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

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!

 

 

Our Partners are making us Proud!

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Our lives expand in so many different ways, whether we tend to them or not, things will change.  So it is with the seeds that we have planted through Cameras4Change too!  We could not be prouder of the many accomplishments that have taken place in the past couple of years since we began this journey.  Our last workshop in Mexico City in June was the result of an ongoing collaboration between C4C and three different partners there.  Sometimes we don’t always know what will happen when we begin working with a new partner, but we are sure that the experience and work we do in these initial projects will be worthwhile in itself.  To our delight however, the partners in Mexico have taken things to an all new level, using our photo workshop model and incorporating it into their programs and proving the sustainability and legacy of what we envisioned from the beginning is possible!  Since the original workshop in June, Proyecto ConcentrArte has utilized the cameras gifted to the Paz Paz Bus for a number of different workshops in other areas in .Mexico, Huamantla and incorporated them into a longterm annual project they participate in every September in Cuatro Cienegas, a Mexican biological reserve.  This past week we learned that the cameras will now be used in a very interesting eco-project in Balancán Tabasco Mexico. Cameras4Change friend Shiara Gonzales, a veterinarian will be giving guided tours to groups of 9-12 year olds, touring them into the jungles where the Saraguato Monkey lives.  The Saraguato Monkey is an endangered species and the children will photograph the monkeys and their habitat as a way to explore their importance and where they live.  We love how the cameras continue to be utilized in new and creative ways, but more importantly that they continue to live on in meaningful projects, and others continue to experience the art and joy of photography, and tell their own stories in their own ways.

ecologiamono

Segunda Semana Internacional del Mono Saraguato Negro – Balancán, Tabasco, México

This is the ethos of cameras4change, community, learning, changing and growing!

…and so it grows!

These are some serious new photographers!!!

This is the exciting part of what we can do.  Making a connection and running a workshop is only the beginning.  What happens afterwards has the potential to be even more rewarding, and ultimately it is what we strive for at Cameras4Change.  Giving people that have never had the opportunity to use a camera is an amazing experience.  It is invigorating, soul defining and gives meaning to and for everyone involved.  Workshop participants usually take the camera and run with it, to take photos, to have the experience to define their world, to look back on who they are, where they come from, and then where they want to go!  Photography has the potential to offer all of this.  Our June workshops in Mexico were just that, and now our partner organizations are continuing an even deeper and rich legacy with the cameras we left behind!  We love these photos of the budding new photographers in Huamantla eager to take photos!!  Thank you to Liliana Riva Palacio of Proyecto ConcentrArte working in conjunction with Sistema Biobolsa and Isla Urbana.  Lili is creating a living legacy with the cameras from the workshops!!  It is fantastic that they are continuing to be utilized and introducing photography to whole new generations that would otherwise not have touched a camera yet!!


Cameras4Change a year in review

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 12.51.06 PMC4C 2014 AGM – A Year in Review V4

Here attached is a pdf document we want to share with our friends, it is a year in review recently presented at our AGM in June.  It has been a busy year for our C4C volunteers as you will see.  We will have a more in depth newsletter coming out soon, and look forward to sharing a short video from our Mexico workshop!  More photos in the attached PDF!

 

C4C 2014 AGM – A Year in Review V4

Take a Deep Breath

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Today is a day to do just that, take a deep breath and receive the moment.  The time Cameras 4 Change has spent here in Mexico has been in a word magic, or as they say here, “magico”.  Much like the beat of the drums of the Aztec Concheros, we have been drawn to the rhythm of many different ways of life here in Mexico.  First with the IRRI/Paz Paz Bus Project (partners include IRRI arms Isla Urbana, Sistema Biobolsa and Proyecto ConcentrArte) In DF, the largest city in North America, with over 30 million people, you can imagine the hustle, but we worked in Quiltepec, high on the south side overlooking the teaming city.  Life here is very different and the community amazed us with their ingenuity, and pride.  This coming Saturday we will finish the project there, culminating in a local exhibit and celebration.

