The Gift of a Portrait
As a professional event photographer I often get the chance to work with a variety of wonderful organizations but one of my favorites is St. Joseph’s Mercy Care, a local foundation here in Atlanta that provides medical, dental, behavioral health and social services for people in need. When I found out their were hosting their 9th annual Fall Festival, which is a big party for their poor and homeless clients in the downtown community, I didn’t hesitate to volunteer my services. Many disadvantaged people don’t get the chance to have high-quality pictures taken, let alone own any pictures of themselves, so I was excited to help change that.
That morning at the venue we set up a studio complete with lighting, backgrounds and a high-resolution photographic printer, so we could put the pictures in special folders and give them out on the spot. More than 200 poor and homeless clients, including some with children, had their portraits taken that day. What a rewarding experience to see their faces when we handed them their pictures, like the young woman with her new infant son who was so overjoyed to have baby pictures of him, or the older men with their tough faces and thousand-mile stares, who said they couldn’t remember the last time they’d had pictures taken of themselves, if ever. The downtown homeless community is a very tight-knit one, and it was heartwarming to see groups of friends posing together, kidding around as they smiled for the camera. Most of all, it was great working with Communications Manager Denise Garlow and Volunteer Coordinator Nicole Smith, who did such a fantastic job of putting the event together and making their clients feel special. I take head shots of people all the time but this was a truly unforgettable experience. Go to this page to get more info on Mercy Care Services.