Fred Bonilla has contributed to these pages in the past, and these projects he is involved in, Do1Thing, as well as Help Portrait, has a special meaning around this time of year.
“Acts of Photographic Charity -2010 by Fred Bonilla”
Last year at this time, I wrote an article that showcased the charitable efforts of photographers nationwide to help their fellow man. In this installment, I would like to update you on their efforts, and make you aware of others who have used their art and craft to highlight teen homelessness, unemployment and giving someone a photo of themselves to lift their spirits, heighten their self-esteem & remind them of their worth as children of God.
Started last year by celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart, Help-Portrait is a worldwide movement of photographers using their time, equipment, and expertise to give back to those less fortunate.Using the power of the internet & social media, HP staged their initial event last December 12th to much acclaim & success. This year’s event will be on December 4th, and 585 active groups of people spread across 57 countries and 49 U.S. States have photo shoots planned in community centers, hospitals and other venues reaching those in need. I
personally am supporting my local HP event, which will be taking portraits in the downtown branch of the Bridgeport,CT Public Library (ably headed by photographers Uriela Overend & Erin McDermott).
When asked in an recent interview of his favorite story from his founding effort, Cowart recalled an incident that happened several weeks after the initial Help-Portrait event.” Some H-P staffers were walking to an event downtown Nashville when a homeless man approached them with his wife behind him. He said, â€œTell her sheâ€™s beautiful.â€ They were kind of taken aback. He said it again and added, â€œShe
doesnâ€™t think sheâ€™s beautiful because the glass cracked on her picture.â€ He pulled out a 5â€³x7â€³ frame with the glass broken out. The photo of his wife was from the Help-Portrait event. He said, â€œSee how beautiful she is?â€
This couple had no home, no shelf to even put a picture frame on, and yet they carried this portrait around with them because of how important it was. The photo reminded them of her beauty â€“ a truth no possession on earth could replace”. For more
information, or to help/donate, you can go to their website:
“Do 1 Thingâ€, a coalition of photographers & other creative artists volunteered
their efforts to highlight the problem of teen homelessness that was featured in People Magazine. What started as a one day nationwide shoot on Valentineâ€™s Day 2009 resulted in numerous homeless teens reuniting with their families,
part-time jobs and educational scholarships for others as well as a traveling exhibit called â€œYoung Faces of Homelessnessâ€ that has been shown in PhotoPlus in New York City & currently looking for sponsorship for future showings .Do 1Thing founder Najlah Hicks expanded her efforts in 2010 with “Do 1 Thing for Haiti”, a photographic documentary project bringing together some of the
country’s most celebrated photographers to “put a face” on Haitian children who are now amputees while making a call to action for people to Do1Thing to help.
Do1Thing’s belief is” that by highlighting one cause, while asking people to do
one thing for that cause, great change can occur”.To find out more, go to
Do 1 Thing.
A cursory search on the web shows numerous ways photographers have used their resources and talents to help others, from shooting headshots for the unemployed (Michael E. Stern of L.A..), and young cancer patients (Flashes of Hope) to friends & colleagues of NY Times photojournalist Joao Silva,who was critically injured from stepping on on a landmine in Afghanistan last month, suffering
serious injuries to both his legs, plus other injuries. A fund and web site, Support Joao Silva Photojournalist, have been set up by 2 friends of Mr. Silva to help him and his family as he goes through rehabilitation.Outright donations
and the sale of prints by Mr. Silva are offered to raise funds.Mr. Silva is currently at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The Times has told the Pentagon that it will be responsible for his treatment and care, and is also assisting his family in other ways. Should the fund collect more money than is needed, what is left will be donated to a charity chosen by Mr. Silva.
Reflecting at 2010 and seeing glimmers of hope for the future, there is still much suffering and pain around us. We as photographers capture our surroundings impartially, seeing it as part of our job.Yet an unnamed author reflected that in our work, “The goal is not to change your subjects, but for the subject to change the photographer”
Those above named individuals and many others have allowed their subjects to change them, answer a call to action & help them however they can and in turn become better themselves. I challenge those in the Photoinduced community to heed the call in whichever way they can to spread love and good will to their fellow man through their photographic talents.
A very happy holiday season to all and thanks.
And thank you Fred for sharing this with us.
In our own local area in Santa Monica, last Thursday the Civic Center opened their doors to the community with free clothes, turkey dinner, haircuts, eye care, medical care, blankets, good cheer, and thanks to the hard coordinating efforts of Wendy Carter, the attendees were able to leave with a photo portrait. There were 3 studio set-ups, and families, couples, and singles came all day long to get a remembrance of the day.
It was a brand new offering this year, and was a big hit with the crowd. They could get a fresh haircut and a photo. Nice.
We echo the sentiments of Fred, and his call to action for all of the photographers out there to help however you can.
Your time will be appreciated.