My First Help-Portrait Experience

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love.

So, my friend Karen is constantly preaching the gospel of Help Portrait. I like the organization because it doesn’t overreach in its stated goals or self-importance (i.e. only a minimum amount of this and this type of crap). Its mission is fairly straightforward: Find a person who wouldn’t normally be able to afford a professional portrait. Take her picture. Process it and print it out. Give her her portrait.

Land Of Nams: Living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

For my first time we trekked to two nursery schools, one in a neighborhood called Hillbrow and one in a township called Diepsloot (like most things in RSA both have interesting/depressing pre and post apartheid histories). I was timid to join because I was afraid I would take sub-standard portraits. But after initially constantly seeking reassurance from Karen and Nathalie about aperture settings and good lighting like a panicky second grader, I got into a groove and was able to take some decent shots.

Obviously, the best part (besides that I now know how to take a portrait of someone ) is the kids. Kids are universally cute and fill your heart with joy. Kids are exponentially more cute and fill your heart with more joy when you are not in charge of disciplining them. They also love mugging for a camera. Check out these little mamas.

editing credit: Karen Lim

If you have some time, whether you are an amazing photographer or are just an omgpanicky novice like me you could spend a few hours doing Help Portrait…You’ll learn a lot and/or provide some happy people with a bangin’ portrait.  If you live in Jozi, you are looking for Ubuntu Help Portrait. If you don’t, google your local chapter or make it yourself if you’re feeling inspired or superhuman.

Land of Nams: Living in Johannesburg, Exploring the world, Documenting the things I love.

photo credit: Karen Lim

Land of Nams: Living in Johannesburg, Exploring the world, Documenting the things I love

photo credit: Karen Lim

ps. these are my outtakes since we are not to post portraits we are giving.

14 thoughts on “My First Help-Portrait Experience

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