helpp1On Saturday morning, Brad, Matt, RC and I were very fortunate to be a part of the amazing Help-Portrait movement put together by  photographer Jeremy Cowart, and it truly is something special. I didn’t realize how special Help-Portrait was until I actually participated this weekend.

We were part of a group of photographers and retouchers that did portraits at Operation PAR, a women’s drug abuse treatment center. There are about 70 women and their children that live in a ‘village’ operated by the center, and we had 17 photographers and assistants shooting, but just Matt, Brad and I doing all the editing, retouching, and output.

We decided to do the printing as well, so we could deliver a finished 8×10 and a sheet with a 4×6″ print and four wallet-sized prints, right there on the spot. The day really had it’s ups and downs, as your heart just so went out to these women (many with young children, and a number that were pregnant), but then when you saw their reaction to the finished images, it just lifted you right back up.

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That’s Matt and I retouching (above) as photo assistant Pam Hazelwood waits for us to finish up a retouch or two late in the day.( iPhone Photo by Brad Moore).

The moment that it really hit for me how special Help-Portrait is, was when a mother tearfully told me that this was the first photo even taken of her two-year-old son. There were a lot of tears on both sides of the lens, but luckily there were some real tears of joy, too as they got their photos, and beautiful photos of their children.

Of course, we were just one small link in a very big chain that reached around the world as photographers and retouchers were doing the same thing all over the US, and all over the world, touching the lives of so many people who otherwise couldn’t afford to have a professional portrait made. Please take a moment to share in this day, and visit the Help-Portrait Website, right now, and then next year join in yourself and become part of something very special. I promise you, it’ll be one of the most enriching and important things you do all year.

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P.S. A big thanks to my assistant, photographer Brad Moore for all he did so we could be a part of this very special movement, and to Jeremy Cowart for having the idea, and taking the initiative to make a real difference in the world.