★ Help Portrait Antwerp 2011

Where do I even begin with this?

Yesterday was Help Portrait’s international event day. In countries and cities all over the world, photographers gathered to give the gift of a photo to someone less fortunate. Belgium’s event was organized in Antwerp this year, at Hof Ter Beke, a meeting and senior center managed by the city of Antwerp.

We started of around 10h in the morning: 10 photographers in 5 studios, 3 of us to do all the post processing and printing, 5 or 6 people of escort the attendees to and from the studios. And about 160 people who actually got their picture taken between 10h and 17h.

From where I was sitting (which was in the post processing and printing room), everything went very smooth and time flew by. Before I full and well realized it, it was 16h and almost time to pack things up. After packing all the gear, we headed out for dinner (tip: best to make a reservation if you plan to go out with 15 people :)) and some nice drinks and talks afterwards.

I was utterly exhausted last night but what a day it has been. Hearing stories from all those people, many of whom are poor, alone and alienated, living on the edge of our society and forgotten by most. Hard and at the same time very humbling and it makes me very grateful for the live I have and the people in it.

But seeing their faces light up when they get to see their photo is just amazing and makes the long and hard day totally worth it.

If this post sounds kind of incoherent, it’s because I’m still overwhelmed by the event (in a good way). Thanks for everyone who made this happen!