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!
Big thanks to volunteers Kimberley French, Kathryne Racich and Cate Cameron
Save the date for Saturday September 6th when Cameras4Change board member and photographer Kimberley French debuts her third solo exhibit. Kimoto Gallery will host “Returning“, a stunning series of work inspired by Stanley Park and Haida Gwaii. 5% of artist’s proceeds will be donated to Cameras4Change. Please do not miss this opportunity to come out in support of local Vancouver art and C4C!
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!
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
RSVP for Vancouver @ http://www.walkingintheirshoesvancouver.eventbrite.com
RSVP for Calgary @ http://www.walkingintheirshoescalgary.eventbrite.com
there will be fun, there will be beats bumpin it in YVR from DJ G-Luve, there will be doorprizes from Nikon, there will be fabulous shoes available to buy (50% goes to C4C) from FLUEVOG, you will be seen, there will be amazing food from VIJ’s RAILWAY EXPRESS TRUCK, and a selection of wine from the Artisan Wine Group!
1. connecting with nature through the camera. Margaret Dixon
Whenever people hear the name Cameras4Change they are always receptive, and often intrigued to hear more! Everyone seems to love photography and our name rings that bell! There is an obvious connection with cameras, but when we explain on a deeper level how the camera can do so much, there is a delightful reaction. Just like the magic of seeing an image come to life in a tray of developer, little by little a transformation takes place through the simple process of working in a group with cameras.
Our recent workshop here in Vancouver was no exception. When kids have cameras they have fun there is no doubt, but there are so many other subtle things happening at the same time. They are forced to focus in the moment, and by doing that a whole domino effect takes place. They are continually interacting with not only themselves, but their environment and each other. They may need assistance with the camera, so they ask a leader, or friend; they want to share what they see through their lens and continually reach out to others around them. They gain knowledge of the camera and that builds skill and understanding that can be accessed again, and also applies to learning in other areas. Their sense of pride and self is strengthened through this very simple process. It really does distill down to “connecting”, the hand on a shoulder, talking with each other in authentic ways, sharing, caring and taking the time to simply be there. We could even call it Connecting 4Change!
These are images from the participants, the ways they approach the world with the camera can also be applied to life!2. checking out what’s growing in the garden. Margaret Dixon3. Fun with a “selfy”. Margaret Dixon
4. Looking up. Margaret Dixon
5. Learning the ropes together on the 1st day. Seraphina Lalonde5. Looking at things from a different perspective! Seraphina Lalonde
Today we wrapped up our summer camp workshop, watched the youth graduate from the PIMS program at UBC in an informal but moving ceremony in the UBC Longhouse. We were able to present them with their cameras along with a Nikon bag and some great Nikon swag! Cameras were out and in use straight away! We are very proud that the workshop went so well with these kids who were truly amazing creatively, and fun to work with. We want to thank everyone of the volunteers and the corporate support from Nikon Canada and The Camera Store! Also our partners through PIMS, Le Chou, The Evergreen Foundation and The Grandview Food Connection, together we accomplished a lot! Kids have cameras and we love it!! Here are a few of them with their swag! Thanks to Sadia Ibriham for the phone shots!
It is International Volunteer Day 2011. We are constantly being asked to give of ourselves, money, time, energy. Here in our western world, it may feel like we are bombarded with requests, and it can be overwhelming when we feel we already have so much to deal with. Years ago when I began my journey working with meaning, and pursuing a career as a photographer working in development, it never occurred to me how much it would change my life. I really understand that I cannot do all that is asked, but I do choose to look at the requests as opportunities, because when I give it actually benefits me too! I began by working internationally and will always be involved now. I have recently began to work locally here in Vancouver, using my skills as a homeopath working in Vancouver’s DownTown East Side (DTES)
For the past 6 months I have been volunteering with Side by Side, a homeopathic not-for-profit clinic that operates through the Portland Housing Society, a Non profit housing society that provides supportive living space for the hardest ‘hard to house ‘ people in the DTES for those with no other options. I am happy to work there and find it gives me so much and is in tune with my international work. All of this has parlayed into a way of life and put me on the road that I am most grateful for. It has enriched me beyond my belief and encouraged me to keep on believing in the world and in humanity. Cameras4Change is developing because of my wish to continue to make a difference and give a gift to people in the form of finding their true direction and in opening the door to creativity. I have also had so many amazing people come forward to help me with this, and I am sincerlely in awe of others. Thanks to all of the people that volunteer the world over, we appreciate your heart and hands and all of the hard work you do.
