Monday, December 17, 2012


Some of you may already know that I have participated in a project called Help Portrait.

For those of you who didn't know that, let me explain.

The group shot, above, is of me and three people I attend church with. Kevin and Jackie (red scarf) are friends of mine who have been attending the Photo Club I started at church, and Chelsea is interested in joining our merry little band of misfits.

Anyway, four years ago a world wide program was started, Help Portrait, encouraging photographers of all calibers to gather together in localized areas, finding people who were in need and providing portraits to no cost.

When I first attended, I had my camera, one flash (with stand and umbrella) and a reflector, and the people I served loved the images they received.

The second year, I buddied up with another amateur photographer and we shared a couple of lights and a backdrop.
Again, the people loved the images they received.

The third year, Kevin and Jackie came along. Kevin and I shared a space. We provided wonderful photos to wonderful people, who may have never had, or ever would have had, an opportunity to have their portrait done.

The people loved the images.

This year, we were part of a large group of photographers that set up shop at the Helping Up Mission, in Baltimore, Maryland. It was an amazing opportunity that provided us with the chance to meet and engage with some truly great people. The Mission is for those who are struggling with drug and alcohol addictions.
All of the guys we engaged with had their own stories and experiences. However, through all of the adversity and struggles, there was still a strong display and attitude of hope, purpose, forgiveness and joy.

Although this particular gentleman appeared hardened, it didn't take long to uncover a light within him that brightened the room.

Many of the men that we photographed, at our station, had individual shots. However, for those who had family visiting at that time, we included them as well. Especially since they are a huge part of the men's support system.

The father (yellow shirt), who is in the program,
posed with his son.
It was encouraging to see the interaction between the guys and their respective family members; to see the warmth, care and affection they had for each other.

A gentleman and his girlfriend; friends from their youth.
It was spiritual, being able to converse with them, to encourage them, and to help them see that they are beautiful inside and outside. So many of the people we photographed would say they weren't photogenic, but when we would show them the images on the cameras, the computers, and as an 8x10 print, their eyes would get wide with excitement.

Denzel Washington and his wife.
Seriously though, doesn't this guy look like Denzel?
I had the best time teasing her about having a guy that
looked like Denzel, and then about how it took a
guy that looked like Denzel to land a beautiful
woman such as her.
The smiles and chuckles were like those of children.

We gave them their prints and I love the lives that gave life to the images.

***All of the photos were from Help Portrait 2012, at Helping Up Mission***

A special thanks to the Helping Up Mission for giving us a tour of the facility and being the most gracious and courteous hosts to all of us.

Thank you to all of the photogs and other volunteers that made up this year's Help Portrait team.

Thank you to my own little group that made our station run smooth, including a new friend, Jeff Stanford.




Thanks to God for blessing me with the tools and the talents to minister to those who are struggling on their own journeys.

God's peace and blessings be upon you!

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