Dec 5, 2010

Help Portrait


My grandmother gave me this alarm clock when I turned 6 years old. It's purple, it's a Conair, and I love it. It's the size of a 3x5 card, and about an inch and a half thick. Like I say, it's dark purple, like California Raisins purple with red LED's. I love it for two reasons. Frist, it has fallen off the bunk-bed or the nightstand or the bookshelf (as I scramble to shut it off in the dark) a bajillion and a half times and it still works flawlessly. (Actually, right now it's about 20 minutes fast, but that's not it's fault) 

The second reason I love it is that it is just an alarm clock. That's it. It's shows the time, and it wakes you up. There's no radio, no second setting for the time in London or Tokyo, no GPS, and no iPod dock. Seriously, I almost missed my flight once because the alarm clock at the hotel was apparently too complicated for me to figure out. I've taken to morning calls when I travel.

And c): I love that the snooze is exactly nine minutes. That non-decimal system number has helped me wake up for 24 years. There's no way you're going to sleep longer after having figured out how much less time you have to get ready if you sleep for nine more minutes. Math beats Folger's every time.

However, each time that old familiar claxon rings early on a Saturday morning, it is serious danger of winding up on the street three stories down.

Like yesterday, when it rang at 7:18 (minus 20, plus one snooze) I rolled out of bed and almost smashed it to the ground. I was dreaming of red lasers and purple shrapnel.

Then I remembered: Help Portrait is today. Click through for the rest of the story...

The thing about photographers is, we're selfish. As Joe McNally says, the conversation with a photographer is usually something like, "Well, enough about me; let's talk about my pictures."

We are always trying to make our images better, which means we're always looking, tweaking, thinking, planning them. So, when we've put that much effort into them, we want to share them with everyone we see, and post them everywhere we look. Did you know it was a photographer's idea to make refrigerator doors magnetic?

Anyway, we're always focussed (get it?) on our pictures. Sometimes we can't even get the camera away from our eyes long enough to greet you to the portrait session. You come into the Studio and I have a sixteen inch long monocle with Nikon written all over it fastened to my face examining your person for stray hairs (that's ten minutes in photoshop) which camera position will be most flattering to you, considering color or black white (or both--another five minutes per picture otherwise), and how many steps up the ladder I need to take to make the best perspective in my picture. It is my picture, by the way, you just happen to be in it. Those photons were captured in all their luscious softness by me. Mine. 

Fortunately, some photogs (or maybe their spouses; probably their spouses) realized this and decided something needed to be done to relieve the selfish tendencies (definitely the spouses) and there's nothing like serving someone else to take your mind off  of yourself.

That's the benefit photographers get from Help Portrait. We get out of ourselves. We don't have to worry about making sales, just about making someone's day. 

This year the Cache Valley Photographers wanted to provide this portrait opportunity for a lot of people. Last year, overnight snow was about 12 fathoms deep on the morning of the shoot, causing our participants to be snowed in and they couldn't reach the space we had set up to shoot in. So this year we wanted to take our shoot to the subjects. We tried Meals on Wheels and some other senior centers, but they were all closed on the Saturday we wanted to do it (see, I told you we're selfish).

So we went to the Cache County Jail. The Deputies there were very happy to help us arrange a space and passed around a sign up sheet among the 300 inmates. the Deputies required the inmates to pay $2 for each print to a charity in order to sign up. It was a double whammy! We got to provide a gift the inmates could give to their families, and they got to support other less fortunate folk at a meaningful time of year. What could be better?

I'll tell you. The first guy who stepped into my makeshift studio thanked us earnestly, and said he was so glad to have something of himself to give his kids for Christmas. I am so glad to have something I can give of myself, too.

My old friend survived another day, and I don't have to buy new clock radio. Although, if I could wake up to this, it might be okay.

Sorry, no pictures from the Jail. We're all about privacy here. Unless you walk in front of my lens in a public place...

1 comment:

  1. Levi, it's so wonderful to hear your witty humor again! You do incredible work, and how wonderful that you give back to others so much. Hey, a comment for you to read!!!!! Have a great day.