Photographers create magical Christmas portraits for 200 sick children around the world
“When we provide a printed portrait to the families for the first time, you see tears in their eyes." Read all about the global project bringing a “little bit more love” to families staying in hospitals this festive season.
Photographers take pics of kids. (Photo: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA)
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Photographers have created breathtaking Christmas portraits for 200 sick children around the world.

The Heart Project saw over 100 volunteers visit hospitals to bring Christmas joy to families spending time in hospital over the festive period.

The children suffer from a variety of ailments and conditions, some life-threatening. Sadly, some of them may not see another Christmas.

They were photographed with Santa in front of green screens in Bristol and Devon in the UK; Victoria, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth in Australia; Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in New Zealand; and Ontario, Canada.

Photoshop editors and artists then got to work on the images to create the magical scenes.

Photo: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA

Karen Alsop (39) from Melbourne, Australia, who directed the Christmas Project, hopes it will bring a “little bit more love” to families staying in hospitals this festive period.

“Each of the children were placed in a scene to match their pose and what they were doing, then the magic was created in Photoshop,” she said.

“Some of the children couldn’t get out of their beds, so we put them into the scene to give them the magic even if they couldn’t come to the green screen [where images are layered together] studio.

“We have everything from a nighttime theme with snow, we have kangaroos, a dinosaur, beautiful Christmas lounge scenes, and a range of environments.

Photo: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA

“It all brings a bit of the magic of Christmas.

“There are some of the children who may not make it to next Christmas.”

She spent three months working on the project which has united children, families and creative people all over the world.

“We have seen the highs and lows, with improvements in some children’s conditions,” Karen said.

“When we provide a printed portrait to the families for the first time, you see tears in their eyes.

Photo: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA

“For some, this is their first family portrait due to their child’s conditions and regularly being in and out of the hospital.

“It makes it worth all of the time and effort seeing a difference and the joy it brings.”

One of Karen’s favourite scenes, created by Iowa artist Ben Shirk, shows a little girl in New Zealand, unable to leave her bed, reaching out towards a reindeer in a snowy scene.

Photo: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA

“The little girl didn’t want anything to do with Santa at that time and it was hard to get the shot.

“But in the end we got her reaching out and then Ben created this masterpiece of her reaching out to a reindeer. It’s magnificent and a fine art piece her family can put on their wall.”

The campaign continues to fundraise so that its band of volunteers don’t have to pay towards the project and to give more families free prints.

“We’ve had some support from companies to cover our costs, but a lot of our volunteers are reaching into their own pockets to cover airfare, accommodation, food and more,” Karen said.

Photo: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA

“Then also the prints and mats for families, all the funds go towards the costs that help us to be able to give these things to the families.”

Source: Magazine Features

Pictures: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA


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