When we first decided to run photo workshops in Kenya, we had a very long list of what we wanted, we had some really lofty goals, which I am very happy to relay that we were able to accomplish. Cameras4Change is proud of what the digital camera workshops can build in to the curriculum, we know that there are some key fundamental skills, lots of community building, self awareness and loads more that goes along with sparking creativity through photography. We took alot of time to consider different ways to ignite specific pathways of thought, and to get them freeflowing with their creative juices. When the workshops were in full throttle we gave specific assignments and urged the participants to push themselves, but afterwards we realized that the opportunity to photograph what gave them meaning in life was not that different from any other teens. What we forgot about was the plain and simple truth of allowing them to photograph what they wanted to, that being themselves with their friends, because the value of that was actually pretty huge. We looked at this as a visual architecture of their own history, and knowing the importance of that in our own lives, it is not that mysterious that they would be doing this right away and as much as possible once they had a camera in their hands! It gave them joy, it made them forget for a while what all of the difficulties were in their lives, it made things seem all the more possible, and afterwards when they actually held the photos that they took there was even more excitement. Simple and effective.
Community happens where ever we are on many different levels, from family and loved ones, to friends through school, online, and probably many more places. We at Cameras 4 Change celebrate community in all of it’s forms. We continually make new friends and add to our community, and often photography is a part of making, creating and celebrating community. As we come together for different reasons, graduation, birthdays, weddings, reunions, we may take for granted the ease at which we can utilize cameras, phones, photography and imagery to architect our own stories, and give us a well seated place in our own history. Just think to the many times you were able to look at family photo albums, knowing and understanding your past in a deeper way. This ultimately gives a firm footing of self and how you move forward in the world.
One of the greatest parts of the C4C workshops is giving those that don’t have this opportunity the chance to use cameras, take the pictures that they want and keep those memories activated. The joy alone that we saw on the girls faces as they handled the photos that they created is worth it for us! In fact our team witnessed the moving evolution of the emotional reaction to being able to take photos and keep them. It swiftly begins to build in a level of self that is quite profound. We saw some girls transform from quiet, disengaged participants, to joyous, excited participants. The level of engagement was palpable and really validated the power of photography, creativity and expression, and magnified what we were able to do with the children.
Sol Garcia shows students at Heshima Kenya digital imagery and they can’t wait to get started!
Taking pictures of close friends was definitely at the top of the list for girls that have been dislocated from family. Top: Heshima Kenya, Bottom, Maasai Girls Education Fund
Our first set of C4C grads at Heshima Kenya, all holding their cameras!
Girls from the Kajiado Educational Center/Maasai Girls Education Fund after finishing the workshop!
Going home with the camera was very exciting!! One participant taking shots as the school mini bus takes them home!