Joburg CODP Help-Portrait group aims for 25 000 portraits

This is a great initiative and you will see some of the images in the May issue of PhotoComment Magazine. In essence, this is a program for photographers to give back to those who cannot afford the service – or the printing – of a professional portrait image. CODP will be runnning a workshop where you can find out more on 14 May 2011, find more details here. To learn more about their goals for this years project read the press release after the break.

Joburg CODP Help-Portrait group aims for 25 000 portraits

A portrait is a portrait, is a portrait. Right?

To many people that may be true: To photographers it might mean days of planning and fixatingover the lighting, the mood and the message. While for many millions of needy people aroundthe world, a portrait is a luxury well beyond their means.

Which is why Help-Portrait was initiated a few years ago by American photographer JeremyCowart as a movement of photographers using their time, equipment and expertise to giveback, for free, to those less fortunate. This is encapsulated perfectly in the Help-Portrait slogan:Don’t take pictures. Give them.

A Johannesburg group of photographers, facilitated by the College of Digital Photography(CODP Help-Portrait), has embraced this slogan with open arms and set itself the ambitioustarget of giving 25 000 portraits this year.

The enormity of the task becomes apparent given that the global community of volunteerscaptured 61 000 portraits last year, of which CODP Help-Portrait contributed more than 5 500.

“The need communities in South Africa are so enormous that we believe we could easilyachieve 100 000 portraits, but the reality is that we are constrained by logistics and resourcesand therefore set our sights on the more manageable figure of 25 000 portraits this year,” saysproject leader Stanley-Carl du-Pont.

CODP Help-Portrait has had to evolve its approach in order to reach it’s target, with portraitsessions running over three months – from September to November – rather than solely on theofficial Help-Portrait Day, which is 10 December this year.

The project team assumes the responsibility of identifying and co-ordinating with charities,NGOs, and religious and community organisations that would benefit from the project. It is thenup to volunteers to sign up for the listed events and head out to the communities to capture theportraits.”It is a truly amazing experience for volunteers and recipients alike,” says Stanley-Carl. “Thereare so many heart-warming stories, from the HIV-positive orphans to destitute pensioners whotreasure the gift of a portrait as if it were their most valuable possession.”

The CODP Help-Portrait is actively seeking funding and donations, support from volunteers -photographers and non-photographers alike – and deserving communities that would like tobenefit from this worthy project.

For more information and to register with CODP Help-Portrait, go to http:www.helpportrait.co.za

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