3 of my favorite people to volunteer with! Heidi Hurst, Sol Garcia and Christina Gomez in Kenya as we meet with girls at a local school
I want to personally thank the following people that have personally helped me: Sandra Van Den Brink, Barb Briggs, Becky Mear, Thea Grivakes, Gillian Harrow, Sol Garcia, Christina Gomez, Andrea Kennedy from Logic Pony, Lynn Slobogian. These are only a few and forgive me if I have left anyone out, but I am indebted to all that work to make a difference!
Alot happens in a week. I thought I would be writing a post about a reality check badly needed as I watched my city burn a week ago from people rioting in the streets of Vancouver after the Stanley Cup Final. I took in a view from my balcony that kind of surprised me, but sadly the truth was before my eyes. Yes there has been rioting all over the world of recent, for things like basic human rights, government oppression and human torture, yet they were rioting and looting in Vancouver because the city had set up giant TV screens for all to watch the hockey game, booz, a sense of self rightousness amongst a privileged few with a lack of good judgement caused the riots in Vancouver with the added excuse of losing the hockey game. Enough said.
Thankfully alot does happen in a week, and I am excited to see progress and gain in another part of the world where people struggle on a daily basis to find things like, water capable of drinking without inciting illness and disease, and money to buy enough food to feed your family. Earlier this year I visited a small community in the Rift Vally with Greg Algood of CSDW where a kiosk was being set up by another arm of P&G. Women were being given business training on how to run the kiosk and sell various sundries in small amounts. This is so positive, it is micro business on a different scale as it introduces products that women would not necessarily be able to purchace. Kind of like when we go to a warehouse store but can’t buy the big lots of bulk products, they can’t afford to buy even a regular size package of something, it needs to be broken down into small amounts. I love the concept as it opens up vertical possibilities for many people in need, and helps women to help thier families. They sell many simple household products in ways that make them available and affordable, this is not necessarily something new in Kenya, but it is new that a large corporation is taking the initiative here, and providing the support to kickstart it in the form of business training, and other needed infrastructure. They also provide water at the kiosk which has already been treated and is clean and safe!
Setting up a kiosk and providing business training to local women
The week that I just passed through was magical, end of! It began like any other but I decidedly chose to expect “the magic” and started looking for it. I haven’t been disappointed, the signs are everywhere. I don’t want to be all Polyanna on you, but sometimes it is nice to take a proverbial break from slumming it in the doldrums, you know what I mean, we’ve all been there.
I am in my building phase again, as many who work in this arena are. I need to secure many things to move on to the next bright light project. We build speed, go off and get more work done, then repeat. I am grateful for the many things that happened this week, the opportunities that were given and created.
Two major exciting things happened. No actually many more than that but lets begin here. Cameras4Change was given a boost of confidence. Through a proposal on Give Meaning, we achieved our 100 necessary votes (actually last count was 105 as peeps are still voting!) to go from proposal to project. I am joined by 2 talented and experienced individuals, Barb Briggs and David Kiwanuka, that want to work with Cameras 4 Change and that is exciting too!
I also recieved a call from OWN this week!! Yup thats right, the Oprah Winfrey Network!! This was very incredibly exciting to me, but as I said, I was expecting the magic this week, so the universe was delivering. More on this later, but suffice to say without getting all Charlie Sheen on you, Magic!
Sunday Cameras4Change will have a table at BLIM COMMUNITY ART MARKET at HERITAGE HALL on MAIN ST in VANCOUVER. We will be selling photo art cards and meeting all kinds of folks. So if you are in Vancouver tomorrow between 12-5 please come and see us!
Image caption: This week I spoke about Christine Jefwa, an inspiring woman and mother to 4 of her own children and 3 stepchildren in Waresa Kenya, an area near Mombassa in rural coastal Kenya. Here she is with her inlaws who have been married for over 40 years!