Can a Portrait Help a Person?

On December 12, photographers across the nation will be taking pictures of people for free as part of the Help Portrait movement. Help Portrait is an attempt to mobilize the amateur, hobbyist and professional photographers of the world to bring some good to those in need.

The goal of the project is to provide family and personal portraits to people in need. For some, this will be the first and only portrait they ever have taken. Aside from taking the picture, printing it and delivering it, Help Portrait urges the photographers to take time to get to know the people they’re photographing: cook them a meal, talk to them, serve them.

The below video has more information:

So why is this important? After all, there’s a lot of money and time going into this movement that could be spent on other things. And more to the point, why is this important for Christians?

Personally, I feel that as children of God we’re called to celebrate the beauty in Creation. Yes, we live in a world tainted by sin, but art gives us an amazing outlet through which we can explore aspects of this world that still reflect, however dimly, the perfection of Eden.

Portraits in particular are a way to highlight hidden and often-overlooked characteristics of their subject. When a photographer—or any artist for that matter—lovingly crafts an image of a person, that image can show a side of the person you barely knew existed: the beautiful, the cool, the composed, the handsome, the joyful.

For the Christian photographer, showcasing the good and interesting in people also showcases the good and interesting in God. Art gives us a distant but compelling glimpse of God’s original Creation.

Do you know anyone who is involved with Help Portrait? Do you think you might volunteer to help out? How can photography and other art forms point the way to God?

Editor’s note: While Help Portrait is not explicitly Christian, it’s interesting to note that Help Portrait was partially inspired by Advent Conspiracy.

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