Just in time for the holidays, Help-Portrait Vancouver lined up photographers, hair and make-up professionals, photo editing experts, and all the other volunteers and equipment needed to make people look their best for the cameras. They converged on the Union Gospel Mission in the city’s Downtown Eastside to take portraits of people whose lives don’t allow them the luxury of professionally made photographs.
Help-Portrait Vancouver is part of a global movement started by photographer Jeremy Cowart. As of December 2012, nearly 24,000 volunteers and 16,500 photographers from 60 countries and 1,720 locations have presented people with over 200,000 portraits.
The stories and photographs on Help-Portrait Vancouver’s Facebook page are moving. There you’ll find Grace, who has come for her portrait for three years in a row. You’ll meet Ms. Cheng, who has not seen her family in China for years but now has photographs to send.
Scroll down to 2010, and you’ll find the Vimeo video (embedded below) showing some of the participants preparing for their portraits or taking a look at them on the computer or in print. You’ll see smiles of gratitude and tears of joy. If you’re like me, you’ll be watching the video through a film of tears.
Such a small thing, being able to see ourselves at our best, caught permanently through the camera’s eye. Yet it is huge boost to the spirit.
Help-Portrait Vancouver, you rock!