Help-Portrait 2011

This is my third year being a part of Help Portrait. It was a day of GIVING Portraits, not TAKING them. This year, I decided to organize my own group. I chose Ability Beyond Disability as the Organization.

It was more amazing that I could have imagined. Everyone arrived on time. Four of us were photographers from the original Help Portrait, 3 years ago, so it was great to have them all on board again. We set up four Stations to shoot.. Because we were shooting consumers with disabilities, we knew we’d be faced with constraits of wheelchairs etc but in the end it all worked out.

We were very lucky to have had our backdrops loaned to us by Westcott.. They made such a difference to our portraits and I am very thankful for their generousity.  We were also given Memory Cards by Adorama and it worked out really well to be able to have those for continued flow of shooting, editing and printing. So thank you to @HelenOster for making it happen and for following my work.

We offered the Consumers a slight makeover before their portrait session.. I was amazed at how many actually participated in this. Initially, we weren’t sure they’d want to be touched but it was all part of the experienced and it make them feel special and extra beautiful for the day.

I was lucky enough to have met TJ Romeland at last year’s event. Something about him just touched my heart. He’s this amazing Makeup Artist and he’s willing to give of his time and talent. I reached out to him and asked if he would participate this year again with me. I was soo excited when he said yes.

Kodak donated ALL the printing on site for us. IT WAS THE BEST!!!

We were able to get a Group Shot ahead of time, so I could include it in the portrait packet that each consumer took with them at the end of their sessions. Jim and his wife were amazing and just so wonderful. I am very thankful for Kodak’s generosity.

I didn’t get a chance to shoot much, infact, I shot maybe 5 frames but it’s okay because I was not in photographer mode on Saturday. I was the Organizer, I had a lot to oversee.. I did jump into alot of portrait shots with the consumers, those who touched my heart, John, Mary, Sarah, Ryan and I’ll treasure them forever.  I watched as John put his walker aside because he didn’t want it in his photos. Watched him inhale as it took every breathe to muster strength to hold his body upright. Mary couldn’t barely speak, wheel chair bound and yet she was in this beautiful blue sequined top, smiling as best she could and so happy to be photographed. I wished someone followed me with a camera because Sarah couldn’t stop hugging me. She was just so thankful for this day, that I couldn’t help but hold back tears as we hugged. I did get a photo with her. Then there’s Ryan, pictured below, he couldn’t verbalise himself but when I showed him his photo, his face just lit up like you couldn’t believe. I just had to take this photo.

I’m tearing as I’m writing this because you see, life to me is about giving.. It takes nothing from me to make ONE PERSON SMILE!! So why wouldn’t I do that, everyday.. Not just one day…

This is what photography means to me and Help Portrait has given me that platform.

I hope you all are thankful for your abilities, your health and your life.. There are so many people out there with disablities who just want to know that there is someone to listen, to make them feel special for just a moment. I believe we captured that on Saturday.

HUGS to all