This has become an annual feature now . Come December, come first Saturday I am with “Help Portrait” . My friend Sudhyasheel introduced me to this last year and since then, it has been no looking back and I sincerely wish that I continue this for the coming years.
Planning meetings, co ordination with the NGOs , studio finalization ( our friend Rahul Mall who is also an ace photographer, happily allowed us for a disruptive intervention in his small sexy studio – Studio Pomegranate at Wood Street ) .
Jayati Saha, an ace photographer with national and international publications and prizes, also agreed to be a part of this just like the last year . This was a personal high point for me as I have been a closet fan of her photography for long . Several attempts to get in touch with her , discuss photos with her had been in vain. So shamelessly I requested Sudhya to make me a part of her team .
Just when everything was all set , things started falling apart on the personal front . Tugga remained unwell throughout the last week and finally on Friday 5th December , 2014 night, Madhushree also started running a temperature and on Saturday morning it was a dilemma for me to go or to drop out . I stood by my commitment . Thanks to Madhushree, for as always she has been supportive or else this would not have been possible .
Faces, which have stories behind them and stories which are not very memorable. Stories of deception, domestic violence, abuse , assault and even uglier than that . Innocence and happiness of soul can easily bring about a smile in them and wipe out the bruises of the past . A smile which you can never forget , the twinkle in the eyes which you can never ignore, aspirations of lives which make you think bigger and zeal for life which you feel rejuvenated . Thats what Help Portrait is all about . The reason why I don’ t ever want to miss it .
I took Behind the Scenes photography as I saw the maestros in work and more wanted to get soaked in the environment and spend some quality time with the kids. However, some names are not likely to be forgotten . Aspirations of becoming singers , dancers , boxing champions , professor of English, etc…just like mine or your children. Barsha, Ruksana, Taslima, Farhana, Manisha , Ruma are few names but these are not only names but an evidence of hope , strength and courage .
New Light NGO, which works with the mission to promote gender equality through education and life-skill training, thereby reduce harm caused by violence and abuse to women and young children, agreed to allow some of the children from their home to be a part of this .
We also had children from Hope foundation whose home I had visited last year .
Its better if I let the faces tell you the story . Come join me in the journey .
A very special thanks to the smiling shining team of Nidhi Somani , Sanghapriya and Vatsala . This would not have been possible without you around.
You wanna be a part of the Help Portrait next year ? Join here
Help Portrait Kolkata can be contacted here
The man behind this entire movement is Jeremy Cowart
Latest count says that this year Help Portrait has given away 27650 PORTRAITS with the help of 6575 VOLUNTEERS across 19 COUNTRIES in 199 EVENTS . That is some number to speak about .
My experience from last year is here . Till next year .