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I wanted to take some time to share with you a mission that is on my heart: using my photography to help others. With the holiday season approaching, it seems like a good time to put out some encouragement for photographers around the world to do the same.
Here and now, I would like to issue a challenge: During the November and December months, offer your time and talents with outstretched arms to those who may need it. There are no parameters for this challenge. The only requirements are these:
You don’t have to come up with a list of ideas on your own. Of course, only you know what is at your disposal with time, money, and talents – but even there, don’t be held back. Think outside the box.
I myself have finished several projects that were larger than myself, simply because I saw a need and thought I could do something to help (especially with a little bit of help from my friends). The results from my favorite project can be seen here.
Don’t feel like you are alone in this mission. Several innovative crusaders have paved the way for photographers of all skills and ages to offer their creativity for good. Instead of brainstorming a new challenge on your own, you can also get in on the mission of other photographers making a difference.
Perhaps one of the most well known artistic nonprofit events of its day, “Help Portrait” unites photographers with low-income families to give holiday portrait sessions. I myself have been a part of this event and it certainly was a dynamic personal time.
What I love about the following four organizations is that each bring in photographers to provide something priceless to families coping with intense medical challenges. If every photographer took a step outside their comfort zone to help someone in heartbreak, we may be able to help bring hope and healing to people who really need that. While such missions are not for everyone, this work is truly life altering for artists to be a part of.
NILMDS Is there for parents and families to help aid them in their healing, bring hope to their future, and honor to their child. It is through remembrance that a family can truly begin to heal. They introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with the free gift of professional portraiture.
This fall, countless photographers and creators are coming together for one purpose: a cure. Through October and November 2011 – a collection of photographers are donating their time and session fees to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®.
The Tiny Light Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides professional photography for children and families that have been faced with a life altering diagnoses. They provide families with lasting memories through the amazing art of photography.
Pictures of Hope Foundation provides complimentary, documentary-style, photography services to families with a child in the Neonatal Intensive are Unit.
OpLove photographers provide free homecoming & deployment portrait sessions to US military families. Joining the organization takes up to a month, but photographers are contacted directly by military families who want keepsakes of their loved ones.
www.ShutterMission.org is a site that lists volunteer opportunities for photographers to give back – and the list of opportunities is growing.
Want to give other ideas? Or need inspiration for yourself? Post them here. We can all make a difference together.
My mission: This month I am going to donate senior portraits for a youth shelter in Denver, CO. I am so excited to give these sessions because I want these young people to see how beautiful and valuable they are – even when most of the people around them don’t recognize that.
Remember: Don’t put yourself in a box. Start here:
You + your time + your camera = G.I.V.E.