As I was planning out my Friday Features for the end of the year, I realized that my last Fotographer Crush Friday of 2015 would land on Christmas day. I knew that because of that, I really wanted to do something different, something a little more special. I wanted to do something that highlighted the true meaning of Christmas – Christlike love and service. I started searching the internet for Ways Photographers Can Give Back. I found a lot of organizations that provide opportunities for photographers to use their talents to serve people. There are tons of awesome groups out there, but I really clung to two of them on a personal level. Photography has done two things for me in my life: One, by putting a camera in my hands and teaching me how to use a camera, I have gained confidence, purpose, drive, and passion. And secondly, by giving me a tangible way of preserving my family, my memories, and our lives through printed images – something I cherish and treasure more and more as my children get older.
These two groups provide ways of allowing others to experience the same blessings that photography has given to me!
100Cameras: I can’t express to you how true this organization rings with me! I can’t wait to find more ways to work with 100Cameras in the coming year. This group puts cameras into the hands of children all over the world, teaches them how to use it, and then unleashes them to capture the world as they see it. They then provide prints of the images the children capture and sell them, returning all profits from the prints to further help provide for these children! Here is a snippet from their website:
100cameras then gives kids the tools to express themselves through photography, interact with their environment, and become agents of change. Our custom photojournalism curriculum teaches personal development along with basic photojournalism skills, and their photo stories are turned into sellable products that directly fund their own medical, educational, and lifeline supplies. Our model seeks to seamlessly integrate artistic education and community development, teaching students that they do have the skills and power to transform the world around them. The results thus far are stunning, and our students are proud to directly serve their communities by sharing their perspectives.
This model reflects my belief that everyone has a story and everyone deserves the opportunity to find their voice and share their story with the world! I also loved that they held a project local to me, right in Baltimore! All of the photos are fun to look through, to see the world through these kids’ eyes, but my favorite set of prints is from Cuba.
Help Portrait: I was so bummed that I learned about Help Portrait just a few days too late to participate in their cause this year, but I am definitely looking forward to being a part next year! One Saturday in every December Help Portrait hosts a day-long one-stop-shop for a family portrait. People from the community who cannot afford or do no have access to having their picture taken can come in, with their families or by themselves, have their hair and make up done, have their photo taken, and receive a print of their photo. I absolutely love that Help Portrait includes not only the skills of photographers but hair and make-up artists as well. Not only does it provide opportunities for even more people to use their talents in the service of other people, but it also allows hair and make-up artists to witness that what they do makes a difference in the lives of other people, too. It empowers those that come in to see that they are worth being treated like this. They deserve to look and feel their best, and they deserve to have an image of themselves or their family. For some, this may be the only tangible evidence they own of their own existence! The only chance they have to own a permanent moment in their lives.
They need editors, photographers, hair-stylists, make-up artists, and door-greeters to make everyone feel loved and welcome. If you want to participate, mark your calendars for December 3, 2016. I know I am!!
To read more about ways you can give back to your community and the world with your photography talent, check out this article from Popular Photo.