The winter of 2012 opened up a world of possibilities to me and taught me a whole new way to appreciate my passion for taking pictures. While doing an online research for work, I had stumbled upon the magic that is known as Help-Portrait! I learned all about it, that I humanly could by going through every iota of online information available. I even connected with tons of photographers from all over the world who had taken the initiative to start this movement in their country/city/town. Now it was my turn to do exactly that! Initially, I was a tad bit surprised to find out that Help-Portrait had yet not made it’s way to the City of Joy but was equally thrilled at the idea of initiating it here.
Since the official date was just around the corner and I had neither the time nor the resources to photograph a fairly large group of kids, I collaborated with an awesome NGO called CREW to get access to the desired subjects. CREW is a non-profitable rights-based organization working with both children and women to bring about a holistic change in the community and they were the perfect partners for the first Help-Portrait, Kolkata event. They arranged access to about 120 underprivileged kids in very short notice and I had a great time photographing the children while they were on a field trip to Nicco Park.
This was my very first experience with the magic of Help-Portrait. And magic it truly was! There is something massively fulfilling to watch from behind the viewfinder, young and innocent faces light up like a million watts, even if for a fleeting moment. And to know that you have captured that moment forever and given a printed copy of that memory to the child, for them to cherish for a long long to come. A portrait of compassion, love and hope. One human to another. So simple yet so powerful.
Over the last few years, Help-Portrait, Kolkata has grown slowly from a tiny one man project to a slightly larger group of amazingly passionate photographers, stylists, make-up artists and volunteers. It is their commitment and generosity that has helped light up many a smile, on hundreds of faces in and around the city. In the process, we have also partnered with many more charitable organizations, NGO’s and old-age homes who have made this journey possible and every bit worthwhile. A sincere and heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you. As we grow stronger in our resolve and wider in our reach every year, I hope that many more of you will come forward and be a part of this life altering experience called Help-Portrait. Cheers!