“Acts of Photographic Charity” by Fred Bonilla

One of our regular readers, Fred Bonilla, asked if we could post this item. At first we agreed in concept, but weren’t sure how folks that were not in the best of circumstances would react to having a portrait made. When things aren’t great, people may feel they are not looking their best and don’t need a photographic record of that fact.
Then we saw this video:

The nationwide event happens on Dec.12th. Maybe it can be global.

And here is the article by Fred Bonilla:

Earlier this year, I wrote of the charitable efforts of “Do 1 Thing”, a coalition of photographers & other creative artists that volunteered their efforts to highlight the problem of teen homelessness. What stated as a one day nationwide shoot on Valentine’s Day has grown into a traveling exhibit called “Young Faces of Homelessness” and other activities.

I have seen that other charitable efforts have sprung up in heels of Do 1 Thing, all in the name of using photographic skills for the greater good. Help Portrait is a web movement of photographers giving their time and energy to those less fortunate. They are spring heading a nationwide day shooting on December 12th, and hope that will be just the beginning of an ongoing effort to help those in need photographically. I’ve also been made aware of a number of photographers who have volunteered their efforts to shoot head shots for the recently unemployed. Los Angeles based photographer Michael E. Stern found his effort with a Pasadena non-profit called Women at Work to be fulfilling, stating that “My photography business feeds my family, but volunteering feeds my soul,”

The people who turned up came from all walks of life. “A lot of people we’re seeing come through today have never been photographed before, and this is an opportunity for them to have something done that they might not otherwise have done ever”.

I know that this was a difficult year for all, including working photographers, with assignments & budgets drying up & everyone cutting back. When it’s so hard to get opportunities for one to pay for our services, why do so voluntarily?
Dennis Hays, in his excellent article from his blog, Photo News Today spoke of a sense of self-fulfillment as well as civic and personal responsibility.
He says that “Learning and growing in your personal photographic expedition is worthwhile and can provide a sense of accomplishment and well being. Sometimes, however, you find it’s just not enough.
You can use your photographic ability to help others and give back to your community and, by doing so, feed the other part of you; the part yet unfulfilled in your photography. Look around and you see people less fortunate than you, people having a tough time, especially in this holiday season.
Making just one of their days a little better–showing you care–can mean the difference between full-time despair and a moment of peace. Your gift of photography, that which you have studied and practiced, is also a gift to you.”

I’m that many of you have used your photographic skill to the greater good at one time or another. But as we reflect on these unique times of 10% unemployment and hopes of better days on the horizon, perhaps we should look at the many ways our photographic gift can be of help to those in need. With the holiday season’s call of “Peace on Earth & Good Will to Man”, it’s the least we can do.

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