In a society that relies heavily on media, it is no secret that images have power. For many of us in love with the medium of photography, photographs evoke a response, be it emotional, intellectual or otherwise. We have all seen at least one image in our lives that has pulled at our heart strings. This is why the Heart Gallery of America has been so successful.
For over 8 years, photographers all over the country have gotten involved with this worthy cause. The mission of the Heart Gallery is to help place foster children in permanent homes. Photographers help with this objective by volunteering their services to create heartwarming portraits of the children up for adoption.
The Heart Gallery project uses the power of photography to help reflect the individuality and dignity of children living in foster care. The goal of the organization being to advocate for their permanency, raise public awareness and pursue support to help meet their needs.
While living in south Florida, I was lucky to be among one of the volunteer photographers. I can’t stress enough what a positive experience this was. I had a great time getting to know the kids I photographed and talking to them about their plans for the future. They were full of life and spirit as children are expected to be, but as a whole, these children clearly had hope. I am not sure what I was expecting but these kids made a big impression on me and I was very inspired by their courage.
About a year after I had worked with the Heart Gallery, I received a package in the mail. When I opened it I found a letter from one of the girls I had photographed who had since been adopted. She wanted to thank me for the photos I took of her. She was about 14 at the time of the shoot and she wrote in her letter that the portraits I took made her feel beautiful and before that day she had never thought of herself that way. It brought tears to my eyes and I realized how much impact you can make as a photographer without ever realizing it.
I am still involved with the Heart Gallery and hope to work with as many kids as possible. If you want to volunteer your photography, time or resources to this very deserving cause, please go to the Heart Gallery website and see if there is a gallery established in your area. If not, think about starting one. After all, how often do you get to take a photo to help change someone’s life?