Capturing the Christmas spirit

Photographer gives special gift to families in need: Christmas photos

Christmas is a time for giving and one Green Bay photographer has found a special way to do just that, by using his talents to bring a little cheer to needy families.

Scott Eastman takes a photo of Manuel Yanez, six months, during a Help-Portrait photo session at the Green Bay Salvation Army Center Dec. 7. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

Scott Eastman takes a photo of Manuel Yanez, six months, during a Help-Portrait photo session at the Green Bay Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center Dec. 7. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

Last Saturday, Scott Eastman, owner of Great Scott Images and a freelance photographer for The Compass, spent most of his day at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center  with a crew of volunteers taking free Christmas photographs of children and families. Each family walked away with five 4×6 prints and a website address to download their photo.

“There are 43 families signed up, totaling something like 115 people,” Eastman told me during a break between photo sessions. “It’s awesome because (children) come in their little Christmas outfits” to have their photos taken.

Eastman brought his own lighting and camera equipment, as well as a desktop computer and printer, to the center and set up a portable studio near one of the entrances. With the help of Salvation Army staff, he was able to register families for the free Christmas photo shoot.

Scott Eastman's photograph of Manny. (Courtesy of Scott Eastman)

Scott Eastman’s photograph of Manuel Yanez. (Photo courtesy of Scott Eastman)

“This week during their Christmas interviews for families applying for assistance, they let those people know” about the photo opportunity, he said, noting that families seeking assistance from the Salvation Army “are the exact kind of families that we felt we could make a difference for.”

Eastman’s photo project is actually part of an international initiative begun five years ago by celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart. The photo project is known as Help-Portrait.

“When (Cowart) started it five years ago, I knew I wanted to be part of it,” said Eastman. “This is our second time (participating) out of the five years of Help-Portrait. We did this a couple of years ago at Golden House and Freedom House.”

Eastman sees the opportunity to share his talents helping others in need as an example of Christian stewardship.

“We are each given an allocation of treasure and of time and of talent, and I don’t think that we’re called to just share our treasure,” he said. “I think that we are called to share our time and our talents as well.

“So if I’ve got the time and the ability to take pictures, I get that that’s not going to put food on their table … or presents underneath their tree,” he explained, “but if I can help them capture just a little bit of Christmas magic, then I’m doing my small part.”

Seeing young moms getting their children ready for a photo session is Eastman’s reward.

“That idea of moms licking their fingers and making (a child’s) hair right or getting dirty faces clean — that doesn’t know a demographic,” he said. “Moms are moms, and so to sit there and watch a mom take pride in her family, that’s a cool thing to capture.”

About Sam Lucero

Lucero is news and information director for The Compass and a 30-year veteran of the Catholic press. When not at his desk, he enjoys taking photos and posting them online to share with friends. His “Bugs Up Close,” a macrophotography gallery of insects and plants found in his back yard, is a work in progress.  To see a sample go to his Inspired Images website. Follow him on Twitter for tweets about church, photography and technology.