Photographers give back to the St. Pete community

12/15/11 Andrea Lypka
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Dozens of photographers in Tampa Bay provided portraits for people who may otherwise not be able to afford them. The events in Tampa Bay were part of the worldwide Help Portrait movement.

It was a special day for the 41 photographers and volunteers who set up studio lights, booms and backdrops at the Macedonia Freewill Baptist Church in Midtown.

One of the organizers Chuck Vosburgh helped to make photographs of people in need.

“On December 10th this year, there are over 2,000 places doing exactly what we are doing here. So originally when we saw the help Portrait website and we wanted to help out but we realized that there are no locations here in the St. Petersburg. So, Pat McGlinchey said why don’t we just make one? So, we went to the website, signed up and did out first one last year and we had over 174 families,” Vosburgh said.

Latoya Morris came with her two sons to have their family portrait taken.

“Last year around this time is kind of a bind for money, I wanted to get pictures, but it is like I am not able to afford the pictures,” she said.

Morris works part-time in elder care and studies nursing at Hillsborough Community College.

”But I am having faith, I am positive that things will be better next year.”

Students from TASCO, which stands for Teen Arts, Sports & Cultural Opportunities, have edited and printed on site professional 8x10 prints for 159 people. 12-year-old Ciana Rodgers from Bay Point Middle School is studying digital photography at TASCO Center for Teen Technology.

“I can make a difference in the world, I can help just one step at a time doing anything, you know, even if it is just little stuff, by taking a picture of somebody, it can change their whole life and their holiday season,” she said.

43-year old Daryl Starks has been fighting drug addiction since he was 11. He now lives in a nearby drug and alcohol rehabilitation housing. He is holding his first ever portrait.

“In my world, where I just came from was addiction. I was addicted, so I never took pictures or looked in the mirror or anything like that but by God saving me, I have a love and confidence and love of myself. Today I feel the need to take pictures,” Starks said.

Photographer Chuck Vosburgh said the event in St. Petersburg was one of the 1,000 locations worldwide where photographers offered their services for a cause.

”And I can’t describe to you how great it is to see the look in someone’s eyes that has never been photographed before when they see their professional print when it comes out,” he said.

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