As part of our objective with Cameras 4 Change, we also love to provide key imagery for the organizations we work with.  This trip certainly provided that opportunity.  Two of the partners Isla Urbana and ConcentrArte work in La Cebolleta, a remote Huichol community deep and high in the Sierra Madres.  Working on this project named Hata Tukari (Water is Life in the Huichol language Wirikuta) was an astounding experience, away from wifi via a 15 hour journey.  We also met and worked with Taller Lu’um (Mother Earth in Mayan) is the inception of partners Santiago Cosio Pando and Alan Favero.  The organization works with different indigenous women in Mexico providing a business model for women to sell handmade artisinal goods.  Since “transformation” is one of our tag words, the time spent in this community was exactly that!

I was also able to take a small printer and make photos for some of the community there, it was very exciting to share images of them with them!  Photos are so important to people, so make sure you print some of yours soon!! I can not wait to share some of the images!

Again I want to thank you, all of our supporters both here in Mexico and in Canada (and everywhere else too) for helping us to be here.      mex logos comp                      Our Partners and our supporters!!!  Muchas Gracias!!

Paz Paz Bus Supporters

 

Quiltepec Community C4C Workshop Day 1

Today we worked with 15 different community members in Quiltepec, a full range of boys, girls, men and women came together in a remarkable setting high atop Mexico City.  Silvia one of the communities leaders who helped to arrange logistics in the community also took part, it is wonderful to see all ages take up the cameras and create their own photos.  Today was all about getting to know each other and for the participants to get to know the cameras.  I am always excited to see what the participants photograph, but the look on their faces when they get the cameras in their hands is always incredible, what a gift!!!

Silvia brings us a snack from their gardenPPBWSDay1_0001 PPBWSDay1_0002 PPBWSDay1_0004Working under a tarp overlooking the city

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First shots with the Nikon Coolpix!PPBWSDay1_0024

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The Team: Renata Fenton, Liliana Riva Palacio, Thea Grivakes, Cate CameronPPBWSDay1_0030

The Workshop location in QuiltepecPPBWSDay1_0040

 

Quiltepec

We have been in Mexico City for less than 48 hours, and we are keeping a pretty busy pace!  Our first day was used to settle in and get basics taken care of, capping it off with a team meeting in the evening.  The four women we will be working with come from 3 different NGO’s, Renata Fenton and Carmen Hernandez of Isla Urbana, Rachel Smith from Sistema Bio Bolsa, and Liliana Riva Palacio of Proyecto ConcetrArte, are all formidible forces in terms of the work they do here in Mexico.  The Mexican ground partners all collaborate on interdisciplinary projects around natural resources and education, through the NGO platform IRRI Mexico (Instituto Internacional de Recursos Renovables AC) and C4C is collaborating on the Agua Nuestra Vida project funded by the Porticus Foundation.  Being involved with so many partners can be a tricky road to manoeuvre but working with these ladies is proving to be fantastic, their knowledge and experience is amazing, but so are their hearts!  It is so great to be able to work and learn from them, see all that they are doing and share our process too.

QUILTEPECa_0004 Carmen Hernandez lilililiana Riva Palacio

“Quiltepec”, the name resonates with the romance of the Aztec language; tepec actually means mountain, and the informal community we will be working in is literally on the top of a mountain on the south end of Mexico City. Today our meeting took a different turn however, as the road we needed to access the community was peppered with high security swat team police, who told us we would be going up at our own risk and we would have to walk up.

Driving towards Quiltepec

QUILTEPECa_0002 QUILTEPECa_0003Carmen Hernandez speaks with three very serioso police, who told us that the army was about to arrive and the road was blocked!

Carmen decided that it was too risky, and so we will wait until tomorrow when hopefully the whole sting operation is over!  Thank goodness for ground partners that know the score, and when to make the right decisions!

In the meantime we are taking the time to fully organize ourselves and get more background info on our community!

Quiltepec is a small informal community nestled high up (around 8000 ft) amongst 8 other pueblas in San Miguil de Xicalco in Distrito Tlalpan, one of the 16 Delegacions of Mexico City (DF).  Beside and behind it are homes that are recognized by the delegacion of Tlalpan, and so they have water, electricity, sewage and other infrastructure, but not so Quiltepec.  The children of the community however do attend school down the mountain, but as far as the policy makers are concerned, they do not exist, and so therefore they do not need to provide any infrastructure in the way of basic needs.

