help Por­trait comes to an end

North Bay Nugget - - NEWS - Jen­nifer Hamil­ton-mccharles

after eight years and 400 por­traits, the cam­eras have been shut off.

Vol­un­teer John Wal­lace said last year was the fi­nal help Por­trait event, which took place in­side the cafe­te­ria at ecole Se­condaire catholique al­go­nquin.

“We would have loved to carry it on, but there was a num­ber of fac­tors that stopped us, such as the pass­ing of lo­cal pho­tog­ra­pher ed eng,” Wal­lace said thurs­day.

eng died in June 2017. Vol­un­teers ded­i­cated last year’s event, which he started, in his hon­our.

Wal­lace said it was eng who brought help Por­trait, which is part of an in­ter­na­tional move­ment, to North bay.

but there were other con­tribut­ing fac­tors, as well.

“Some of the other fac­tors was the equip­ment we were us­ing was be­com­ing ob­so­lete. We couldn’t af­ford to buy print­ers, pho­tog­ra­phers are get­ting older and have con­trib­uted free for all of these years and we would have to start fundrais­ing, which was some­thing we never did be­fore,” Wal­lace ex­plained.

Wal­lace said the re­ward was plen­ti­ful, but ev­ery­thing was point­ing vol­un­teers in a new di­rec­tion.

“it’s re­ally bit­ter sweet. the re­ward we re­ceived ev­ery year was see­ing the smiles on the faces of those who would never be able to af­ford a fam­ily por­trait,” he said.

but it was so much more than just pro­vid­ing a pic­ture to hang on the wall.

“it was ed’s vi­sion to make this event a big pro­duc­tion. to cre­ate a New york stu­dio at­mos­phere and pro­vide an ex­pe­ri­ence they will never for­get,” Wal­lace said.

in ad­di­tion to get­ting a pro­fes­sional por­trait, guests were glammed up by hair­styl­ists and makeup artists. Food was served and mu­sic en­joyed.

Wal­lace said there are so many mem­o­ries he will fondly cher­ish.

“there was one lady who came in and she had a huge smile on her face. She had a lot of strug­gles in her life, but after see­ing the pic­ture that was taken you never would have imag­ined the dif­fi­cul­ties and chal­lenges she faced. it was ab­so­lutely beau­ti­ful.”

Ed Eng

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