On December 4, Omaha will participate in Help-Portrait, an international, non-profit event that allows area photographers, hair stylists, make-up artists and volunteers to give their time and talent by providing a first-class photography experience to individuals in rescue missions, neighborhood clinics and hospitals.
The idea behind Help-Portrait is simple: 1. Find someone in need 2. Take their portrait 3. Print their portrait and 4. Deliver their portrait. Individuals participating in Help-Portrait will be treated to a professional hair stylist, make-up artist and experience a professional photography session. About a week after the event, participants will receive two 8x10s, two 5x7s and a frame free of charge. Costs of the event are underwritten by donations and sponsors.
Venues currently being organized include:
– Pediatric patients at the Nebraska Medical Center
– Hand in Hand Program through Children’s Hospital
– InCommon CD Community Meal
– Open Door Mission
“Help Portrait is a way to make everyone feel beautiful and special,” said Christine Pagan, Omaha Help-Portrait lead organizer. “During the holiday season, the Omaha creative community has the opportunity to celebrate skills that inspire and build self-esteem in others.”
Amy Jacobberger, a Help-Portrait volunteer said, “One of the reasons I have volunteered is the unique, unconventional platform of the event. I can always give a monetary donation to an organization, but donating my time is a personal way to help motivate someone, give someone renewed hope and possibly a positive view of themselves.”
In 2009, Help-Portrait Omaha surpassed their goals and reached out to more than 130 families in need. This year, it is anticipated that the number of those photographed will more than double.
“Poverty steals a lot of things, like your home, car and food, but it also steals something on the inside. Help-Portrait feeds that something on the inside,” states Help-Portrait Event Coordinator Annie Downs.
This unique movement has nabbed the attention of local, national and international media. Those photographed all had a story – all unique and heartbreaking in its own way.
For more information and to get involved in giving back and changing lives, visit http://www.omahahelpportrait.com.
Help-Portrait, a non-profit organization, was formed in 2009 by a Nashville celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart. Cowart uses his skills and expertise to give back to those who may not have the opportunity for a professional photo. The idea is that a photographer has the unique ability to help someone smile, laugh and return their dignity.
Last December more than 41,000 portraits were given by 3,400 photographers and more than 5,000 volunteers were involved. In just one year, Help-Portrait became a global movement in 543 locations in 42 countries.
Inspiring quotes from those impacted by Help-Portrait
“The portrait,” he said, “Represented where I’m going, not where I’ve been.”
– Phillip Jackovich, Help-Portrait subject, OC Register story
“One of the ladies at Help-Portrait today cried the entire time I took her photo. I said ‘Are those happy tears?’ She said, ‘Yes, very happy!’”
– Millie Holloman – Help-Portrait Photographer, Wilmington, New York
“Giving a photo to a stranger gives you a unique opportunity to speak a kind word of encouragement, value, beauty and truth that isn’t quite as tangible without that photo to give your words context. It’s hard to argue with art when you give it positive meaning. It was profound how encouragement, value, self-esteem and worth were given through actions, words and the foundation? A photograph.”
– Joel Mills – Help-Portrait volunteer, photo editor Charlottesville, Virginia
“Today was the one of the best days I have had as a photographer and as a human being.”
– Kwame Reed – Photographer, Brentwood, California
• For more information, contact Christine Pagan, Omaha Help-Portrait lead organizer: firstname.lastname@example.org.