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Social Change Photography

Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category

Darcy Padilla’s Award Winning Work, “The Julie Project” – Opens THIS Thursday, May 20th, 5:00 – 7:30 PM

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JULIE – “For the last 16 years I have been documenting the life of an AIDs-afflicted woman, Julie Baird. Julie has been on her own since her sexually abusive stepfather threw her through a glass window when she was 14 years old. She ran away from home, lived on the street, used drugs, contracted HIV, and had five children. When I first met Julie in February 1993 in the lobby of a SRO hotel in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, she was 18 years old and had just given birth to her first child, Rachel. Julie and Jack Fyffe, the 19 year-old father were both HIV positive. Rachel, they said, was their main reason for living.

Throughout the years I have photographed Julie’s complex story of AIDS, abusive relationships, drug use, multiple homes and poverty. A victim of child abuse, Julie often neglected her own children. A high school dropout, she depends on welfare to feed her family. HIV-positive, she fights to stay off drugs.

Julie’s is a story of a survivor. The telling of it enriches the understanding of the poorest and most desperate among us. I am continuing to document Julie’s life and it is my fervent hope that Julie’s story inspires a greater awareness of the plight of people like her.”

Darcy Padilla’s unflinching portrayal of Julie Baird is one of the most in-depth, visceral, and captivating documentaries in recent memory.

Her work has received numerous grants and awards including an Alexia Foundation for World Peace & Understanding Award, Open Society Institute Individual Fellowship, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.

The latest iteration of this paramount work will be on display at Fifty Crows Gallery, beginning with our May 20th opening. Doors will be open from 4 PM to 7:30 PM. Fifty Crows would like to welcome everyone to join us in this momentous event. We hope to see you there.

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Affect/Effect: Photographs That Create Change – Phil Borges, A child in a far away photograph is given an education

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Consider the metaphor of a grain of sand: one grain in a thousand is insignificant, while it can also be unique in shaping everything that it touches. Now apply this idea to photography. Countless photographic images give us a consciousness about what is going on in the world, but our lives are awash with powerful images, most of which fall away by day’s end. A sub-clause to the metaphor: even if that one image (grain of sand) does produce an emotional response, it is rare the feeling that the image elicited will inspire action.
But what happens when one grain of sand (image) gets stuck in your eye so persistently that you must make a move to change the way you feel? The affect/effect: Photographs That Create Change series will feature stories from photographers and friends of photography that share how one image affected an individual to make a profound effect in the world.

PHIL BORGES

In 2007, FiftyCrows presented an exhibition called Women Empowered, a photography project by Phil Borges, who combined images and stories of courageous women from developing countries. Rooted in his astonishment for the high level of gender discrimination around the world, he wanted to offer examples of women “whose bravery and determination allowed them to move from victim to leader, and speak to the universal themes of courage, empowerment and human rights.”

Another incredible project from Phil, entitled Enduring Spirit was created in conjunction with Amnesty International’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Once again, each of his images was accompanied by a short story about the person and what they do in their daily lives. One of Phil’s images, of a six-year-old girl in Ethiopia struck a man named George so deeply that he was compelled to extend his help from around the world. Yet another moving example of how photography can create change in the world through an individual image.

Buzayan story is as follows: She is six-years-old and lives with her mother and three older sisters in a small Ethiopian village. Her father took a job as a policeman in a neighboring town and later abandoned the family for another woman. Even though it is very expensive for her, Buzayan’s mother is committed to keeping all the children in school. When I asked Buzayan about kindergarten, she squealed with delight and started jumping up and down.

When George saw the image of Buzayan in the book titled “Enduring Spirit” he was so moved by the image of Buzayan that he felt he wanted to help her. He contacted us for information on how to reach her but we were only able to give him the name of the village she lived in. George’s health did not allow him to travel but he had a friend who was visiting Ethiopia and was willing to try to find Buzayan. The effort was successful. George was able to make arrangements to help cover the cost of Buzayans education which he did for several years.

Written by Zara Katz

January 28, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Tony Deifell: Seeing Beyond Sight – Photographs by Blind Teenagers

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Taken by Katy, age 13

With its ambitious, seemingly paradoxical premise,
Seeing Beyond Sight challenges our definitions of art,
vision, and perception and what it really means “to see.”

Visual artist and social entrepreneur, Tony Deifell works with blind teenagers to teach them photography. While it may seem important to have sight in order to photograph, Deifell’s book Seeing Beyond Sight proves that photography is about a vision. In December, Deifell spoke at Google about his book and described how the project opened his consciousness to perceiving the possibilities in the world.

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Tony Deifell writes about the book:

Seeing Beyond Sight is about seeing in the broadest sense. I use the physical behavior of light as a metaphor for the book’s five chapters: Distortion, Refraction, Reflection, Transparence & Illuminance. Light is what makes it possible for the eye to see – and to make photographs – but we don’t usually see light itself.

I thought of these five chapters as a journey towards light – towards an illuminance that is beyond everyone’s eyesight – although the source of light is not fully known. The road is already dark enough as we wade through distortions and refractions to explore ourselves and our relationship with the world.

Ultimately, we may catch only a glimmer of a picture larger than us – an image of the world that is just beyond our full grasp.

Here is a video of Tony speaking at Google about teaching photography to blind teenagers and in return what they taught him about seeing the world. (Note: don’t shy away from watching because of the length, it is work every second especially the video clip of his student Cassie talking about her love of Italian):



Written by Zara Katz

July 29, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Posted in Blind Photography, Youth

Tagged with

The Burden of Memory: John Trotter and Donna DeCesare

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“The camera relieves us of the burden of memory. It surveys us like god.”

-John Berger

Donna DeCesare, winner of the 1999 International Fund for Documentary Photography, has focused her work on and the effects of violence, gang culture, war, and trauma on youth. Her IFDP winning photo essay, titled: Shadow Dreams and New Youth Visions, explored the intersecting worlds of gangs in Los Angeles and El Salvador where young adults experience the some of the highest rates of homicide. Some of her other projects include, Sharing Secrets: Children’s Portraits Exposing Stigma, Crimes of War and Edgar’s Story.

As the Dart Media Curator and the Latin America Coordinator for the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, DeCesare recently produced a multimedia piece with photographer John Trotter about his personal experience with violence. While photographing for the Sacramento Bee, Trotter was attacked and suffered a severe brain injury that took months to recover from. As a way to process his trauma, Trotter took images of other patients at the rehab center, which DeCesare combined with her interview of Trotter speaking about his emotions. The effect: compassion into Trotters trauma and admiration for his exceptionally sad and haunting images.

burden_of_memory Please click here to watch the video interview: http://dartcenter.org/gallery/burden-memory

The video was made by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, John Trotter, Donna DeCesare and Joey Castillo. The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, is dedicated to informed, innovative and ethical news reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy. The John Trotter piece is part of Dart Media, a gallery of visual storytelling, highlighting exemplary work that advances the conversation about how to witness, interpret and represent violence and suffering.

http://dartcenter.org/

Written by Zara Katz

July 23, 2009 at 3:32 pm