Why I won’t support Help Portrait anymore

During the Help Portrait event many of us were thinking about where the money for the Help Portrait clothing was going.  If Help Portrait is not about the money and just about giving them give the money to a charity.  Now it is January 2nd, 2010 and Help Portrait announces that they will have a book published.  Now that is all good and well but again, where is the money going?

We all want and need money but the mission of Help Portrait was to give, not take!

The email states:

“The proceeds of the book will go towards helping to increase the reach and impact of the Help-Portrait movement in 2010 and beyond. Just this month, we officially formed a non-profit to house Help-Portrait and we are excited to take everything we do, to another level. This book will be the first step towards that focus.”

And on that note, I will continue to GIVE portraits but I will not take part in the Help Portrait event.  I will do it on my own with whatever photographers, make up artists and post production crew wants to get involved.

Help Portrait’s message to us (the crews) was to give the photos, not to ask for anything in return, not to use the photos in portfolios or sell them anywhere. Give! Yet they want to sell clothing and now they want to make a book. Go figure.

“Teach us to give and not to count the cost.” – Ignatius Loyola

Sorry to those that were really looking forward to next years Help Portrait event but if you want to join me in my future endeavors please just let me know.

Last but not least, if you want to be involved in more GIVING then please stay tuned to a new project I’m working on with some other photographers called The Giving Lens.

January 2nd, 2010 around 9:30pm Help Portrait posted

“You spoke, we listened. The book will NOT be happening. Official announcement coming soon…”

Although they changed their minds because of how many people were pissed off at the announcement I don’t care. They obviously wanted the money for themselves. I’d rather them make the book and give the profits to a charity than be greedy… then cancel the whole thing.

“Be charitable and indulgent to every one but thyself.” – Joseph Joubert

With that said, join me if you’d like!

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,

Scott

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Help-Portrait had mentioned a book to me early on when they were interviewed about the project, so it wasn't a secret. And…if they form a non-profit, the federal government will make sure the funds go to the correct places instead of someone's pocket. So, I wouldn't be so upset over one person trying to do something that overall had a great impact. Maybe they made a couple of mistakes – don't we all?

  2. Yes and No. Whether they decide to donate the profits now or not, their initial intentions were to keep it for themselves to cover costs (which is minimal).

    I won't be holding a grudge as it really isn't that big of a deal but I'd rather do it on my own and bring on those who want to give and not take at all.

    Thanks for commenting!!

  3. Scott. As one of the organizers of this movement, I know the details about the shirts, book and future of Help-Portrait intimately and welcome the opportunity to dialogue with you here about it. But first, some questions:Did I miss an email from you that asked about the things you mention above? Was there a discussion somewhere about where the shirt and book profits would go that I wasn't aware of?On the note of making money, if this was your own idea, wouldn't you want the ability to grow it as much as possible so that more people could be involved and impacted in future years? Imagine if we had 10,000 photographers working next year? We would collectively see over 100,000 portraits given, based on this years statistics. Is it wrong to want to grow? Maybe a better question is this. Is it wrong to make money as an NPO? Your new project, The Giving Lens is clearly about raising money. Should I assume that's to line your pockets too? Not at all. I'm sure you see the same potential we do and you're rallying those who want to give back. Sound familiar?This is your blog and you are welcome to say whatever you want on it. However, rather than slew accusations and assumptions about us, please take a few moments to ask first. Everything you've said above, simply isn't true.Kylekyle@help-portrait.com

  4. I'm glad Jeremy. I respect your photography greatly and what you have done and are doing with Help Portrait. I really do appreciate you coming here and filling in some gaps. I look forward to seeing what you and Help Portrait come up with in the future.Thank you again,Scott

  5. No problem. We need to fill in some gaps with the rest of the community as well. I'm sure there are many. For example, many people questioned why we were going to "credit" the photographers. My only intention for doing that was that it didn't come across as a photography book by Jeremy Cowart. I wanted it to be VERY clear that this is a community effort. We never explained that and certainly should have.Thanks againjeremy

