Local photographer Ema Whittaker is taking part in a global fundraising effort called “Movember,” a campaign that organizers describe as: “The leading global organization committed to changing the face of men’s health.”

Men all over the world (called “Mo Bros”) take the Movember challenge to grow a mustache during the month of November and raise awareness and money for men’s health issues. The campaign’s areas of focus include prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health as well as overall health concerns.

“I have friends in Hong Kong, Europe and the USA who have raised money this way in the past few years and I’ve always thought it was a wonderful and fun way to raise awareness of such a critical issue. I have a father, uncles, a husband and a son and men’s health is rarely in the spotlight, despite being so important to all of us.  So this year I decided to try to do a little fundraising and awareness-raising myself,” Whittaker explains.

According to the Movember efforts website, the participating Mo Bros themselves become men’s health advocates, as “walking, talking billboards for 30 days.” The campaign provides education and information via the website, but the individuals tend to personalize the message and the people that they are able to touch with their message, a more effective and impactful way to spread awareness. Organizers say research confirms that the Movember campaign is having a positive impact on getting men engaged and thinking about their health and taking preventative action. Compared to the general population, Movember participants spend more time thinking about improving their health, visiting a doctor or discussing their health with others.

Whittaker says she’s doing something similar–using her professional and artistic skills to encourage men to get involved and get educated, as well as to spread the word.

“I can’t grow a mustache (thankfully!) so I’m encouraging Wilton men to grow one – or a beard if they prefer. I’m offering professionally photographed headshots of both the hirsute face and the clean-shaven afterwards (if they chose not to keep it). In return I’m asking the men to make a donation of their choice, 100 percent of which I will donate to Movember on their behalf.” Participants will receive a high resolution digital headshot, for which Whittaker typically charges $120.

To take up the Movember Challenge with emawhittaker photography, individuals can visit her website, email her at emawhittaker@optonline.net or call 203.257.4745. For more information about Movember, visit the official website: