Local photographers and volunteers offer a flash of hope to Cleveland families in transition
Tomorrow, photographers around the world will gather for the eighth annual Help-Portrait event. In 2008, Help-Portrait began as an idea that transformed into a movement in just three months. 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.
Since the launch, more than 70,000 volunteers have given more than 350,000 portraits. Help-Portrait is a global movement in more than 2500 locations in 67 countries. The annual Help-Portrait event takes place on the second Saturday of December each year in addition to special events as the need arises.
For the fourth year, local writer and photographer Shelley M. Shockley will bring the movement to Cleveland as she and a team of volunteers join forces with the Salvation Army’s Zelma George Family Emergency Shelter to provide portraits to some of Cleveland’s transitional families.
The enthusiasm from site participants is exactly what Shockley was hoping for when she began organizing this effort, “When I learned of this movement and saw some of the photos from other parts of the world I wanted to bring that same sense of joy to the Cleveland community.”
The effort is also appreciated by the Salvation Army. “It is truly amazing! The impact of such a practical program that Shelley and the volunteers do each year for the participants in our Family Shelter. We are thrilled and thankful that they are coming back to Zelma George,” said Beau Hill, Executive Director, The Salvation Army Harbor Light Complex.
From 1-5 p.m., Shockley and a team of volunteers including barbers, hairstylists, makeup artists, photographers and other volunteers will gather at the shelter and set up “mini-studios” to bring the Help-Portrait movement to Cleveland at the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Complex, 1710 Prospect Ave.
To learn more about the Help-Portrait movement visit http://community.help-portrait.com.
Celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart formed Help-Portrait, a non-profit organization, in 2009 as he contemplated using 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. It is a movement, a shift in photography.
From Bangalore, India to Ghana, Africa, the language of Help-Portrait crosses cultural and socioeconomic barriers.
About The Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 130 years in the United States. For more information, go to http://www.salvationarmycleveland.org.