  6. I noticed that but I figured it wouldn't under your name. I guess that's another problem.. Everyone is taking the emails differently. Off topic: I am however looking forward your book!Scott

  7. Kyle,

    I appreciate you replying to my post. I don't understand how you can say my blog post isn't true when for the most part it is my opinion and also that no one really knows where the money from the clothing is going other than those that own Help Portrait. The NJ people had a discussion at our event, not online. Some people I spoke with did say they inquired about it but did not receive an answer. If you are donating all of the profits then wonderful! But please let everyone know because more people question it than you think.

    Help Portrait has already proven the best way to grow without spending unneeded money. Word of mouth, social media, the internet, radio, press releases. There are tons of free ways to spread out. The 10,000 photographer that took part in Help Portrait did so because of what they saw and read on the interview. Next year those 10,000 will get even more people and so on.

    The Giving Lens is a project that will not keeping any profits whatsoever. The money we will be raising will go 100% to NGO's. The $100 a year that it costs to run the website will be the only money kept by The Giving Lens. If we decided to sell clothing it would be the same thing. 100% of the profits would go to NGO's.

    I did not write my post to make enemies or to cause any problems whatsoever. I did it to vent my frustration over what I saw and what many people are thinking but won't say publicly for some reason.

    Scott

  8. Hey Scott, Jeremy Cowart here, the founder of Help-Portrait. Kyle is my partner below and he did a great job of explaining some stuff.

    I also wanted to chime in and admit that we were VERY clumsy in our explanation of many things in that initial book announcement. But the idea/thought that we were going to pocket everything is just ridiculous. In fact my last discussion with my business manager about this was that we agreed that Help-Portrait should keep only about 20% of it's earnings to cover our very minimal costs as you say. We were going to figure out the rest asap.

    I totally understood why you took it the wrong way though. That announcement was just clumsy and not thorough by any means.

    I can only ask that you'd reconsider a lot of what you've said. We're all most excited about having an impact on our subjects and we want as many people to be blessed by this as possible. That's going to require some year-round work which is where the expenses came in. But after the pushback, we were totally cool with dropping the idea all together. It's not that big of a deal. We'd rather the community be happy and in agreement. From now on, we'll be thrilled to run these big decisions by everyone first.

    Thanks again
    jeremy

  9. Jeremy,

    I appreciate you responding as well. We all make mistakes and learn from them of course so not explaining things well is understandable. Your business manager says 20% is good to keep but I and many others look at it like this:

    Let's say that you sell $3000 profit of clothing. 20% is $600. A website only costs $10 a year for the name and maybe another $90 or so for hosting. I know you pay for a Ning account for the community so that is another $60 a year. For under $200 the website and community is taken care of for a year. $600 is paying for 3 years of Help Portrait. Great! But where is the other $2400 going? That is the part that has yet to be said to the community. Or did it and we missed the email?

    My point basically is that although you are all trying to straight forward with the community things aren't being said. If things are going to change from here on out then maybe I will reconsider in the future.

    I will never stop giving back to the world. I love giving and I love photography. So if I give back from Help Portrait, under The Giving Lens name or under my own name it doesn't matter. The point is to give and not ask for anything in return.

    I really do thank you and Kyle both for commenting on what I had to say and again, what I wrote is not to cause problems. I just wanted to get how I felt out there and also speak for those that haven't written it but have said it.

    Scott

  10. Once again, I'm clumsy. Even suggesting 20% is silly. My point is, we were just hoping to cover costs. Whether that's 2%, 20% or 50%. None of us are looking to pocket change here. I have plenty of other business to make a living from. The idea of really banking on help-portrait is honestly… just sick and wrong. In fact a year ago, I just wanted this to be a little simple video of encouragement to other photographers to give back. That was it. All this non-profit sutff is news to me. In fact we really pushed against even doing that. We just wanted this to be a movement and that's it. But for a long list of reasons, it turned out to be wise to make it a non-profit.

