“take a sad song and make it better.” *

About three month’s ago, the Photographer’s Adventure Club started advertising for interested club members to volunteer for something called Help Portrait.  At the time, I didn’t have any idea what Help Portrait was, nor did I have any interest in finding out about it.  And so I went about my merry way going about my merry business.  Then about a month or so ago, I saw another posting in Facebook saying they still need people to lend a hand in the Help Portrait endeavor.  By then I had heard a little bit about the project, had gotten some literature on it, and figured I might as well go ahead and volunteer for the day.  I am glad I did.

This is Help Portrait in their own words: “In December, photographers around the world will be grabbing their cameras, finding people in need and taking their picture. When the prints are ready, the photographs get delivered.”

The PAC held it’s Help Portrait day at the 1st Congregational Church in downtown Tempe.  There were makeup artists, hairstylists, 4 studio stations available, 4 printing stations, entertainment including a magician and a face painter.  Snacks and water were also provided.   Those that had their photograph taken were given a high quality print and the option of a jump drive with their photos on it.  This was all free to those getting pictures taken.

I don’t feel that I am a good enough of a wordsmith to accurately describe the way the day affected me and the others in PAC that contributed on Saturday.  Anything I think of writing just seems inadequate.  The good feelings of the day came from working with the clients that came through the door.  From the first lady I met who showed up at 9:30 to be the first in line so she wouldn’t have to wait, to the single mother of four, to the last man who came and took his picture with his dog, and all the other individuals and families  in between, these people are what made the day a special experience.

I think one could safely assume that everyone who came in to get photographed had had their share of hard luck and trouble.  But I hope and believe that once they walked into our little “studio”, that as they became our “customers” and we made them the center of our attention, that some of the hardships of life were suspended for a few moments and things got a little better this day.

Kimberly Haugen, a member of PAC, summed up the day best when she talked about how much everyone was smiling and what a happy day it was.  There certainly were many a smile that day.  My job allowed me to roam around quite a bit so I spent much of my time at the printing station just watching the reactions of people as they first saw their photographs come out of the printer.  There were smiles all around.  It was a beautiful thing.

*lyric from the Beatles’ Hey Jude