Christmas has always been a time for giving – some offer money, others donate time – and one local group is giving back through talent.
Murfreesboro photographers Andrew Morton and Austin Lewis have partnered to present a Help Portrait event where free photographs will be offered to those in need. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 315 N. Front St., the former home of Greenhouse Ministries.
“It’s not about the photographer, it’s not about the people volunteering, it’s not for our personal portfolios – it’s for the people,” said the event’s co-organizer Andrew Morton. “And it’s the stories you hear, too, from the people you meet.”
Lewis added, “Honestly, any chance I have to be able to use my talent for someone else is a good thing. I have an interest in people, and I just like to help if I can. It’s definitely hard for me financially, so being able to use something you have (talent) is a lot easier.”
Morton helped out during last year’s event in Murfreesboro and at a test run that was held at the Nashville Mission two years ago.
“It was the most touching thing we’ve ever done … to interact with people who have had photos taken in 20 years,” Morton said. “Some people lost (photos) from flood or fire, or just never got photos done again.”
Help Portrait was started a couple of years ago by a Nashville photographer who wanted to establish a day – Dec. 12 – when photographers, videographers, make-up artists, caterers, hairstylists could all volunteer their time. Now the event is held from Los Angeles to New York City.
“We’re having ours here in Murfreesboro, so it’s actually really cool; they come in and get their photo taken, and then the following Sunday, we’ll have prints for them,” Morton explained, adding that make-up artists and hairstylists will be on-hand, as well.
Saturday’s event is geared towards low-income residents and the homeless who have found their way to Rutherford County.
“It’s definitely open to the community, but we’re trying to help out the ones that really need it,” Morton continued.
Last year’s event attracted about a dozen families and more than 30 individuals, and Morton hopes to help even more this year.
“The more the merrier, but we don’t know what the outcome will be,” he said. “Greenhouse Ministries in Murfreesboro tried to hold an event, and only one person showed up. Some people are afraid to come out because they think we will try to exploit them with their images. It’s not for our personal portfolio – it’s for them.”
Morton said he’s never shown a single image that was taken during a Help Portrait event. That said, those whose photographs are taken have the right to give permission for Help Portrait to share their stories.
For larger events, Kodak will donate the use of kiosks, but those have been reserved for the Nashville event, Morton explained.
Instead, the Murfreesboro group is going to take photographs on Saturday, Dec. 10, and have them printed and available for pick-up after service on Sunday, Dec. 18.
To learn more about the event or for questions, visit Help-Portrait.com or call Morton at 615-785-3162.