6400+ Unemployed at Job Fair


Over 6400 people came to the “Jobs Gone Wild” job Fair Thursday January 28th. 6400 unemployed people in one place! Over 200 of them wanted Free Business Portraits. Unfortunately I was only able to get to a little over 170 in the 4.5 hours I had to shoot. I wanted to stay and photograph them all but the facility had to kick me out due to another event schedule just a few hours later.

I arrived at 5:45am to begin setting up and to be interviewed by Michelle Buckman of Fox 29 News in Philadelphia. When I arrived fire alarms were screeching in our ears. After about 20 minutes they stopped temporarily. Then just 1 minute before we were to go live on Fox they went off again! Luckily they were just testing them and we were able to have them turned off in time for us to go on air. The interview is below. (and yes I have a cold)

I took over 550 images that day and I took the time to talk to each person I photographed. My job is not only to snap a portrait but to make people relax for that portrait. I will be blogging about the event again soon. I will have images of the photoshoot, the event and of course the lines too! I will also be adding some of the finished portraits when I get through all of them. Please check back often to learn more about how the event went. I was also interviewed by a reporter, Tina Susman of the LA Times and as soon as I know when that interview will be published I will be sure to add a link to it.

Moving forward I am looking for location hosts. Anyone that has the space where I can continue these events please contact me. I had to turn away over 50 people and I want desperately to help them all. As a location photographer I do not have a studio to use and I need a space that is in Philadelphia for these people. I am open to planning other events outside of the Philadelphia area as well. If you or your company can help, contact me via the Contact Michael page of this site.

If your company is planning layoffs, Free Business Portraits for those being released gives your employees a better chance at landing their next position. Please contact me so we can work together on helping those that need help the most.

Thank you all, Stay Tuned, and until next time…

Happy Shooting!

Only A Week Away!

Last year I created Free Business Portraits for the Unemployed to give back to my community. I wanted to do something for those around me that had found themselves without a means of paying their bills, wondering how they could ever afford a photo shoot if it is a challenge to put food on the table. I have been there. I know what it’s like to not have the money to pay the bills, to put all the bills in a hat and pull out the one you are going to pay this month. I have been without a home too. I have spent weeks living in my car, sleeping in it or on sofas. I know what it’s like to have nothing and I never want to be there again, ever!

I said to myself one day last summer, “what can I do to give back to all those that helped me? What can I do that will make people feel good and that will help them out of the jam they find themselves in?” What can I don’t have a lot of money, I don’t have a huge house or even a couch the average person can sleep on. I can take pictures and I do that well. I can take peoples portraits and I can help them look their best when recruiters and potential employers look at their resume’ on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. That is something I can do!

So back in August of 2009 I did my first Free Business Portraits for the Unemployed. I was impressed by how grateful everyone was and how it seemed to be big news that I was doing such a thing. I’m still not sure why being nice to people is news, but it got the word out to people and we were busy all day. I was able to make people smile because I was there to help in an unconventional way. There is nothing in this world as gratifying as lending a helping hand. Nothing feels so good as when you look into a person’s smiling face and they say, “Thank you.”

When Michelle Buckman of Fox 29 asked me if I wanted to do it again, how could I say no? So this time next week I will be making final preparations for the next session of Free Business Portraits for the Unemployed. This time we are going to be shooting at a job fair. Not just any job fair but Fox 29 (http://www.myfoxphilly.com) and JobCircle’s (http://www.jobcircle.com) “Jobs Gone Wild!” job fair! (http://www.jobsgonewild.com/)

These events are a tone of work for all involved. If you think about it, even the participating companies have a heck of an investment. There is the space they have to rent there is the booth (and trust me, they ain’t cheap), the staff to staff the booth, the onsite quick interview, the follow-up and review of all the resumes and inquiries they get and that only gets them to the point where a standard ad on a job board gets them. That’s a lot of work!

Are you giving back to yourself? Are you working as hard as these companies are working to land your next position? If you are trying to help place someone, are you coaching them to make sure that when they attend these events or go on interviews that they are dressed properly? Do you ave the same information on your LinkedIn or Facebook account as you do on your resume’? Do you have an image in person that matches your picture on social networking sites?

If you are not 100% with any of these questions, you want to attend this job fair. This event is going to be different. There will be the usual resume’ critiques and the companies looking to hire, but that is about where similarity ends. There is also going to be a personal stylist. Adrienne Simmons of “PS I Love You” (http://www.psiloveyoullc.com/) to give advice on your attire and your look. Does it match the position you are striving for? Or are you dressing for an entry level position?

Don’t forget to come see me too! Get your picture taken! Why not? You’re dressed nice anyway, you may as well get a good portrait done. Besides, your parents or spouse will love having an updated picture of you!

I hope to see you on the 28th at the Wachovia Center in South Philadelphia. Bring your resume and your smile!

Until next time, Happy Shooting!

Free Business Portraits for the Unemployed (yep, again!)

It has been too long since I last did the Free Magick Portraits for the Unemployed so I am doing it again in January. This time I will be doing free portraits for the unemployed at the Wachovia Center in South Philadelphia.

The event will be held during Fox 29’s ‘Job Shop’s Jobs Gone Wild’ on January 28th from 10am until 2:30pm. You will be able to see all the details after the first of the year at www.myfoxphilly.com and click on “Job Shop” right on the home page. Michelle Buckman, reporter for Fox 29 has graciously asked me to participate in the event and I have to admit that I am honored to say the least.

Free Magick Portraits for the Unemployed is my way of giving back to the community. Since I came up with the concept last summer hundreds of photographers from all over the world have asked me how they can put on their own events. I have had inquiries from Ireland, Perth Australia, Alberta Canada, Mexico, California, New York, Kansas, Washington State, Virginia, to name just a few. Below are just some of the photographers planning Free Magick Portraits sessions; some have been scheduled some are coming soon.

Kim Robbins – www.kimrobbins.net (California)
Richard Hockett – www.sunridgephoto.com (California)
Arnim Vogel – www.action-image.com (Canada)
Eugene Lane – www.eugenelanephotography.com (Ireland)

I have to say that I have never met a more grateful bunch of people in my life. Everyone is suffering the uncertainty and the stress of not knowing what is coming next; not knowing what they are going to do or how they are going to do it. Yet when they come sit for me, they smile and thank me. They are happy and positive. They know that this may help them and they are willing to show it. Each of them touches me in a way that I can’t describe.

Recently the LA Times wrote an article about a hair stylist who is doing a similar thing in New York. He is giving away haircuts for those in need and that are unemployed. He was only going to do it once but there was such a demand that he set aside a specific scheduled time to do them on a weekly basis. I know how it feels to give to someone in need and it feels good.

So if you are unemployed and want your picture done for your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or other social media site, mark the date on your calendar. Come down to the Wachovia center on January 28th and get ready to have a productive day. You will have the chance to meet HR directors, Hiring Managers, myself and even Michelle Buckman from Fox 29! Don’t forget to bring resumes and lots of smiles. This is your chance to get the interview you want and to look your very best too.

In the mean time, check out the Job Shop on www.myfoxphilly.com and look for the announcement soon! Or E-mail me at freeshots@michaelalbany.com

Until next time,
Happy Shooting!