Heartsapart: Creating Stunning Military Portraits

Rob Moody, a good friend of ours at Fstoppers, has been working on an interesting video project with Heartsapart.org. Heartsapart has made it their mission to capture military soldiers and their familes before they are separated through deployment. Photographers from all over the Southeast have come together to help this in this cause, and Rob has done a great job bringing this story to the public. I can really appreciate this because I grew up in a military family, and I know how important a photograph can be for those who are stationed overseas for extended periods of time. Check out this great video as past Fstoppers spotlight photographer Brownie Harris takes you in his studio to photograph several families.

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Sean Rice's picture

This is a brilliant piece. I am working on a series like this and what perfect timing for the inspiration Thank you!

Jim Cunningham's picture

I wonder if Afghani and Iraqi children have these stylish photos of their moms and dads...

Ghislain Leduc's picture

The first Behind the Scene that feel odds...

Jessica's picture

This is really great, I am a very new learning photographer - but this motivates me in a new way to want to be better. Perhaps as this project grows one day I can be a part of it too! Way to go!

Greg Knight's picture

As an amateur photog, this is amazing! I wish I had the equipment and expertise to help out this effort!
Thank you to all the service men and women, but also to the folks that take part in this great service allowing our soldiers to be able to connect with their WHY even when they are thousands of miles away. These are memories that I know they will cherish forever.

Kristopher Armstead's picture

This is great. I want to become involved. I live in a big military town, and I have a lot of friends who are going through the stresses of a family member being deployed. This is a great idea.

Donnie Bell Design's picture

Anything we can do for the people who put their lives on the line I'm completely fine with.

Will Dickerson's picture

I live close to a "training base"... lots of opportunity for me to get involved...!!!
plus my son is deploying soon, and I am a veteran....so I'm definitely looking into this...


Levy's picture

The US military deserves the best! I will always photograph military families for free! I've got a brother in the Army and another about to join the Navy. We live in the BEST country in the world!

Henry's picture

Love it!!! This is awesome!!!

Patrick Hall's picture

@domagoj, I can't google a single portrait photographer in Iraq so I'd say they don't have that freedom yet :)

Rob's picture

We are a non-profit group. We accept photographer applications via our website or by contacting:
To be a photographer: brownie@heartsapart.org
To schedule a family portrait: Portraits@HeartsApart.org
To volunteer: Volunteer@HeartsApart.org
To join as a sponsor: Sponsors@HeartsApart.org
To donate: Donate@HeartsApart.org
Press Relations: press@HeartsApart.org

HeartsApart.org was created to keep families connected while our military men and women are serving abroad. Through the efforts of our community's finest photographers, HeartsApart.org provides our soon to be deployed servicemen and women with pictures of their spouses and children. The photographs are printed on waterproof and durable bi-folded cards, which fit securely in their uniform pocket. HeartsApart.org believes that our military personnel deserve and need the memory of their families to carry them through the difficult times that lie ahead.

Founded in North Carolina, home to Pope AFB, Seymour Johnson AFB, Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, MCAS Cherry Point and MCAS New River, we have begun our volunteer efforts in our own backyard but hope to organize and mobilize photographers across the country.

The goal of HeartsApart.org is simple. As long as servicemen and women are in harm's way and separated from their families, we will be taking pictures. There is no end to the project - just a commitment to continue to serve our Armed Forces while they continue to serve us.

Ed Kelly's picture

That is truly some great stuff going on. God bless our military and their families. And thanks to all the photographers for doing what they do best. Putting a smile and a memory on a piece of paper, that last forever.


Evan Wilson's picture


Whilst I agree wholeheartedly that this is an amazing cause, and in fact shows that there are people who still support the soldiers, and the families of those soldiers involved in any unnecessary war... comments like yours are why I think all of this happens in the first place.

I don't mean to stir the pot, but this video is about the people, not the country... I'm Canadian by birth, now living in the UK, and it has always troubled me that comments like these are borne from unrelated issues. Asserting a country's dominance is so far from what this video is about that it just looks ignorant and obnoxious on your part. Whilst I believe that your message is one of pure pride, no one needs to shout about it. The reason the rest of the world looks at America the way they do is because Americans seem to be the only country in the modern world that feel the need to tell everyone else how great they are. Whilst you may believe that your country is the best in the world, it troubles me that your country agrees with you to the point that the Army, Air Force, and Navy are required to assert their political views onto an audience of uninterested ears.

I don't mean this as a personal statement against you, I mean it as a statement for all Americans, who perhaps don't realise that you're not the only country in the world, and to most others in this world, you're not the best by any means. To each their own, and I am happy that you are proud of your country, but remember that there's more than just you and your army in this world. :)

As for the video, what a beautiful project! I've seen a few Hearts Apart videos now, and if ever there was something for the American people to get involved in, and respect, then let it be this! A fantastic photographer, with a great team putting together what can only be described as lifetime memories for families who otherwise maybe couldn't have something like this. It's an absolute shame that America feels that such an army needs to exist, but as long as it does, I hope that projects like this are well and truly intact and servicing those who decide to lay down their lives for their country, justified or not.

Evan Wilson's picture

Patrick, following up from my previous comment, I love this site, and visit almost every day. The content is amazing, and you're the first to provide such a service to phtographers, and thank you for that.

Your comment though is one of ignorance, photographing a war-torn family has nothing to do with freedom. How many Iraqis with holes in their walls (if they have walls) do you think can afford a camera, and of those, how many do you think can start a business selling photographs for a reasonable amount, or have something else in their life to afford them the means to survive, let alone photograph their own war heroes for nothing?

I don't think you meant your comment as a harmful one, but perhaps it's worth taking a step abck from it, and reading it with an un-biased point of view.

All the best to you and the FStoppers gang.

Jim Cunningham's picture

@ patrick, to go down that humorous path...maybe that's because these same guys from the video blew up all of their servers and internet providers? :-)

@ Evan, well said :-)

Patrick Hall's picture

Oh I'm not trying to be humorous at all....those regimes are very suppressing no matter how biased I may be toward democracy. I don't want FS to become a place of political debating, but don't you think that a hostile environment in a 3rd world country probably doesn't have a booming photographic economy? I'm not seeing a lot of portrait photographers in Iran either; maybe google is blocking them from my searches?

@Evan, yes my statement probably didn't come across correctly. I think you nailed it on the head about the economy. With or without the US in Iraq, I don't think anyone in that region is focused on the same thing most developed countries are focused on. And that was my point towards DomagoJ's comment about the war being the reason for no family portraits...I don't think that's true, I think it has more to do with the beliefs of the region, the economy, the social structure, and of course the overall comfort of living. The same could be true about most of Africa and parts of eastern Europe. My comment only meant to say that the reason photographs like those being shown in this video are not in developing countries isn't because of a war involving the USA. It's because of oppression and lack of economic growth....I have no doubt once these countries turn the corner they too will have what a good portion of the world currently experiences. The way I intended to use the word "freedom" wasn't necessarily "democracy USA freedom" but rather freedom in the sense of an individual able to do whatever he wants to do economically, religiously, and politically. Even in fairly "stable" places like Dubai, you can't shoot half of the stuff we feature on FS in public or you would be arrested or kidnapped. To me that does not constitute freedom by any means.

Evan Wilson's picture

Very well said Patrick, and thanks for taking the time to clarify your point! I was pretty sure you didn't mean it the way I took it!

Anthony Tripoli's picture

As a former active U.S. Marine (never an ex-Marine, once a Marine, always a Marine) and now an aspiring photographer, this story really hit close to home. Thank you for sharing guys.