Help-Portrait was founded by celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart and Kyle Chowning in 2008. Each December, photographers, hairstylists and makeup artists around the world find people in need and take, print and deliver portraits — free of charge.
FHU’s part in this project was to serve as a location of Help Portrait. The students drove a little less than a mile to Southern Oaks Assisted Living Center to take photographs of the residents Wednesday, Dec. 7. They photographed about 15 residents and had a wonderful visit with them. The project continued Dec. 9-11 in the campus studio. More than 30 families were photographed during that time. Once the photos were completed, prints and frames were purchased and delivered Dec. 22, by the faculty member responsible for the project.
Fifteen students, including one prospective photography student, gave their time and talent to photograph those in attendance.They were to assist in delivering photographs, but most had gone home for Christmas break by the time the prints arrived.
Students were, most importantly, to learn three things:
1. How to engage and photograph a photography client.
2. How to appreciate those who may not have as much as others.
3. How to converse/engage/appreciate the elderly.
Faculty: How did you see your students grow or change?
I saw our students walk into an assisted living center and move from an awkward gathering to a loving moment with some wonderful people who were so thankful to see young people. Students began to understand the power of photography and to appreciate that magical moment when a person stands in front of a camera and automatically smiles. That smile translated into affection and something that transcends the camera. This continued as family after family came to our studio to have their photo taken.
As I delivered the photos, I gained an appreciation for my own blessings. Trailers and apartments housing large families were many times run down and dilapidated. When I knocked on some doors, I was greeted with harsh words until they recognized me and saw their photos. They were ALL so thankful and appreciative.
Student: How did participating in the project benefit you?
Prospective student Ellis Osborne: “One family stood in front of my camera and posed for a picture. Soon after, the wife said, ‘I have never had a family photograph or a personal photograph taken. This is really wonderful.’”