Home is Where athe Heart Is


This is El Hulk, I met him last week in Hueyapan Morelos. An unlikely custodian of human faith, but his calm certainty as to the activity in this home helped to ground me. Hulk is lying in The morning sun, not unusual, but the cement pad he is lying on was once surrounded by four walls and had a roof. Only 4 days prior to this photo it was a family home and had been for years. unfortunately thousands of homes were lost in the September earthquakes. This week I will be visiting other areas in Chiapas and Oaxaca to see firsthand The situations There. I have been impressed with the resiliancy of those affected and the civil Response. Me encanta Mexico.

PS thankyou to Hertz Mexico For assisting with Transportation on My Part of The trip!

 

 

#islaurbana #TallerLUUM #ProyectoConcentrarte
#HaTaTukari #Temblor #FuerzeMexico
#Hertz

Human Spirit Is Alive and Well – Hueyapan Morelos


The above image Is a photo of Ernestina Espinoza Gonzales, 60 of Hueyapan Morelos. After sharing a ride to her Home Where She chatted happily we were stunned to find It had completely collapsed, She had no home and yet the following morning arrived with fresh hot tortillas in thanks for the food and blankets we had distributed to her and her neighbors. Only through photos and vídeos have we been able to process And share the reality of this.

The past week has been momentous here in Mexico. After the 7.1 earthquake here in Mexico City I collected vídeos and photographs of the effects. Collapsed buildings, people trapped, rescuers, trauma and more. Photographing and recording kept me moving through the night, this was the beginning. As the week moved forward the reality and brevity of the situation became more apparent and the realization of the devastation in Morelos was close to Home asa Good Friends Family lost the entire home. A Group of 35 Volunteers From 4 different organizations came together in Hueyapan Morelos where approximately 60 percent of the structures were lost and damamged. I spent the weekend documenting and assessing the state to create a plan to Support the rebuilding process. The amazing Spirit of the people that Live There was repeated Over and Over again. These people were akready moving forward on their own, doing what they could when they could. Tyr appreciation on their faces and written in Signs Everywhere thanking Volunteers for Support. Please consider becoming part of this process, funds go towards Building material as this part of Mexico knows how to build their own Homes, they only need materials.

$25 buys a piece of corrugated metal for a roof.
$125-200 builds a roof for a family

Two ways to donate, directly to the Mexican Charity I am aligned with, or in Canada to Cameras4Change

https://www.paypal.me/luum

hhttps://www.paypal.me/C4Ctemblor

Flight – bringing awareness through photography to newly arrived refugees

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Thanks to the hard work of Cameras4Change volunteers Maxine Bulloch and Kathryne Racich, ten recently arrived refugees and immigrants to Canada were provided with cameras and equipment from Nikon Canada, Lowepro and Sandisk to document their first thoughts and interpretations of Canada. The project, entitled FLIGHT was in collaboration with local organisations, DIVERSEcity and MOSAIC with support from SIETAR.

The purpose of the project was multifold: for participants to create their own story of what it is like to start a new chapter in a foreign country and create a visual time stamp of where they are right now; to increase communication of what it is to be a refugee/immigrant in the wider community; and to forge connections and help create communities for participants.

Participants came to Canada from Myanmar, Thailand, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, and had been in Canada from between two months to two years. During the workshops which were constructed as an absolute safe-space and operated from a ‘do no harm’ frame, the participants talked about their experience of photography, what they were hoping to learn through their participation of the project and they learnt how to use their Nikon camera. At the follow-up workshops, participants shared what was opening up for them and their photos they’d taken, and photos were beautiful! Each person turned their camera and attention to what was important to them, with topics of interest including nature, symmetry, and symbols of the future. This was very much an exercise of ‘through the eyes of’, rather than having participants be in front of the camera – although if they wished to do so then by all means were free to! It was so great to see participants’ confidence grow during the project, and that reflected in the photography they did too.

From the images taken, the participants selected their favourite five and wrote descriptions to go alongside each and the chosen images were printed and exhibited from 1-7 April in a weeklong gallery located in Chinatown, downtown Vancouver in a space kindly donated by This Open Space. The opening was organized by SIETAR, and there were four speakers – Farooq Al-Sajee (Iraq/Syria), Josiane Anthony (Togo/Ghana), Daniel Tseghay (Eritrea), and Yashar Nijati (Iran), who helped educate the visitors of FLIGHT about the realities of the refugee experience. Farooq also serenaded us with his amazing classical improvised talents on the Oud.

