Photographers lend helping hand

Once a year, all over the world, photographers come together and donate their time and expertise by taking portraits of those in need -- people who wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to have their picture taken.

The Help Portrait event began in 2009 and typically happens on Dec. 8, but in Kelowna, photographers from around the Okanagan came together Saturday at the French Cultural Center.

“It’s really nice to be able to give something during the holiday season and come together with all these amazing photographers and contribute everybody’s talents together for the day,” says Michelle Stephenson, of Stephenson Photography.

“I’ve actually been a part of social services agencies in Kelowna and the Lower Mainland for the past 10 years. I do therapeutic photography for a lot of these agencies, so it’s really cool to connect with them in a completely different setting and be able to give some art and something beautiful and different than the usual counseling sessions.”

One of the first people to have their portrait taken was Terri Dunn, who works at the Metro Community Church and brought along her six kids.

“I think this is good for families. We have people who are in recovery homes, people who are out in the streets and have no home that will come,” Dunn says.

“It promotes to help our community and I work with Metro for the broken community and I invited lots of people to come get Christmas photos done for their families.”

Help Portrait Kelowna has partnered with organizations such as NOW Canada, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, Metro Community Church, the Arthritis Society and Brian Trust Canada to find people who would benefit from this project.

Last year, over 140 individuals and families took part in the event.

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