The actual Help Portrait movement – which is find a person in need, take their photo, print it and go back to give the shot back to them – happens once a year in December. In South Africa, we start as early as September and shoot all the way through to December, because there are so many opportunities to give portraits here. There’s a small group of us that are so eager to give portraits that we want to shoot even when Help Portrait South Africa hasn’t officially begun. =)
With the help of the donors mentioned above, we can now do it.
Our first stop was to shoot for up to 1,600 students, teachers and staff of the Diepsloot Combined School. Diepsloot is one of the largest townships (squatter towns) in Johannesburg and one of the poorest too. There are about 150,000 people living in the shacks of Diepsloot and they battle with water, electricity and food problems every day.
Diepsloot Combined School
So, one sunny morning, a bunch of volunteers set off at 8am to carry out this exercise for the school. I was still jet lagged from my trip to Singapore and had slight doubts about whether we would actually accomplish what we had set out to do – shoot portraits for hundreds of people in one morning.
The kids were very well behaved and waited in line excitedly for their turn to have their portraits taken. We shot portraits for kids from Grade 1 to Grade 12 and had to manage a huge group of students, from little kiddies all the way to teenagers. It was no easy task.
Kids in the queue.
Fooling around while waiting for their turn to have their picture taken with me (behind).
The day went by so smoothly. And it was because we had several volunteer photographers for the day. They took time off from work and kids to be here to contribute.
We also had another group of volunteers who did the amazing job of organising the classes, ushering, lining the kids up, and prepping them for their shots.
Although some of the older kids needed no help to doll themselves up for the shoot. LOL!
The hubby took the day off from work to give us moral support, and to take “environment shots” for the day. All the shots in this post were done by him.
I love it when he’s around to document the work we do, and to capture the small special moments I had with the kids.
I was telling this little girl that she’s beautiful and not to be nervous..
A shot of me in a most unglamourous position, checking the shots in my camera..
We had an incredible day and managed to complete the entire exercise according to plan and to schedule. Everyone of us was exhausted by the time we were done, but we were all happy and excited. We cannot wait to come back again in August when school starts after their winter break to give their shots back to them.
Here is the group of volunteers (plus the hubby who took this shot) who made it all possible for Diepsloot Combined School.
I have to go process the couple thousand of shots for printing now. *gulp*
Thanks again to all the donors who provided us with the funds to do this. Your generous contribution has inspired and motivated us to keep doing the Help Portrait, and to give more people in South Africa a chance to own a portrait shot of themselves.
What is Help Portrait?
Watch this video. It says everything about what it is.