FUTURE PLANS
– We are looking at connecting with organisations and city halls that are within the participants’ communities and beyond, in order to extend the exhibition. We are doing this with the aim of continuing advocacy and raising awareness – to increase understanding and to contribute to the building of stronger, more connected communities through dialogue and inner reflection.
– As a result of participating in the project, participants have expressed a desire for more programs, and for these subsequent projects to have longer durations. Thus, one of our future endeavors is to secure funding for the continuation of this powerful program, keeping in mind the needs and wishes of the participants.
– We are also looking for future collaborations with organisations and people who are interested in supporting newcomers and other societal groups going through transition or those who desire self-expansion through creative self-expression and dialogue.

To see a copy of the FLIGHT report and up-to-date news of what else is going on head on over to the FLIGHT Facebook page.

Check out this gallery of some of the work and words of the FLIGHT participants!

Waheed

Waheed, Afghanistan – “This is my favourite photo. It represents my longing for education in Canada, a desire I could not achieve as a refugee in Pakistan. University is something that builds someone’s capacity. I have sent an application and have been accepted to study.”

Rafi

Rafi, Afghanistan – “I like how the tree stands right in the middle of nature and the future. I think it represents how we are destroying nature and we think we’re making the world a better place but we’re really making it worse. I like how the tree doesn’t have a single leaf. It’s like the chemicals from behind have made it dry.”

Paw December

Paw December – “In the evening me and my nephew went outside to a pond because we wanted to see ducks. We brought duck food, and my nephew fed the ducks which they enjoyed very much. This is my favourite photo.”

Omar

Omar, Iraq – “Everything you see here is old. The chair, the clock, everything. I see English heritage in this photo. It is a classic look.”

Maryam

Maryam, Iran – “These two flowers represent that we can live together and share everything.”

Ku_Shee

Ku Shee, Myanmar – “This shows that Canadians love their pets. Even if they go to the snow they bring their pets. It makes me feel very happy that people walk with pets in the snow.”

Hlah

Hlah, Myanmar – “This is my favourite photo. It’s well known that people in big cities live a hectic life. I personally enjoy an easy life in a busy city.”

Fatemeh

Eh Hser, Myanmar – “My family took a walk with our neighbour. We’d never seen a tree like this, as we don’t have it in Burma. There were no leaves on it, just flowers. My son was so happy so I took a picture of him.”

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Bahar, Iran – Grande Prairie Alberta.
“Be strong against the problems. I took this photo as a memory on the last day that I was in Grande Prairie.”

Bahar

Fatemeh, Iran – “The snail in this photo showed me to live in any way that I want even if I am going to be alone sometimes because we only live once.”

Grateful for IWD2016

It is International Women’s Day and it seemed appropriate to bask in the glow of all the women in my life that I am grateful for.  From my family (mother and daughters, aunts and cousins) to the many amazing women that have inspired and given me friendship.  Also to the women photographers out there in the world whose work will always be a light to me.  I also feel so thankful for the women that I have met along the way and around the world as I have worked, both behind and in front of the camera, it really has been so awesome.  I made a promise to myself when I had been working for a while internationally, that when I took a photo of someone, I wanted it to honor something in them, their struggle, their joy, their story, and I never wanted to compromise anything about them in the taking of the photo.  In other words I wanted complicity, I wanted them to feel like they were in it with me on some level, we were doing this together.  So whether photographing a woman in the midst of her challenges, or in the buoyancy of her empowerment, or the arc of her hope, the photos would hold a deep truth for myself, the woman and anyone that viewed it.  I thank them all for allowing me to hold that moment with them, I will never forget you.  I also want to honor all the women photojournalists that have paid with their lives, you are never forgotten.

ccs_6055.jpg Full Circle Today is World Water Day Back to Basics #WaterWednesday WHO WILL CARE? Drop by Drop A MOTHERsLOAD Photo of the Day

Qmunity

WE are all about creating community at C4C and so when we were given the opportunity to work with the transgender youth group at Qmunity in Vancouver, we were delighted to come up with a novel idea for a workshop.  We wanted a short program that would be fun and not only give participants the chance to learn something through the experience of photography, but also create the space for them to safely share about themselves and get to know other group members too.

