If you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do to make sure that your life had worth? What would you give away on your last day on earth? Who would you want to talk to and what would you tell them? If you had only one word left what would you want it to be? If you had the chance to make a difference in the world would you jump at the chance? If you had a gift to share that would change the world would you share it? If you had something inside of you that could make a difference and all you had to do was show up and be you, could you be you? Could you be honest? Could you be open? Could you connect? Would you want to?

If for only one day,  could you make a difference in everyone you came in contact with and leave knowing that you are both the better for it? Could you give just because it is the right thing to do? What would that be worth?

Could you talk about the amazing experience that you just had so that everyone would understand? Could you talk about all the amazing people? Can you figure out what really mattered that day and could could inspiration continue to make a difference in your world? Would you be willing to be that honest and open, knowing that your experiences were about giving photos to people, but walking away the richer person because of what others gave without even knowing?

Will those experiences last and have a profound impact on the paths walked every day? Is it possible to repay the honesty and openness that people are willing to give when you look into their eyes? Will everyone realize that good people always look good in photographs (it’s in the eyes and you can’t hide it)? What can a picture do? Can it create self-esteem, hope, joy, value, confidence, family, friendship, smiles, friends, humor, tears, hugs, kisses, cheer, comfort,  delight, ecstasy, elation,  gladness, glee or pride?

What a picture is worth? Everything!

You might be asking about the randomness of thoughts and questions above, and I guess I am just trying to figure out  how to put into words the impact of participating in Help Portrait this past weekend.  As I sat down to write about the experience this weekend, I really got to thinking about the experience and the lasting impact it might have on me. It is often times hard to describe the impact an emotionally charged day has on us when we see the difference we can make in the world. The chance to see the world as it should be when we take care of each other, share our stories and connect with each other.  I was going to tell you about all the amazing people I got to meet that day. The great portraits and stories that were shared, but there are a lot of people who already have told those stories over on Facebook or at the Help Portrait site. I just wanted to share some of the questions that I have to answer for myself. When it comes time to step up and make my gifts as an artist matter, will I make sure to remember all of this? Will I make sure my photos have worth? I hope so. 

*Hep Portrait is an organization founded by Jeremy Cowart that is all about photographers coming together and using their art, skills and love for photography to give back to their communities. On December 10th, thousands of people from around the world found people in need, took their photograph and gave them that photograph. The event is about giving pictures. There is a great video here that really shows what the event is all about.

I had the great fortune to work with an amazing group of people: Henry Lingat who organized the event, Ernie Sapiro who did the photograph and Paul, Erin, Linda, Sheri, Nathan, Stacy and Henry’s mom all came together to support each other and our guest. The result was a day I’ll never forget.