Monday, December 14, 2009

Help Portrait Edmonton

I volunteered to be a photographer at this event this year, and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to do so. The event was very well organized and really well 'staffed' by so many volunteers: photographers, hair and make up artists, editors, and helpers. The only one not co-operating was mother nature, who decided not to turn the heat on. The temperature was about -25C outside, and I am sure this kept lots of folks from coming in for their photographs. For those that did venture out, I hope that we were able to create some lasting memories for them.

I was particularly touched by the last fellow that I photographed. He arrived at my station in a very nice suit, looking very handsome and professional. He was carrying a small grocery bag, and when he came up to where I was waiting, he pulled a bible out of the bag, and said "this is what this portrait is all about". I was so touched that he had thought about wanting his portrait to portray what was important in his life, and that I had the opportunity to help him with this. After we got his portraits finished his wife joined us, and we also got some lovely photos of the two of them together. As I was leaving the building I saw them again - he was no longer in his suit, but rather a heavy parka and sweat pants, carrying the suit in a bag and heading out into the horrible frigid weather of the day.

I've been thinking a lot about the day, and what felt like a missed opportunity in that we could have photographed so many more folks. How can we be sure that others come out, how can we get rid of the barriers that kept them away. Is it via arranging shuttles from service groups? Is it setting up for portraits right at the seniors homes or shelters? And it has also occurred to me - this doesn't need to happen only on the 12th of December. This could be arranged for any day of the year! It really is a wonderful way to share my love of photography with others. I am so very thankful that I participated.