Lead volunteer facilitator Kimberley French decided that a polaroid portrait session, complete with lights and a backdrop would be the perfect solution.  The evening workshop began by meeting with the group and then sharing a short slideshow complete with an intro to the colorful and fun polaroid work of Andy Warhol.  After that we hooked up the participants into small groups so that they could each take turns photographing themselves and each other.  Afterwards they were encouraged to get even more colorful and use their creative writing skills to expand on themselves through the theme “What I like about being queer is ….”

All of the participants work was mounted on a wall to admire and then afterwards we all spoke about the experience.  We capped the evening off with a draw for a brand new Nikon Coolpix camera from Nikon Canada.

We loved the comments:

  • “This was the most fun I have ever had”
  • “These portraits really boosted my self esteem”       
  • “I have only ever seen photos of myself as a boy, and this is the first time there are photos of me as a girl, and I love them. I didn’t even know if I wanted to participate, but I am so glad I did”      
  • “I loved that you told us about Andy Warhol”

As ever we love creating workshops that allow others to explore themselves in a positive way, have fun, create a stronger community, and all through the art of photography!

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Big thanks to volunteers Kimberley French, Kathryne Racich and Cate Cameron

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Let’s Talk About It

When people hear about Cameras4Change they are immediately drawn towards the idea of an organization that uses cameras!  It’s fun, it’s creative, and we all pretty much love cameras and photography right? They want to know more, and often have questions as to the how and why.  Sometimes folks wonder if it is really plausible to make a difference by doing something as basic as photography?  Well…it is!

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When students first hold a camera you will know right away by the smiles on their faces that they are excited to photograph with an actual camera, it is a very different experience from that of using a cell phone.

Cameras are almost our magic tool, shooting with them our secret weapon.  We use them to connect with our participants, they connect with themselves, each other and us too.  Photography as an art form can be very thearapuetic, a way to expand on self evaluation, explore your life, your hopes and dreams as well as advocate for yourself or your community.

These simple workshops allow for participants to experience an array of creative skill sets, and follow through naturally with what they are most attracted or adapted to.  We often see group leaders and those that support them blossom when it comes to working in small groups.  We also dialogue with the participants to allow them to develop and create something that is actually their vision.  Not everyone is a natural photographer, but we also see some raw talent in the development of the program.  At the end of a C4C Workshop everyone gets to experience the pride and joy of showcasing their work in a community exhibit, and that is a brilliant moment, the smiles, the pride in working together and creating a cultural experience…that is in fact “priceless”.

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Whether you are 7 like Tenoch or 73 like Josefa, it is wonderful to create your own photos, because we all have a way of seeing things that is unique and special!

Walking in the Rain

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“Caminando en la lluvia” foto de Paulina, San Francisco, Xochimilco June 2015

 

The past 2 weeks spent in Mexico City were enormously rewarding.  Walking in the rain for me can sometimes be a meditation, and so are giving these workshops, there is so much to do that you really need to get into “the zone” and keep moving forward, one step at a time.  I loved this photo above taken by one of our students in San Francisco Xochimilco.  Paulina was obviously in her zone as she was walking with the camera, really in the moment, that is exactly why photography and cameras are such a great tool, they truly teach us to see exactly where we are at any given point in time!   We worked with 2 very different communities in Mexico City.  Each community arrives with eagerness and appreciation, and ends with pride and alot of joy! Although this time there was a large range in ages (from 5 – 72) it was wonderful to see a diverse slice of each community taking part together, and see the program work this way too, delivering to all ages at the same time!  Facilitating these programs takes a good amount of organization, as well as energy, not only do you work during the delivery, but there is a huge amount of tasks involved in prep for each day.  Cameras4Change also hosted a Facilitator Workshop for 5 of our Mexican partners from Isla Urbana, Proyecto ConcentrArte and Camaroni Produciones!  It is so wonderful to know that the program is in a replicable format and that it is happening throughout the year!  That is a big step for our little NGO!!!  Thank you to all that came out, and please check in our newly formatted Student Galleries to see the work from the two communities; San Francisco Xochimilco, and Milpa Alta!

