It's very bright and very early, my kit is packed and ready to go. As for me, I'm getting there - slowly! Fortunately, Gill Golding and Andrew White (my fellow photographers for the day) seem wide awake and ready for action, so I'm in good hands. Today we are off to London to do something quite different.
Being photographers we are used to taking photographs rather than giving them - but for today that is going to change. Following the ethos of Jeremy Cowart's Help-Portrait project and thanks to a connection at a homeless shelter, we are going to photograph a special group of people. These people are generally unseen as we pass them on streets (Lord knows I have walked straight past many of them), but this project has given us an opportunity to get a small peek into their lives and let them know that they can be seen, they aren't forgotten and they are important. It was really great to be able to use our photography skills to give back to this vulnerable section of the community.
The shelter was buzzing when we arrived and as we set up the studio lights we heard a few comments such as "I hate having my picture taken" and "I don't look good on camera". However, they hovered nearby and gradually they became more trusting and more inquisitive. One by one they sat down and allowed themselves to be seen, if only for a minute. As we photographed them, they spoke about a variety of topics and occasionally revealed normally-hidden aspects of their personalities which, if we were quick enough, we captured on camera. As the day went on, it was great to see them smiling and feeling more confident, and then we knew that what we were doing mattered.
If you are interested in running your own event, check out the website - HELP-PORTRAIT.COM.
Remember - Help-Portrait is about GIVING pictures, not taking them. There is no money involved at any stage. These portraits are not for your portfolio or website, nor are they for sale. They belong to the subjects.