Isla Urbana decided a few years ago, that they do have the right to water and to begin installation of their Rainwater Harvesting Systems whenever they had some extra resources to do so.  So a relationship began and has grown tremendously which has been wonderful thing for this community, because now, the community has numerous rainwater harvesting systems, as well as two water treatment systems, 5000 liter water cistern, 4 hydroponic systems and 4 biobolsa bio digesters.

Our goal tomorrow will be to meet with the 15 chosen participants and dig right into our program. Tomorrow we fully expect to come home with many photos of the kids as they get their hands on the Nikon Cameras and run with them!! Stay tuned!  Hasta Pronto!!!

QUILTEPECa_0001Preciado = valued

Xicalco, DF

Chicalco_CC_2013_11_002                                      Ahhhh… DF, Mexico que linda!

Chicalco, DF

Xicalco, an informal community high up above Mexico City

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San Miguel Xicalco, Tlalpan, 14490 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico

 

This June C4C will be running our next international workshop in collaboration with IRRI’s Paz Paz Bus in Xicalco, an informal community in DF (that’s Mexico City y’all!).  The Paz Paz Bus is a colorful bus that travels to the communities that IRRI has programs running, in this case Isla Urbana and Sistema BioBolsa have been installing rainwater harvesting  and renewable energy systems in this small community through an HCBC grant.  It will be exciting to return to Mexico and work with these organizations as well as Proyecto ConcentrArte to bring cameras and photography into this neighborhood.  I was lucky to visit Xicalco last year with Jennifer White as part of a tour with Isla Urbana to view communities that we could potentially work in.  You don’t have to go far to find people with a lack of access to water, even though Mexico City has an annual rainfall of over 27″.  As always in Mexico, the locals have an abundance of hospitality and we were welcomed to see what it is like living above the city, what an amazing view!  We will be taking cameras provided by NIKON Canada!  Please stay in touch on this website and on our facebook page for updates during mid June!!

Chicalco_CC_2013_11_012a large water cistern on the right side of this home provides water collected from the rooftops, then filtered and used for laundry, cleaning, cooking and bathing.  There is no other water infrastructure for the members of this community. Chicalco_CC_2013_11_018 Chicalco_CC_2013_11_023 Chicalco_CC_2013_11_033 Chicalco_CC_2013_11_055 Chicalco_CC_2013_11_057 Chicalco_CC_2013_11_063 Chicalco_CC_2013_11_022Chicalco_CC_2013_11_016Adios!  Hasta Luego!

 

Roll on 2014

Time never stops for us to catch up, and it is high time that we caught up with everyone!  2014 is looking great for C4C!  Our Fundraising Events  “Walking In Their Shoes” at Fluevog in Vancouver and Calgary in 2012 succussfully raised 10K for our upcoming endeavors this year and we could not be more excited!  This February we are partnering with Gallery Gachet to run an open set of photography workshops for residents of the DTES, and we are in the planning stages for a larger program mid year in Mexico, again partnering with Isla Urbana, Sistema BioBolsa and Proyecto ConcentrArte.  The Gallery Gachet program will be run by Cara Seccafian, who will be leading community residents interested in weekly dropin camera, computer and technology workshops. The workshops in Mexico will be run off of the Paz Paz Bus, an old converted school bus being used for arts based programs in the communities that our Mexican partners currently work in.  We are also making plans for another summer program here in Vancouver and have strong potential for a summer workshop in Calgary too!  It feels like we are growing in leaps and bounds and are increasingly thankful for all the support we have received over the past 2 years!

It is so exciting to be partnering with these amazing organizations, all believe that creativity is an integral part of life and strive to share that with everyone!  We love the work that they do and we are honored to be working with them!

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1. Fluevog Event in Vancouver

2. Student work on display during the event

3. The Paz Paz Bus, Mexico City

4. Cate Cameron in Chicalco, DF overlooking Mexico City with Jennifer White and Antonio Cervantes of Isla Urbana