Photographer volunteers helping fellow artists gain recognition for free

Milton McLain takes days to display the pieces several times a year. (Image: WTVC)

A local photographer is volunteering his time, helping his fellow artists gain recognition for free in Chattanooga.

On this week's Pay It Forward, Jessica Harthorn surprises him at the Gallery at Blackwell.

Milton McLain makes art out of showcasing other people's art.

As a long-time member of the Photographic Society of Chattanooga, he knows the advantages of publicly displaying a print.

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Framed Photos, metal prints, canvas creations and multi-media designs.

They are all on display at the Gallery at Blackwell in Chattanooga.

"I put ink on it, colored it, painted it," said Professional Photographer Lin Prabish.

She showed us some of her creations.

"It is my escape," said Lin.

She says the venue is free for members of the Photographic Society of Chattanooga, a rare opportunity for some of the non-profit's amateur photographers.

Milton McLain takes days to display the pieces several times a year.

"He takes care of our work, protects our work," said Lin.

Milton will also organize a celebratory reception for the artist.

Today, Milton was called to the gallery and Lin was waiting for him with a creative surprise of her own.

"Ok. You're supposed to warn me before I do something like this," laughed Milton.

"I couldn't help myself. I just felt like you needed to be thanked for everything that you do. You do this gallery so perfectly, all the time, always smiling, and we need to thank you. Blackwell Automotive thanks you. We thank you. Newschannel 9 thanks you and the McMahan Law Firm thanks you, and so please hold out your hand. I would like to give you $500," surprised Lin.

"Whoa!" said Milton.

"1, 2, 3, 4, $500. Thank you so much. You are such an awesome person," hugged Lin.

Moments later, Milton took us for a tour of the gallery.

He says social media is a great medium for a photographer's exposure, but nothing beats having a print on display.

"I think it's something that brings out an emotional reaction, an emotional response," explained Milton.

Lin is now mentoring Milton, so he can someday open a studio of his own.

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Do you know someone who deserves $500 cash for volunteering? Nominate them here!

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