When Karen Alsop started The Christmas Wish Project, she wanted to bring the Christmas spirit to children’s hospital beds around Australia. Along with many volunteers, this photographer and digital artist has brought smiles back on the faces of many sick children. The project has been growing every year, it went global in 2018 – and now you can join it, too.
Karen and her team are running workshops around Australia to train up new volunteers for future projects. But no matter where you live, you can join the project to edit photos and help create magic for children who will spend their Christmas in the hospital.
“It wasn’t until I started The Heart Project that I truly realised how powerful and life-changing photographic digital art could be,” Karen told DIYP. “From small beginnings of photographing a 5-year-old girl that couldn’t speak or walk, and freeing her to fly with butterflies, our impact is now making a difference across the world.”
The major sponsor of the project is Nikon Australia, and they recognized it as a valuable project – which it definitely is. The Christmas Wish Project has gathered a team of 50 editors, headed up by Charm Hauraki from New Zealand. They have been creating backgrounds and they will be editing the photos 24/7 as they are uploaded by the teams. There are also 50 backgrounds created by Photoshop artists from around the world for Christmas Wish specifically.
For the first time, the project is also running in the USA. Karen tells us that the project had a group from Idaho run Christmas Wish on Saturday, 16 November, and another group from New York will run a shoot early December.
While the editors have already been selected for the 2019 project, you can join the workshops and improve your editing skills. This way you can join the next year’s project, as it will certainly grow further. Volunteers around the world will be able to edit images taken in Australia, as well as in other countries.
Two workshops were already held in Australia, but there are three more to come and you still have time to sign up:
- Monday Nov 25th – Perth Workshop
- Friday Nov 29th – Sydney Workshop
- Monday Dec 2nd – Brisbane Workshop
As for the shooting dates, one Christmas Wish shoot was done in Idaho on the 16th of November, and the one in Adelaide is today. Take a look at the photos Karen and her team did for four brave Tokley boys, and you can read their stories here:
The remaining Christmas Wish dates are:
- Tuesday Nov 26th – Perth Christmas Wish
- Saturday Nov 30th – Sydney Christmas Wish
- Tuesday Dec 3rd – Brisbane Christmas Wish
- Friday Dec 6th – Melbourne Christmas Wish
“All editors and volunteers are trained in Photoshop Compositing and learn the fundamentals including cutting out subjects, placing subjects into scenes, adding shadow, embedding subjects into the scene and more,” Karen told DIYP. “Editors gain valuable skills being part of the volunteer team.” To register interest for 2020, fill out this form. You can also learn more and register here.
Take a look at a few BTS photos from the previous workshops:
“Christmas Wish is all about joy and hope. We see children who come in with the weight of the world on their shoulders, leave with a magical photo and an equally magically encounter with Santa and the team. These photos are precious memories that they otherwise would not have.”
If you want to make a difference and make someone happy, is there a better way than using your photography and editing skills? Go to Karen’s heArt Project website and sign up for a workshop or as a volunteer.