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Volume 26, Number 12 — December 2018

King University students' Help-Portrait event holiday treat for local families

Clay Blakenbeckler shoots a portrait during Help Portrait. Photo by Christine Mclean Roberts.
Clay Blakenbeckler shoots a portrait during Help Portrait. Photo by Christine Mclean Roberts.
Additional photos below »

December 29, 2014

King University's digital media art and design students recently hosted their fifth annual Help-Portrait event, which took place at Bristol Public Library in downtown Bristol, Va.

The Help-Portrait events were originally founded in 2009 by celebrity photography Jeremy Cowart as a way for a community of photographers to come together across the world to use their photography skills to give back to their local communities.

"The goal of Help Portrait is to provide family portraits for those who otherwise might not be able to afford them. This is a service we are happy to provide," said King senior Trung Phan. "It is a great way to give back to the community while utilizing our artistic talents and skills."

"The event went great," said Joe Strickland, assistant professor of photography at King University. "More than 40 families participated in the event. King students in the digital media art and design department organized the entire event. It is quite the operation to bring together with three editing stations, one printer, and two photo shoots going on at one time, not to mention the food being made in the kitchen, the sign-up station and books provided by the Imagination Library. The entire process is just a wonderful experience for both our students and the families they are able to help."

This was the first year assisting with the Help-Portrait event for King junior Rachel Burrus. "This experience was so rewarding. The reactions were priceless. They were so happy to receive their portrait. It is easy to take something like a family photo for granted, but for many of the families who participated, this photo is something they will truly treasure."

As each shoot concluded, the team printed and framed a photo for each family to keep. In addition to their new framed 8x10 family portrait, each of the families received a Christmas gift bag with a note from the Help-Portrait team, a USB drive containing printable images from their photo shoot and gift cards.

Strickland added, "This event is continuing to grow. In addition to the students of the DMAD department hosting the Help-Portrait event, we were delighted to welcome back several King alumni who volunteered their time to help out with the event."

King senior Jessany Bowman served as organizer of the Help-Portrait event for the past two years. "Help Portrait is a unique opportunity for students to experience the process for an event such as this. This is a service project where we can not only learn about the many aspects that goes into a project of this magnitude, but also allows us to share our photographic talents to bring joy to others. It means something to have a photo of yourself; we're giving that to people who may have never had that before."

Topics: Photography

Participating King University students.