 

 

Cameras4Change in Thailand – a volunteer’s story

Early this May, volunteer extraordinaire Justin Yapp partnered with C4C to run a program in Thailand!  We loaned Justin a workshop in a backpack! He took a small lowepro backpack with 10 Nikon Coolpix cameras, cards and a thumbdrive containing all of the essential information to run a C4C photoworkshop.  It was exciting to get his newsupdates and photos from the kids, so much so that we asked him to do a guest blog post and here it is!

This past June, myself and four other young adults from Vancouver ventured off to Chiang Rai, Thailand to volunteer at Baan Nam Jai (BNJ) also known as Home of the Open Heart– an orphanage developed for kids who have been affected by HIV.

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 10.23.39 PMDuring the kid’s summer break, we organized various activities such as swimming in a river, venturing through a night safari, walking at night markets, and after partnering with Cameras 4 Change, we were able to include photography.
These kids were able to express themselves through photography where words could not be expressed. Their passion, desire to be heard, love for their surroundings and love for one another are seen through their photographs.
Everyday we picked a topic such as shadows, favourite spots, plants, and friends and they eagerly ran up to us to show what they came up with… including multiple selfies. I remember one of the boys showing me a photograph that he took of his favourite spot in the orphanage and why it was important to him.
I am extremely impressed by their perseverance, hope, and outlook in life despite being marginalized and going through hardships at an early age. It was a privilege to be able to share that time with them and to be able to see things from their perspective through photography.
Thanks Cameras 4 Change for making this activity possible!

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A Community Celebrates through “Nuestro Foto” – “Our Picture” Camera Workshop!

Cameras –> Education –> Community –> Connection –> Action!!  Oh ya, and a lot of FUN!

So happy to post the photos from the final day of the first Cameras4Change workshop in San Francisco Xochimilco, a lovely community high in the hills above Mexico City.

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This was a large workshop with over 20 participants ranging in age from 6 -72!!  They all amazed us with their enthusiasm, wisdom with the camera and some absolutely beautiful photos.  The workshop took place over 6 days and ended with a public exhibit in the center of the community at the church of San Francisco.  Thank you to all that came and all that helped us from Isla  Urbana, our collaborative partner in Mexico and the community members in San Francisco!  The party started around 11 am with a special theatrical performance by Leo, and ended with sharing the work of the students along with their creative writing about water in their community – “Agua es Vida”.  It was an honor to work with you all.  At the end of the program all participants received all the images that they shot.  This week we will be meeting a new group in the community of Milpa Alta! We will be creating a special gallery of all of the students best work from these workshops, labeled with the community name!  Thanks again to Nikon Canada, Lowepro Bags and Sandisk for helping with the camera equipment, and to John Fluevog Shoes and all of our supporters for getting us here!

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Xochimilco Workshop with Isla Urbana

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Today was the first of 2 workshops here in different communities in Mexico City with our partners Isla Urbana!  Late this afternoon, Jennifer White of Isla Urbana and  I headed to a wonderful community high in the hills that flag the edges of DF  San Francisco is a community of needs within the delegacion of Xochimilco.  Isla Urbana are implementing a rainwater harvesting project here to satisfy the needs, and part of the overall process is to also provide cultural experiences within those communities.  This helps to solidify a bond with their clients, and also assists in solidifying the success of their programs.  We are delighted to provide creative experiences through photography.  When I asked the 20 participants ranging in age from 5 years to 72! ( yes there was a delightful 72 year old woman that came to our workshop) who had held a camera before, not one put up their hand.  They were so excited to get the cameras and we couldn’t help but smile.  One small boy who was going to share a camera with his mother had huge tears in his eyes and so of course we gave him his own camera to use!

Today was all about getting to know each other a little and introducing photography and cameras to the group, then we let them take the cameras to the streets for the first time.  Tomorrow we will be focusing on portraits.  I will be posting more as I can, it is a very busy workshop as there is only myself and one assistant with 20 people!!

Many thanks towards all of our tribe of supporters, from all of the individuals who have participated in our funding events, to our corporate partners, Nikon Canada, Fluevog Shoes, Sandisk, and Lowepro.  We couldn’t do it without you!

 

Below:  20 cameras tagged and ready to go out into the world, that would be 20 Nikon Coolpix point and shoot housed in some sweet little Lowepro bags and holding 8gig cards from Sandisk, thank you!

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