Last Saturday was a special day. It was a day to give something back through the medium of photography. All over the world thousands of photographers, stylists, photo editors, printers and helpers came together in various cities to bring a little happiness to those who need it most. Help Portrait is about giving something as simple as a portrait to people in need in the community.
This year Help Portrait Dublin was organised by Steve McDonnell and he chose a very special place, Merchants Quay Ireland, a service for the homeless and those with drug addictions. Together with myself, Lorraine and a few others, we photographed 50 clients of MQI and printed nearly 90 hard copy portraits and presented them to each client in a little folder.
Neither the staff nor ourselves were really sure how the clients would take to this. Nothing like this had been done before so we started out by doing some portraits of the staff and they brought their shots downstairs to where the clients were having a bite to eat. It wasn’t long before the clients started trickling up to us in three’s – we had three studios complete with lights set up.
With a little trepidation the first group made they way into our room. It wasn’t long before they were preening themselves, fixing their hair and making sure we got their good sides. A few minutes later they had their finished portrait in their hands and each and every one of them was delighted with the result. Some of them asked for one or two copies that they could give to their families and we were only too delighted to oblige.
I can’t mention anyone by name or show their photo (except the chap above – he didn’t mind) but each of them had their own story to tell and it was written in their faces. Between drugs, alcohol, homelessness or just sheer poverty they suffered and places like MQI provide invaluable services to them.
I was proud to have been part of our little group who spent just a few short hours doing what we love and bringing a little bit of cheer to those fifty people.