Message Portraits for Madiba Wednesday 27 June, 2012

Ubuntu Help-Portrait 94toGram for blog 920px

A call to participate in the creation of a digital photo collection of message portraits to celebrate the 94th birthday of Nelson Mandela. These will be published on Wednesday, 18 July 2012.

Celebrate Madiba’s 94th birthday

Take a Portrait | Record the Birthday Wish | Share the Message

Short and sweet!

So what’s this all about?
We’re inviting you to contribute a Message Portrait to celebrate the 94th birthday of Nelson Mandela. The collection will be published online on his birthday, Wednesday 18 July 2012, and made freely available to the public for download and use.

Why? ….because we wish to contribute to a wave of online birthday wishes and messages that celebrate the life and legacy of tata Madiba.

What is a “Message Portrait“?

Welcome to the 21st century!

It’s an image with the portrait and the birthday message on it.

But if you must be technical about it, you could consider it a composite.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger view and see examples for inspiration.

You can create this on location – if the message is written on a chalkboard or a wall that is included in the portrait – or in post-production by using editing software.

You are encouraged to be as creative as you wish!



What will I have to do?

As long as your final image includes a portrait and birthday message for Madiba, and it is within the format guidelines, you’re good to go. Click on the tabs below for more information.

This is “good old” portrait photography!

Planning for your portrait is a great way to start
Consider and then choose a style and approach that celebrates the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.
Choose a subject that is willing to be photographed, consents to completing the Model Release and also has a birthday message they wish to share.

Your portrait may be a close-up or even an environmental portrait.

Please ensure that the subject’s face is included.

Ask your subject to write a personal birthday message for Madiba.

It can be in any form – on paper, on a wall, on your iPad/tablet or even painted with light!

Yes, it can be in any language too, but please check that the message is not offensive.

Be creative, either on location or in post.

Please don’t forget to complete the Model Release with your portrait subject!

The final file – your Message Portrait – must include the portrait and the message in a single jpeg.

It must be saved in jpeg @ minimum 200dpi in landscape format up to 40cm [3,150px] width and up to 25cm [1,969px] height. The closer to this the better.

Allow some room at the bottom for the Ubuntu Help-Portrait logo which will be added by the project coordinators before publishing.

Take a photograph of your Model Release or scan it to create a digital copy.

The file and a digital copy of the Model Release must be uploaded to the 94toGram DropBox folder.

An invitation to upload to the folder will be sent to you after you have RSVPed for this event.

Please upload with care:

–  your jpeg file – the Message Portrait – to the folder titled”Message Portraits

–  the digital copy of the Model Release to the folder titled “Model Releases“.


I want to do this!  Beam me up Scotty

To participate, you need to RSVP for the 94toGram event. In order to do so, you need to be a registerd member of the global Help-Portrait community.

As you are already a member with a profile on the global Help-Portrait Community Homepage, you go via the short-cut!

Click here and RSVP for the 94toGram event.

An eMail invitation to share in the 94toGram DropBox folder and instructions on how to upload will be sent to you. Allow for up to 1 day for receipt.

Click here and download the announcement which includes the detailed guideline and Model Release for 94toGram.

Please follow the guideline and print a copy of the Model Release.

That’s it!

Thank you for your continued involvement and commitment to our Help-Portrait family.

Thank you for joining us. Welcome!

If you have not done so already, please click here and register as a volunteer.

An eMail will be sent to you to inform you of the progress of your registration, and also on the final steps you need to complete.

In the meantime, click here and download the 94toGram announcement which includes the detailed guideline and Model Release.

Thank you for your interest. We look forward to your participation and to sharing the joys of Help-Portrait with you!

Hello and welcome. Thank you for visiting our homepage and for your interest in 94toGram.

Please click here to download the announcement of our 94toGram initiative.

Click here if you wish to browse our homepage and explore some of the activities that we are involved in.

Our mainstay activity is our Free Portraits programme through which we give free printed portrait photographs to people in needy communities. In 2011 alone, we gave over 13,000 portraits at over 95 events. This year we are reaching again to the goal that eluded us last year: 25,000 free portraits!

Through our 4PBO programme, we also provide free photography services at events and functions hosted by public benefit organisations and charities that serve people in needy communities.

We’re a friendly bunch and we welcome new members and volunteers, even if you are not a photographer!

So come on, join us, like our FaceBook FanPage or follow us on Twitter.

We’d love to have you on board too!

I’m not a registered volunteer. Can I join and do I have to register? Why?
Yes, you can join: click here to register. Yes, you have to be registered volunteer. Your registration makes it easier for us to communicate with you. You also implicitly agree to participate in the spirit of the global Help-Portrait movement and any guidelines provided by Ubuntu Help-Portrait.

Will images be sold or will volunteers be paid?
No. The complete collection will be available to the public for free download and use and no payment will be made to any volunteers.

Are there any restriction on the images that may be submitted?
The image must include the subjects face as a close-up, portrait or environmental portrait. Please, no nudity or offensive images and please choose a style and approach that honours the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.

When and how will the collection be published?
On Wednesday 18 July 2012, on this homepage and the various social media pages of Ubuntu Help-Portrait. The complete collection may be downloaded here.

A final word

Nelson Mandela is a blessing and a treasure to South Africa and the world. 94toGram is a way in which we can honour his life and legacy.

It is simple way in which we can give others, especially ordinary people, the opportunity to share their “Happy Birthday Madiba” message and so much more.

94toGram is an opportunity for us to contribute, create, share and preserve a very special part of our future history. We invite you to join us!

Ok, let’s get on with it shall we!

If you’ve missed some of the action in past years, no worries – we’d love you to join us and add your smile and talents alongside other new faces.

So come on, RSVP here and then grab your gear and do what you love to: behind the lens capturing that portrait and being a part of this wonderful movement.

Bookmark these sites

Homepage – all information and links;
Group Page – connect with other volunteers
• Event list here or here – RSVP for events
• “Like” our FaceBook page
• “Follow” us on Twitter

Quick-check that you are connected

• to the Google Group here so that you can receive group-wide notices. If you are not, subscribe on the right hand side of that page;
• to the group on the global Help-Portrait community here and if not, login and select “+Join…” next to your login name on the right of the page.

And if you’re new, just start here and we’ll help you through the rest.
eNuf talk, action speaks louder than words: Alrighty, let’s do this!


Related Posts

Tribute Messages for Madiba
Tribute Messages for Madiba
Free Portraits, Shout Out
Happy Birthday Madiba!
Happy Birthday Madiba!
Free Portraits


  • Adam says:


    Regarding the messages, do we need to insert the actual hand written message into the image or can we retype it in photoshop as its written?

    Sometimes tough to import a clear copy of the handwriting from a scan


  • Hi Adam.

    Yes, you may also re-type the message and add it in photoshop.

    Similarly, the message may be incorporated into the portrait in any other creative or fun way! 😉


  • I was in Soweto on Saturday.I met a lady Martha
    Makheta. Her birthday is the same day. Would it be a happy thought to find all people born the same date and day as Madiba?

  • Hi Paula.
    Now a set within the collection of birthdays shared with Madiba would be awesome.
    It would have been grand if we had mentioned this at the outset.
    Nevertheless, do try by all means!

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