    In the end, there are 6 other people on the Help-Portrait team with me. I've never seen such warmer hearts in my life. Not exaggerating. Kyle, Annie, Lori, Amy, Matt, etc.. they've all given relentlessly to this thing cause they all know and I know that this is what life is about. This is so much more exciting than anything I've ever done for sure. I could care less if there are t-shirts, non profits, websites, etc. Honestly, it's all just complete nonsense. What keeps me ticking is hearing the stories of lives being impacted. The story of someone getting their first photo EVER just does not get old. It's 1000 times cooler than seeing my name on CNN. Sure the publicity is cool for a minute but it fades quick. The stories are what's lingering with me. And I just wanted the world to hear them. Unfortunately my approach to that was impatient and clumsy. But you need to know that we're on the same page as far as our intentions and dreams.

  11. Kyle,I appreciate you replying to my post. I don't understand how you can say my blog post isn't true when for the most part it is my opinion and also that no one really knows where the money from the clothing is going other than those that own Help Portrait. The NJ people had a discussion at our event, not online. Some people I spoke with did say they inquired about it but did not receive an answer. If you are donating all of the profits then wonderful! But please let everyone know because more people question it than you think.Help Portrait has already proven the best way to grow without spending unneeded money. Word of mouth, social media, the internet, radio, press releases. There are tons of free ways to spread out. The 10,000 photographer that took part in Help Portrait did so because of what they saw and read on the interview. Next year those 10,000 will get even more people and so on.The Giving Lens is a project that will not keeping any profits whatsoever. The money we will be raising will go 100% to NGO's. The $100 a year that it costs to run the website will be the only money kept by The Giving Lens. If we decided to sell clothing it would be the same thing. 100% of the profits would go to NGO's.I did not write my post to make enemies or to cause any problems whatsoever. I did it to vent my frustration over what I saw and what many people are thinking but won't say publicly for some reason.Scott

  12. Hey Scott, Jeremy Cowart here, the founder of Help-Portrait. Kyle is my partner below and he did a great job of explaining some stuff.I also wanted to chime in and admit that we were VERY clumsy in our explanation of many things in that initial book announcement. But the idea/thought that we were going to pocket everything is just ridiculous. In fact my last discussion with my business manager about this was that we agreed that Help-Portrait should keep only about 20% of it's earnings to cover our very minimal costs as you say. We were going to figure out the rest asap. I totally understood why you took it the wrong way though. That announcement was just clumsy and not thorough by any means. I can only ask that you'd reconsider a lot of what you've said. We're all most excited about having an impact on our subjects and we want as many people to be blessed by this as possible. That's going to require some year-round work which is where the expenses came in. But after the pushback, we were totally cool with dropping the idea all together. It's not that big of a deal. We'd rather the community be happy and in agreement. From now on, we'll be thrilled to run these big decisions by everyone first.Thanks againjeremy

  13. Once again, I'm clumsy. Even suggesting 20% is silly. My point is, we were just hoping to cover costs. Whether that's 2%, 20% or 50%. None of us are looking to pocket change here. I have plenty of other business to make a living from. The idea of really banking on help-portrait is honestly… just sick and wrong. In fact a year ago, I just wanted this to be a little simple video of encouragement to other photographers to give back. That was it. All this non-profit sutff is news to me. In fact we really pushed against even doing that. We just wanted this to be a movement and that's it. But for a long list of reasons, it turned out to be wise to make it a non-profit. In the end, there are 6 other people on the Help-Portrait team with me. I've never seen such warmer hearts in my life. Not exaggerating. Kyle, Annie, Lori, Amy, Matt, etc.. they've all given relentlessly to this thing cause they all know and I know that this is what life is about. This is so much more exciting than anything I've ever done for sure. I could care less if there are t-shirts, non profits, websites, etc. Honestly, it's all just complete nonsense. What keeps me ticking is hearing the stories of lives being impacted. The story of someone getting their first photo EVER just does not get old. It's 1000 times cooler than seeing my name on CNN. Sure the publicity is cool for a minute but it fades quick. The stories are what's lingering with me. And I just wanted the world to hear them. Unfortunately my approach to that was impatient and clumsy. But you need to know that we're on the same page as far as our intentions and dreams.

