The Ottawa Portrait Project 

a humanitarian photography project 

My work as a photographic artist is taking a direction that I'm really excited about! 

It is important to me that I use my artistic skills to help people in my community. The Ottawa Portrait Project is one of the ways that I have chosen to work towards this mission. 

Poverty erases people. It limits their choices, robs them of their dignity, and skews their identity. The Ottawa Portrait Project aims to be sensitive to these realities. It is my hope that people who don’t usually have the opportunity to be photographed because of financial constraints, will benefit from this experience. This project recognizes the needs for dignity and respect, to be acknowledged and appreciated, to belong, and to be remembered.

Regardless of our circumstances, everyone deserves to be seen through a lens of equality.  We feel respected if we know we are appreciated for who we are, now. For me, as a photographic artist, this belief translates into “Everyone deserves to have a beautiful portrait done”.

Poverty reduces the amount of control people have over their own lives. Through this project, people are given the opportunity to express how they would like to be photographed. It’s not about the subject being an object. It’s about the subject’s active participation in the creation of the image. They can say, “This is me, and this is how I would like to be portrayed”. It is a collaboration between photographer and subject. 

Disadvantaged people are too often exploited for the sake of art. I question the motivations behind exposing the painful aspects of peoples' lives while they are vulnerable. What about their strengths? Their joys? Furthermore, what about their privacy and dignity? This project is not about showcasing peoples’ pain in an intrusive manner, but rather allowing their beauty to shine through despite their circumstances.

The Ottawa Portrait Project is an ongoing activity, including upcoming exhibitions. The main purpose of exhibiting is to raise awareness and funds for the project. Photographs will only be displayed with the participants' written consent. In all cases, each individual, couple, or family, will receive a framed portrait to keep. 

More info coming soon on how to support the The Ottawa Portrait Project!

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