Kids With Cameras at Soho Photo
Soho Photo Gallery, known for its annual Krappy Kamera competition and varied offerings of fine art photography exhibitions, will present "Kids With Cameras: The Calcutta and Haiti Projects" as the special exhibit for October. Kids With Cameras (KWC) is the non-profit organization devoted to expanding the creative horizons of underprivileged children around the world. KWC has established workshops first in Calcutta, then in Haiti, Jerusalem's Old City, and Cairo. This exhibition runs October 2 to November 3, 2007, at Soho Photo's exhibition space in New York. The 20 color photographs from Calcutta, and their young creators, were the subject of the extraordinary film "Born Into Brothels."
From Soho Photo's press announcement:
"Zana Briski, (the founder of KWC) became involved in these children’s lives in 1998 when she began photographing Calcutta’s prostitutes. After developing a relationship with many of their kids, Briski had the idea of teaching photography to them in order to see the world through their eyes. The kids’ images include self-portraits, family pictures, and stunning tableaus of Bengali life."
It's wonderful to see this project expanding its reach. KWC project director Gigi Cohen worked with 12 young domestic-workers-in-training in Carrefour, Haiti. These kids' situations mirror the tragedy that is so often associated with their country: domestic workers enjoy conditions no better than that of indentured servants, and the system is not in any way designed to educate children in a way that prepares them for coexisting in adult society.
In a country with a staggering illiteracy rate (50 percent of adults), and great civil unrest and poverty, the glimmers of culture revealed in these black-and-white photographs of parade dancers and street scenes serve to remind the viewer, and the young photographers tentativley grasping their cameras, that there is hope.
The goals of all KWC workshops are encouraging artistic excellence, positive transformation and ongoing support for the participants. The children are not merely given cameras and taught the basics of composition, though these first steps toward artistic self-expression are rare and important gifts to give.
Children are also empowered by being encouraged to educate their peers. Additionally, instructors aid the children in finding better conditions in their lives, whether by transfer to better schools and living conditions or through community outreach expedited by the organization's voice on the international stage. To this end, proceeds from the sale of any artwork in KWC exhibitions always goes back to the children.
Kids With Cameras sponsors one workshop a year. To learn more about current projects, click here.