A! Magazine for the Arts

King University's Digital Media Art & Design Hosts Help-Portrait Event

October 27, 2015

King University's Digital Media Art and Design students host their sixth annual Help-Portrait event Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Bristol Public Library in downtown Bristol, Va.

The Help-Portrait event was originally founded in 2008 by celebrity photographer 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.

"Our goal for the Help-Portrait project is to provide family portraits for those who otherwise might not be able to afford them," says Joe Strickland, assistant professor of photography at King. "It is a great way for our students to utilize their talents and artistic skills to give back to the community.

"King's DMAD students organize the entire event," adds Strickland. "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."

Last year more than 40 families participated in the Help-Portrait event.

As each shoot concludes, the team prints and frames a photo for each family to keep. In addition to their 8x10 family portrait, each of the families receives 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 says, "This event is continuing to grow. In addition to the students of the DMAD Department hosting the Help-Portrait event, we are always delighted to welcome back several King alumni who volunteer their time to help out with the event."

For more information contact Strickland at jgstrickland@king.edu or 423-652-4709.