Thursday, July 30, 2009

Presentaciones finales del taller de fotografía


Hey everyone!! We just got back from a week-long adventure on the costa caribeña of Colombia, and now it’s back to work for us again. Fuimos al Parque Tayrona (one of Colombia’s national parks), Santa Marta (the coastal city that Carlos Vives is from) and finished up our foray in Cartagena de Indias (a city saturated with history – founded in the early 16th century, it was one of South America’s first major cities and served as an extraction point for all the gold that the Spanish took from Latin America). These are only superficial descriptions of the beautiful places that we’ve been - I’ll leave it up to Deivid to fill everyone in with the complete details.

What I’d like to accomplish with this blog entry is to showcase one of the final projects produced in Deivid and I’s Photography Workshop. For the final projects, we gave our students two options from which to choose: they could either create a photographic “retrato” of their working partner’s life, or they could choose an issue in their community or in broader Colombian society and explore it through conducting interviews. What was great about the colegio in which we were working is that it happened to be in a very central location: close to the city hall of Suba, the Suba police station, and the Suba fire station. Additionally, the streets around the colegio were always bustling with people. This provided a great opportunity for the students that chose to conduct interviews. Deivid and I arranged for them to interview district councilmen at the city hall, the police chief, and people they met out on the street about the issues that they chose to explore.

In the taller de artes, our peer Camila had been facilitating discussions about community issues and the possibilities for change and for our final projects in fotografía many of the kids decided to further explore the issues that had been brought up in artes. Among the Topics generated by the kids for the final projects were the garbage disposal and contamination, homelessness, drug addiction, sexual abuse, and kidnapping.

Our goal for this project was for the kids to apply all the skills they’d learned throughout the Taller de fotografía, but more importantly for those skills to be a medium through which the kids could communicate with influential community leaders as equals. What resulted was just that. In the presentation below made by three of our students, Yeimy, Margarita, and Sonia, you can observe how through the process of conducting interviews they gained a sense of confidence in themselves and approached their adult interview subjects as equals. This can be observed in the way they carry themselves during the interviews, from questioning the answers provided by Edil (district councilwoman) Ana Cristina regarding homelessness, to the back and forth with the police chief about drug addiction.

We thought that this experience was really valuable for the kids for a couple reasons. One, it provided them with access to spaces and people that they wouldn’t normally have been able to access or hadn’t previously been interested in exploring. Two, we feel that the projects demonstrated to the kids what they are capable of achieving and that they have the power to voice their opinions and question authority figures. Both these issues, access and empowerment, were a recurring theme throughout the Taller de Paz; the final projects served to reinforce what had already been brought up in all of the talleres.

The progress the kids made in the three weeks of our taller was very impressive. The first week they barely knew how to use the cameras, and by the third week the cameras were being used to conduct projects like the one below. Before finishing I would like to note one more thing: our students only had four class periods to complete these projects. This means four hours to choose a topic, discuss it, create questions, conduct the interviews, and edit the presentations (using Imovie for the first time!). For this reason the presentations were a little basic in regards to editing but we still felt that what was produced was very cool and a testament to the kids creativity, energy and initiative. I would just ask that you keep in mind the time restraints while watching.

So without further ado, I present to you “Temas problematicas de Colombia” by Yeimy Contreras, Sonia Patiño, y Margarita Gutierrez (the subtitles were added by me).

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