit. I see that habit I had when I was younger of sticking my tongue out just a bit when I smiled. I see the horrible gold lamé dress my mother had me wear for Christmas pictures one year. I see the horrible fashion choices I made on my own. (And crimped hair? What was I thinking?) But when I am able to look past all of that ego-centric stuff, I am able to see something quite fabulous. My family. I can see... and I can remember.

And I often wonder... what if I didn't have those photos to rely on? Would my memories of them be a bit different? Or maybe a bit more vague if I didn't have something to SEE in order to spark the recollection?

Some people don't have the pleasure of having a single family portrait, or any pictures at all. There are plenty of people who lost past photos due to fire or other natural disasters. There are those who have fled bad situations, leaving everything behind.  There are single parents and underprivileged families who simply can't afford photos. And plenty of other people and other circumstances, as well.

Which brings me to this:

HELP-PORTRAIT.

Help-Portrait is a community of photographers coming together across the world to use their photography skills to give back to their local community. In December, photographers around the world will be grabbing their cameras, finding people in need and taking their picture. When the prints are ready, the photographs get delivered. Just like that.

In 2010, I had the pleasure of volunteering at a Help Portrait event at the Orange County Rescue Mission. Each family was escorted to a room where services were being provided by local hair & makeup artists who had donated their time, tools and expertise. Then the families were led to one of eleven photo stations that had been set up, where each family received a quick family portrait session. A few days after the photographs were taken, each family received a family portrait in the form of one 5x7 and two 4x6 prints.

My favorite moments were working with the families, themselves. Seeing the apprehension and tentativeness turn to joy. And lots of smiles. Hearing the laughter and knowing that, no matter what else is in their lives, in this one moment they are truly happy. And THIS will be remembered when they look at their photo.

It was amazing to see how many people came together to make this all happen... not just photographers, but many other people who believed in this cause, as well. Each person donated whatever time and tools they could, and we were even able to gain some business sponsorships, as well... not just covering some of the photo printing cost, but also lending lighting equipment, backdrops and other necessary items for the day. This event could not have taken place with all of their financial support.

I'm gearing up to do it all again this year, as Help Portrait will be held on December 8, 2012 .

And I'm asking YOU to join me in being a part of it.

Here's how:

Today through September 26, Help Portrait is running a Groupon deal where you can donate $10 to the cause. Each $10 donation covers the cost of 3 prints and a frame for one family.

And even better, Wacom (this year's corporate sponsor) has agreed to MATCH all donations (up to $4,000). So your $10 donation is actually $20!

So your donation would provide new family pictures for TWO families.

Click this link to donate now: http://www.groupon.com/deals/dc-lgt-grs-help-portrait

And THANK YOU for your generosity.

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photo used is from Help-Portrait site.