  14. I'm glad Jeremy. I respect your photography greatly and what you have done and are doing with Help Portrait. I really do appreciate you coming here and filling in some gaps. I look forward to seeing what you and Help Portrait come up with in the future.Thank you again,Scott

  15. No problem. We need to fill in some gaps with the rest of the community as well. I'm sure there are many. For example, many people questioned why we were going to "credit" the photographers. My only intention for doing that was that it didn't come across as a photography book by Jeremy Cowart. I wanted it to be VERY clear that this is a community effort. We never explained that and certainly should have.Thanks againjeremy

  16. I noticed that but I figured it wouldn't under your name. I guess that's another problem.. Everyone is taking the emails differently. Off topic: I am however looking forward your book!Scott

  17. Scott. As one of the organizers of this movement, I know the details about the shirts, book and future of Help-Portrait intimately and welcome the opportunity to dialogue with you here about it. But first, some questions:

    Did I miss an email from you that asked about the things you mention above?

    Was there a discussion somewhere about where the shirt and book profits would go that I wasn't aware of?

    On the note of making money, if this was your own idea, wouldn't you want the ability to grow it as much as possible so that more people could be involved and impacted in future years? Imagine if we had 10,000 photographers working next year? We would collectively see over 100,000 portraits given, based on this years statistics. Is it wrong to want to grow?

    Maybe a better question is this. Is it wrong to make money as an NPO? Your new project, The Giving Lens is clearly about raising money. Should I assume that's to line your pockets too? Not at all. I'm sure you see the same potential we do and you're rallying those who want to give back. Sound familiar?

    This is your blog and you are welcome to say whatever you want on it. However, rather than slew accusations and assumptions about us, please take a few moments to ask first. Everything you've said above, simply isn't true.

    Kyle
    kyle@help-portrait.com

  18. Jeremy,

    I appreciate you responding as well. We all make mistakes and learn from them of course so not explaining things well is understandable. Your business manager says 20% is good to keep but I and many others look at it like this:

    Let's say that you sell $3000 profit of clothing. 20% is $600. A website only costs $10 a year for the name and maybe another $90 or so for hosting. I know you pay for a Ning account for the community so that is another $60 a year. For under $200 the website and community is taken care of for a year. $600 is paying for 3 years of Help Portrait. Great! But where is the other $2400 going? That is the part that has yet to be said to the community. Or did it and we missed the email?

    My point basically is that although you are all trying to straight forward with the community things aren't being said. If things are going to change from here on out then maybe I will reconsider in the future.

    I will never stop giving back to the world. I love giving and I love photography. So if I give back from Help Portrait, under The Giving Lens name or under my own name it doesn't matter. The point is to give and not ask for anything in return.

    I really do thank you and Kyle both for commenting on what I had to say and again, what I wrote is not to cause problems. I just wanted to get how I felt out there and also speak for those that haven't written it but have said it.

    Scott

  19. On a local level this is an easy one. We won’t be using any of the donations to cover of our expenses . All volunteers will give of themselves freely and absorb any out of pocket expenses, however this will be kept to a minimum. The only expenses we might have to cover of might be sandwiches and drinks but we also hope to have this donated. I, being the person who started up the “Help Portrait St John’s” group will not handle the donations. We will have two people over seeing this and will donate and it will be donated to a local community group.

    That being said I do worry about this becoming too commercial but then again there has to be some logistics behind it and when it comes to the day at hand the people we photograph become the stars.

    This will be our first Help-Portrait here in St John’s Newfoundland Canada. Looking forward to it.

    Brian Carey
    http://sjhelpportrait.blogspot.com/

    1. I wish you luck with your HP event!

Leave a Reply

Close Menu