Jeremy Cowart is used to making people smile for a living. As a celebrity photographer, he has snapped the portraits of countless stars, among them Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley and Tim Tebow.
But in 2009, Cowart decided to use his talent to capture the faces of those who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to get their photo taken.
Cowart launched Help-Portrait, a nonprofit organization that recruits photographers every December to do four simple things: find someone in need, take their portrait, print their portrait and deliver it.
“As Americans, we take photography for granted,” says Cowart, who is well aware not everyone has access to a camera. From the homeless and widows who have never had a family portrait to mothers just wanting a picture of their newborn baby, the stories of lives touched through Help-Portrait are endless.
“Help-Portrait gives them something that money can’t buy: dignity, self-worth, value, love and hope,” says Cara Davis, online editor for the organization.
Since Help-Portrait began, tens of thousands of photographers, hairstylists, makeup artists and other volunteers around the world have given more than 282,000 portraits to those in need.
Cowart says he wants everyone to understand that Help-Portrait isn’t just for professionals. If you have an iPhone, you can help.
“[Help-Portrait has] been such an amazing, beautiful, creative way to love on people,” he says. “As a Christian, it just goes to show that loving people where they are and for who they are is what we are called to do.” —Sarah Breed