This December 6th, photographers around the world will gather for the sixth annual Help-Portrait event. In 2009, 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.
Local writer and photographer Shelley M. Shockley has brought the movement to Cleveland for the last three years, and once again is partnering with the Greater Cleveland Salvation Army’s Zelma George Family Emergency Shelter to provide portraits to some of Cleveland’s transitional families.
“Help-Portrait is a picture perfect opportunity to offer families living in our shelter a beautiful memento that will last a lifetime. Hopefully it will make them feel special and take their minds off of their worries even if it’s just for a little while. We feel blessed to have been asked to participate.” said Major Lurlene-Kay M. Johnson, Divisional Secretary of The Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland.
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.”
This Saturday, Shockley and a team of volunteers will gather at Cleveland’s Harbor Light facility, 1710 Prospect Ave. and set up “mini-studios” to bring the Help-Portrait movement to Cleveland. The team of volunteers includes local photographers, graphic designers and other volunteers.
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. Even Hollywood has gotten in the act as A-list actors Zachary Levi and Yvette Nicole Brown volunteered at a Help-Portrait event in Los Angeles.
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.