Help-Portrait was a community of photographers and volunteers who came together in Wheeling, WV on February 10, 2013 to use their skills to give back to people in need in their local community. This inspiring event was a chance to give a person or family something they may have never had before—a professional portrait. Help Portrait was generously held at the Greater Wheeling Coalition for the Homeless and functioned through the selfless help of volunteers.
During this Help Portrait event I spent time wandering around, documenting the different happenings of the event. I visited photographer Rebecca Kiger who was downstairs shooting the portraits. I spent time out front with friend, artist and art-educator Jessica Starr-Leach as she guided art-themed making exercises for children waiting for their parents who were having portraits taken. My favorite room to document was easily the room where folks had their hair and makeup done in preparation for the portraits. Maybe it was all the hairspray in the air, but I could not stop smiling as I watched the participants get pampered and prepped before having their portraits taken.
There were two parts of this event that struck major chords for me. One was seeing the anxious joy in participants faces—some of whom had not had a professional photo taken in thirty years, while some had never had that experience at all—ever! The other overall moment that was so special to me was to spend this time with friends and colleagues who had selflessly given their time to make this event happen. It was such joy to spend this day sharing all of this together and giving in such a big, beautiful way.
I hope my documentation work from this event inspires others to give in a non-traditional, unexpected way.
I would like to help organize a Help Portrait event in or near Golden, Colorado. Please reach out to me if you are local and would also like to be involved!