Friday, December 13, 2013


On the 7th of December Fify Lowen photography hosted a HelpPortriat initiative. The aim - to give 100 deserving folks a portrait taken by a (professional) photographer. This was part of the world wide initiative founded by celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart who saw this as a way for photographers to give back to their communities.  The official website says, "This is about GIVING the pictures, not taking them. These portraits are not for your portfolio, website, or for sale. Money isn't involved here".

In Gaborone, the volunteers included make up artists, photographers, a lady who made it her business to identify and transport individuals she knew would benefit from this opportunity, a local supermarket donated snacks and bottles of water (which made the little ones very happy), a church donated one of its halls to act as a base, some folks donated clothes so that those who came in without especially fancy clothing but who wanted to play dress up could, and they got to keep the clothes.

The photographic subjects came from all over the city - a local children's village, a few women who had survived abusive relationships as well other perfectly happy individuals and families who had just never had the spare cash to indulge on a photographic shoot.

I'm often on either side of the camera as an amateur photographer or as a subject but I've never thought about other people who just don't have the option of a phone with a  camera or better yet - because it is better, at least once - the opportunity of having someone who knows what they are doing say, say cheese. I like feeling useful but I'm also a bit of a control freak so I'm particularly proud of myself for taking instructions well and doing what was needed when it was needed :). Small steps towards letting go. I still remember a particular elderly gentleman, one of those innately regal people who's faces are a roadmap to story land, he had us all in stitches because when he got his photograph - my favorite of the day - he looked across at his neighbor and said, "Why is his in color? I want mine in color". Best Saturday morning I've had in a long while.

A few of the day's photographs are up on Fify Loewen's page.

Just incase you want to host a session in your neighborhood, you can do your own events at any time of course but, the global date has been set for December 6, 2014. Lots of time to dust off your camera or kabuki brush. 

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