I just returned last night/morning (3 am…) from a short trip to Haiti with VisionTrust International and Help Portrait. We went as a team of photographers to photograph some Haitian families who have mostly never had a family portrait before, which was an idea that captivated me from the beginning. Help Portrait’s slogan, I learned from the back of someone’s t-shirt, is “A Picture is Worth.”
A PICTURE IS WORTH.
It startled me.
It made me stop.
And think. . .
And then it made me smile, because I realized it’s so true.
If we didn’t think pictures were worth, why the heck are there so many selfies taken every single day?
Many people take photographs in Haiti. I took several hundred on my first trip there in 2012, and I took all of them home with me for just my my friends and me to see. I did nothing for the people there but take, honestly. I took their picture, and I gave them nothing. I’m not saying this is inherently wrong, but I experienced something else this time around. This trip was different, thanks to the vision of these two organizations. We took from the people, sure, but we took only so that we could give. We printed off a photo for each family/individual that came to our setup sites (even our driver!), and the looks on the faces of the people are some of the most precious memories I’m taking home with me. A picture IS worth, and I saw it in their eyes. Many of them saw, perhaps for the first time ever or in a long while, that they do have worth. That someone sees them. That they are valuable enough to deserve something tangible that proves that someone sees them. And our hope was that maybe, just maybe, they would know they are seen and loved by a Perfect Father as they hold that printed photograph in their hands. That they would believe that poverty doesn’t define them. That perhaps they would believe they have something to give, too.