Dec 19, 2009

To give, not to take…


Perhaps you never heard before about Help-Portrait, a movement started by US photographer Jeremy Cowart. Around the weekend of December 12, more than 8300 photographers and volunteers assembled at 715 locations in 42 countries. Their mission: to take, print and hand out portraits to people in need, for free. All together more than 40,000 individuals portraits were delivered.

_DSC6414wI had the privilege to be part of the one and only Belgian team participating. 7 photographers and a few more helping hands set up shop at ‘De Lange Gaank’, a community walk-in center in Turnhout, on Friday, December 11. We organized no less than 4 shooting areas – 2 with studio flashes, 2 more strobist-style – as well as a fully loaded post-processing and printing center.

Help-Portrait 2009 With the first candidates already queuing up, we concluded our practical arrangements, distributed radio flash triggers and got started on what was to become a memorable (and hectic) day.

Help-Portrait 2009It’s impossible to describe how it felt seeing our models-for-a-day quickly warming up to the occasion and finding them engaging with full enthusiasm. Not to forget our final reward: all the smiles and twinkling eyes as people received their printed pictures!
We must have shot between 80 and 100 portraits that day, more than enough to keep the editing computers busy, photographers patiently awaiting their turn. And then there were the pictures of the center’s staff and volunteers, who of course also had to get into the spotlight! Even the crew from the regional TV station left with a personal souvenir of their passage.

Help-Portrait 2009We are still finalizing a short video with an account of the day and a selection of the pictures we took. I will keep you posted!

Gear notes: D300, 10.5/2.8 - D700, 50/1.8, 24-70/2.8

Click on the image(s) to see a larger version

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