Help Portrait

on October 12, 2009 in Help Portrait, Nash-livin' with 9 comments by

(disclaimer: this post is about MY experience at Help-Portrait. In November, I’ll be posting at (in)courage a more zoomed out view of the project. But this is kinda like us sitting at my kitchen table talking about my experience, not a news piece. Just wanted to point out that self-centered elephant in the room.)

So my friend Jeremy [I nanny for his kids, thus also making him my nanny babies daddy] came up with this idea called Help Portrait.

[PLEASE watch the video so that you can understand the project. The rest of my post won’t make a lot of sense without seeing the vision.]

hp_photo2And when I heard it about Help Portrait, I raised my hand and said, “ooh ooh! I wanna help! I wanna!!” Apparently I whined and begged just enough that Jeremy had to give in and let me help him. I saw deep value in what Jeremy wanted to do- give the overlooked an opportunity to be the focus.

But I’m not a photographer. I’m an organizer. A details girl. A “let me take care of that thing so you can do THAT more awesome thing” kind of gal. And so that’s my job at Help Portrait. Me likey. I love taking care of the details for people who need to put their effort elsewhere.

Hp_photo1The official Help Portrait event is on Dec. 12 all around the world. You can see my friend Kyle’s post – he’s a detail dude as well- and he has posted a ton of stats about Help Portrait so far. It’s insane. And beautiful. Insa-utiful. [Coined it.] Here in Nashville, we had a practice Help Portrait on Friday at the Nashville Rescue Mission. About 15 photographers came and photographed a few dozen people. And it was AH-MAZING.

Again, my detail girl role came in really handy because I got to just watch. I watched photographers tear up as they overheard one woman say, “I’ve never felt special before.” I watched a guy retake the same picture over and over again, trying to find the exact. right. pose. I watched as women floated from backdrop to backdrop, taking individuals and group shots, completely carefree.

hp_photo4For that hour, or 2 hours, the men and women of NRM felt valued. Seen. Noticed. Loved. Beautiful.

During that short amount of time, the only thing that mattered was how big to smile or which foot to put forward or how many friends can fit in one shot. Not how to pay the bills. Or how to get out of some terrible situation. Or how to find the next meal.

It was a day that I won’t soon forget. And I get to do it again on December 12.

I learned that taking someone’s portrait doesn’t rescue them from poverty.

But it does rescue them.


More on Help-Portrait….


  1. posted on Oct 12, 2009 at 6:18 AM  |  reply

    What an amazing (insa-utiful) idea!
    I’m more of a details girl, too. I’ve got some amazing photography friends that would jump on this chance. Thanks for making us aware of it.

  2. posted on Oct 12, 2009 at 9:00 AM  |  reply

    I watched this video off of your twitter link a while back, and love the concept. My dream is to one day be able to have my own photography business and do nothing but work like this. Maybe when my kiddos are a little bigger…

  3. posted on Oct 12, 2009 at 9:15 AM  |  reply

    Oh I LOVE the way you write!!!! And what a sweet blog…& blog post.

    That day ruined me for life and I am excited to put my hands to more projects like this. Giving is such a powerful thing to do….maybe that’s why we are called to do just that. It’s good for the soul.

    It was sooo great to finally meet you! I’m glad we are buddies now 🙂


  4. posted on Oct 12, 2009 at 9:23 AM  |  reply

    oooh, oooh, i wanna help on december 12!! 🙂

  5. posted on Oct 12, 2009 at 9:36 AM  |  reply


  6. posted on Oct 12, 2009 at 9:52 AM  |  reply

    Love it! And I agree with Kelli, I appreciate your writing perspective. (I didn’t know you’re a blogger with (in)courage—nice!)

    Thanks for the link and here’s to more details!


  7. posted on Oct 13, 2009 at 4:40 PM  |  reply

    Very cool idea

  8. posted on Oct 15, 2009 at 11:16 PM  |  reply

    Just emailed the video to my bestie photographer friend. LOVE it! Thanks for letting us know.

  9. posted on Nov 09, 2009 at 9:59 AM  |  reply

    I can’t wait to get involved, Annie! 🙂

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