Friday, October 16, 2009

Thoughts on Help Portrait

There is an international photographic event, Help Portrait, that will take place on December 12th that I am excited about but can’t seem to drum up much interest from others.

On the 12th, photographers around the world will photograph free of charge people that do not usually have access to professional portrait services. Unfortunately, three weeks into the program and Houston only has thirty plus photographers signed up. That is a pretty paltry showing.

The Houston group appears to be very active but most of those are proposing working at either Depelchian Childrens Home or Texas Childrens Hospital. Both have been pretty well locked in as two locations where portraits will be done and both are worthwhile endeavors but I am not sure that they truly sync with the core principles of Help Portrait. A couple hundred or more of the thousands of photographers in Houston and every community or senior center could be included. A real impact could be made.

Personally, I would much rather shoot in Acres Homes, Denver Harbor, Ship Channel or one of the other low income areas. I am sure there is close to a million people in the Houston Metropolitan area that would benefit from Help Portrait, elderly, health challenged, single parent families, military spouses. Maybe not as much fun as shooting cute children but more in keeping with helping the disadvantage premise of the project.

I am trying to figure out how to do my thing on my own, but the logistics of tending to Janet, transporting the equipment and doing the record keeping and photography is daunting. The biggest problem would be getting chairs, stools, posing benches to the location—and of course finding a location.

In most cases the portraits could be done outdoors but that is not something that can be counted on. December could be cold, it could rain or it could be an absolutely perfect day. Never the less you have to plan on that not being the only possibility.

I have been looking at renting a van but you are looking at over a hundred dollars if you can not return it on Sunday so I’m not sure that is practical. I will drive over tomorrow and scout out the Acres Homes Library as there doesn’t seem to be a community or senior citizens center in the area. There is a health center that might be a possibility and even a possibility that they would have some somewhat suitable furniture.

The building where the NWHPC meets would be ideal if it is available but it doesn’t seem to be in a high concentration area. Probably could grab a number of young people because of the sports complex of Doss Park.

I have considered talking to Christopher and Katie but he has just taken a new job and will most likely be working on Saturdays. I have made a proposal to the Discussions Blog but didn’t get any responses. I have even posted to the NWHPC and at least got one that says she is going to sign up. I would give anything if I could just get three or four to commit that would be interested in doing what I had rather do. We could swap jobs around so everyone could contribute.

If I have to do it on my own maybe I could work through some of the area churches to find the sitters and then do it as environmental photography in the peoples homes. I really like that idea but logistics is still monumental. I could only do eight maybe ten setting if I have to do that by myself. A set up in a community center I could run them through a standard set up and possibility do twenty to twenty four individuals or groups. I have just got to get off my butt and do some leg work.

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