Snap happy: Cork photographers offer to recapture smiles with free portraits

IT’S hard to find things to smile about these days. But a special event this weekend is set to change all that.

Some of the country’s top photographers are switching the focus from bailouts to goodwill in the hope of putting smiles back on the faces of ordinary people.

They have joined forces with leading make-up artists to stage a Help-Portrait session in Cork on Sunday.

The Help-Portrait initiative was founded last year by US-based celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart.

The movement encourages photographers to offer their time, gear and expertise and “give back” to those in need.

People, especially those who’ve had a difficult year, were encouraged last night to register their interest. And it’s all free.

People will be made-up and shot by a professional photographer over the course of a one hour 40 minute session in one of six studios which will be set up on the day.

Each individual will leave with memories of a lovely experience and a free printed portrait of themselves, said new media businessman and blogger, Paul O’Mahony, who is organising the event with his friend, professional photographer Roger Overall.

The photographers will also sign over the copyright of the images to the person photographed.

It is all about restoring the self-confidence of people who have had a rough time in 2010, and making them feel good about themselves, Mr O’Mahony said.

“Last year we photographed a cross-section of people, who for whatever reason needed a lift,” he said.

“We had people who had lost everything in the floods for instance. People who had lost their jobs. People who just needed to feel special for a couple of hours. Whatever your circumstances, if you need a boost and something to pick you up, you are welcome to come along on Sunday.”

He said he is delighted that so many experts have volunteered their time again this year.

“I was so moved last year witnessing first-hand the pure joy and emotion of deserving people feeling good about themselves,” he said.

“This event wouldn’t be possible without people being so generous with their time and skills — and the Clarion Hotel giving us use of their terrific facilities for free.”

The only other Irish Help Portrait event is taking place in Belfast.

Help Portrait Cork will take place between 10am and 3pm on Sunday at the Clarion Hotel.

You can pre-book a time slot by telephoning 021-451 8000, or log on to www.facebook.com/HelpPortraitCork.


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