Three years ago, the PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMDA) decided one of its most important roles would be to develop a program that enables the photo-imaging industry to give back in a meaningful way.
Using the power of photography as its foundation, the group embarked upon a program that brings family portraits to military families deployed overseas, to try to ease the pain of being separated from their families during the holiday season.
Working with Soldiers’ Angels, a grassroots organization dedicated to helping soldiers feel closer to home, the PMDA began the Portraits of Love program with the goal of sending 10,000 family portraits to soldiers overseas for the holiday season.
In the first year, the association reached out to independent photographers across the country, asking them to volunteer their valuable time and creativity to invite military families into their studios for a free portrait, and more than 300 volunteers responded. They also scheduled portrait sessions at Fort Hood in Texas and Fort Lewis in Washington, where military families could have their portraits taken at their home bases. With the support of many PMDA members, and especially Fujifilm and SeeHere.com, they set the foundation of a program that would have a meaningful impact on the lives of military families across the globe.
Since its first year, Portraits of Love has expanded dramatically. In 2011, more than 400 independent photographers gave their time to this worthy cause. The PMDA was also joined by JC Penney Portrait Studios in 2010 and teamed with the USO in 2011 to extend its outreach to six USO locations. In addition, the PMDA expanded its on-base portrait locations to Tinker Air Force Base (Oklahoma), Fort Carson (Colorado) and Nellis Air Force Base (Nevada). Both photographers and families responded, with more than 600 families taking advantage of this program on those four military bases alone.
The Portraits of Love program has been featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, as part of his “Making a Difference” segment, the CBS Sunday Morning and the Today Show, as well as in USA Today. It has also been covered in local television stations and newspapers across the country.
The PMDA Portraits of Love program is a true testament to our industry using the power and resources of its collective companies to give back to soldiers who are fighting for our country. The PMDA has reason to be proud of its efforts as it looks forward to continue growing this important program to reach the goal of 10,000 portraits in the years to come. pmda.com