September 7, 2005 – Joining the relief efforts following the devastation left by of Hurricane Katrina, a group of professional photographers have banded together and formed the P.H.O.T.O. Foundation (Photographic Industry Helping Others To Overcome), which aims to help photographers whose businesses were wiped out by the hurricane rebuild.
The creation of the foundation was inspired by the story of Neil Hurd, a Metairie La. photographer who lost all of his photography equipment, along with 27 years worth of files and portraits, to the hurricane. Hearing of Hurd’s loss and similar reports from other photographers, his friends at Zookbinders Inc., a Deerfield Ill. producer of custom albums, decided to start an organization to help photographers affected by Katrina.
"Neil had just visited our facility a week before the hurricane. I was trying to reach him to make sure he was okay when, thank goodness, he was able to call us," said Karyn Newman, the album company’s key customer service representative, in a statement announcing the foundation. "After I hung up I had to do something to help – we’re like family."
Over 40 photography organizations and manufacturers have committed their resources to the foundation.
Anyone wishing to donate to the P.H.O.T.O Foundation is asked to mail donations to: P.H.O.T.O Foundation, P.O. Box 611, Deerfield, Il 60015. To contribute equipment, services or other assistance contact Karyn Newman at PHOTOReliefFund@zookbinders.com or Skip Cohen at PHOTOReliefFund@wppionline.com.