Fort Lauderdale, FL, December 23, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- They call themselves The Soul Catchers, and they are a group of photographers from Broward County, who have decided to give back to their community by supporting Help-Portrait, a worldwide movement founded in 2009 by celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart. For one day every year, photographers all over the world donate their time to provide free portraits for those in need, the homeless, low-income, and struggling families, who would otherwise not be able to afford a professional portrait with their loved ones.
This is the first time that Help-Portrait is available to the community of Fort Lauderdale, thanks to The Soul Catchers and The Salvation Army. "This is a great way to give back to the community with what we do best, and create a difference in people's lives. We don't realize how much a portrait is worth for someone who has lost it all"-said Huba Rostonics, founding member of The Soul Catchers.
Huba Rostonics started months ago to push the initiative on the web and social media outlets and assembled a core group comprised by Dawn Dunsmore-Event Coordinator, Kelly Galiciewski-Photography coordinator, Zaakirah Muhamad-Volunteer coordinator, Enrique Martin-IT and Systems lead and Michelle Cameau-Hair and Makeup lead. Presscott McDonald joined along the way and came up with the Soul Catchers name. The group grew to more than 30 volunteers, including photographers, photography assistants, hair stylists and makeup artists that came together at the event.
“It is not very well known, but some of the people at the shelters are complete families, who may have not even brought their situation onto themselves, and they are struggling to keep high the morale of their spouse and children while they get back on their feet. A beautiful portrait that reflects back the image that they would rather want to see of themselves can be a tremendous boost in their confidence and self-esteem, a key component in the road to recovery,” explained Rostonics.
The event took place on December 10th at The Salvation Army, located at 100 SW 9th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale. 70 families and individuals were portrayed. A fully released electronic copy and a total of 230 prints will be handed out to the families this Christmas by the Salvation Army, thanks also to Coya Images, who made possible printing at a very low cost.
“This was a fantastic experience, the sense of camaraderie between all the professionals at the event it was just exhilarating and some of the stories we gathered are inspiring, like the family who was never portrayed before, the grandmother whose grandchildren live far from her or even the carpenter caught by the slowdown in the building industry who wants to try a career in modeling!”- continued Rostonics.
Lilly Gallardo, Director of Social Services for The Salvation Army-Fort Lauderdale, when asked about her experience with the event, added -"we believe it was a very successful event and we hope we can work together again. Here at The Salvation Army, hearing touching stories of people in need and desperate for help is part of what we do, but I am always moved when I hear people open their heart to us. For me it is a privilege. I guess we never think about how important it is to capture a moment. Some of us take it for granted: we want a portrait? We go to a photo studio! But giving the opportunity to capture a moment for the families we saw on December 10th was very important to them and to us. I'm glad The Soul Catchers were all here to make this possible!"
The Soul Catchers are already looking forward to host the event again next year and with everything they learned, they are expecting it to be a much larger event. To get advanced notice, sign up for their mailing list at http://www.TheSoulCatchers.org.
About the Soul Catchers:
The Soul Catchers are an informal group of photographers, hair stylists, and makeup artists who have decided to donate their time and resources to bring an uplifting spirit to those who need it the most, through the gift of photos. The initiative was started by Huba Rostonics; photographer, photography instructor and blogger. Before he moved from Madison, WI in 2011, he participated in the 2010 Help-Portrait event. For more information on The Soul Catchers and Huba Rostonics, visit http://www.TheSoulCatchers.org and http://www.Rostonics.com
About The Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the array of social services ranging from food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.
Celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart formed Help-Portrait, a non-profit organization, in 2009 as he contemplated using his skills and expertise to give back to those who do not have the opportunity for a professional photo. As of November 2011, Help-Portrait has inspired events all over the world. From Bangalore, India to Ghana, Africa. The language of Help-Portrait crosses cultural and socio-economic barriers.