Month: October 2016

‘Obrigado’ off the Coast of Central Africa

Artur Cabral 

Although Artur has a degree in artur-cabral-1 architecture, he left that world to pursue his true passion: photography. He has been a professional photographer for the past 6 years with his work appearing in high-end magazines and publications around the world. In 2014 Artur traveled to the island nation of  São Tomé and Príncipe, a former Portuguese colony, located off the coast of Central Africa. With the help of a company sponsorship, he started a project to give photos mainly to Island elders called ‘Obrigado’ (‘Thank You’ in Portuguese). Artur’s striking large format prints made quite an impression in a country where 66% of the people live below the poverty line.

Follow Artur on Instagram @arturcabral and find more of his stunning work at www.arturcabral.com

 

When did you start giving photos?

Every time I go back to a place where I’ve been before, I try to print some of the photos I took to give back to people. It started a few years ago in Mozambique, but it’s been mainly in the last two years on my trips to São Tomé and Príncipe (Islands in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Central Africa) where I went several times for work.

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By the end of 2014 I started project OBRIGADO (Thank You) in Príncipe Island with a sponsorship from HBD (a South African company which is in the tourism business but with great concern and cooperation with local communities). With the help of an anthropologist, I met with many different communities and talked to “young people from the past” as we fondly called them. Those moments of lively conversation were key to getting people to smile. Sometimes, their smiles were hidden by the fatigue of a difficult life. But it was nothing that a good and cherished conversation couldn’t overcome. I returned in February 2015 to continue the project, with an exhibition in the main square of St. Antonio, the capitol of the island country. Large format prints were placed so everyone could see and read about these amazing elderly people who helped make Príncipe. There were about 90 people portrayed and honored in this project.

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Obrigado Exhibit in St. Antonio (capitol of Sao Tome and Principe)

Meanwhile, parallel to the exhibition, we offered the people a printed photo so they could keep it like a souvenir or pass it on to the next generation.

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What motivated you to do it?

A print is something so simple and basic for all of us that sometimes we don’t realize what it can do for someone that never had one. The joy that a simple portrait brings to people when you give it is amazing, and that simple act can make a big impact in somebody else’s life.

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What equipment do you use and why?

I normally travel with my Canon 5D Mark III, a 24-70 f2.8 II and the 70-200 f2.8 IS. Recently I bought a mirrorless Sony a7 rII, to try something different with a smaller camera I can be less intrusive and cause less discomfort to the people I photograph.

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Can you share one memorable story with us about your experience sharing photos?

In Príncipe it was fantastic to see people’s reactions to the Obrigado Exhibit — they wanted to see the photos up close, read the stories, recognize the faces. Children and adults, everyone wanted to come, some to find themselves, others to see their friends, others just with natural curiosity to learn something new. There were some school children who came as part of a field trip and wrote essays about the exhibit and, more importantly, about the people in the photos!

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But if I had to pick the most profound moment that I had giving photos, I have to choose one in Mozambique where a boy didn’t recognize himself in the picture and told me in all innocence, “That boy has a toy like mine”.

Do you have any suggestions for people who would like to give photos?

Just do it! It doesn’t matter if you are giving back a small polaroid instant picture or a big print, just do it! The joy that it brings to the person receiving it is priceless!

three-kids

Father/Daughter photos in Bangladesh and India!

Kaavya Rajesh and Rajesh Ramakrishnan

Rajesh and his daughter Kaavya were inspired to give away photos after reading about GivePhotos online. Knowing that girls are often undervalued in the Indian sub-continent, they decided to focus onkaavya-and-rajesh_cropped fathers and daughters and create a campaign called ‘My Daughter Is Precious’. They not only give away instant prints to families in low income areas, they also talk to them about the importance of girls’ education. Kaavya, who is only in 10th grade, answered our questions below about the project. You can follow Rajesh on Instagram @rajesh_photo and learn more about Kaavya’s project on her Facebook page.

 

 

When did you start giving away photos?

We started this project in March of 2016 and gave out instant photos to  fathers and their daughters in lower socioeconomic areas. We have so far done this in Dhaka, Kolkata, Chennai and Delhi.

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What motivated you to do it?

I was inspired by a documentary called ‘Girl Rising’ where I learned that 65 million girls don’t attend school across the world! This really upset me and motivated me to do something about it. I spoke to my parents and we came up with this idea.

The inspiration for the instant pictures came from an article my mother found about GivePhotos online in DAILYGOOD. It was about a lady who gave instant prints to children in underprivileged areas in India as many cannot afford one.

My father and I combined our passion for photography with our belief that fathers can play a big role in their daughters’ lives and came up with this project.

dad_with_mustache_daughter

What equipment do you use and why?

We usually use a Cannon 5D Mark III to take the digital photo and we use a Fujifilm Instax camera to print the instant pictures we give to the families. 

Can you share one memorable story with us about your experience sharing photos?

Every time we give the families the pictures, the joy on their faces is heartwarming. The people volunteer to show us around so that we can take more photographs and spread the positivity and the message.

A particularly memorable person we met was Machekantan who is a fisherman who lives in Oorurkuppam, the fisherman’s colony in Chennai. He is a friendly and forward looking man, bringing up four girls. His daughter Gayathri, his granddaughter Abhinaya and his nieces; Nandini and Renukadevi. Their parents, his brother and sister-in-law, passed away and Machekantan has been looking after them since then. His wife works as a maid. Abhinaya studies in class four and Renukadevi is in class ten, they hope to continue studying until they complete college and get good jobs. Nandini finished Class 10 two years ago, but decided to stop studying. She now regrets it immensely. She hopes to complete her education some day. Gayathri is in her second year of college, she’s a business student studying BBA at the Janaki MGR college. She fears that she won’t be able to complete the course because it’s very expensive.

“The fees are very high and my parents are working very hard to pay them, but if they can’t I’ll have to drop out,” she said sadly. They have taken loans from the local moneylender at high rates of interest to fund her education. If Gayathri completes her graduation, she will be first one to have a degree in her family.

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Machekantan and his family, 2016

 

Do you have any suggestions for people who would like to give photos?

I think it is a great gift to give because a photo can capture a moment, a relationship, and preserve it forever and enable them to cherish it. We should all do this for people who dont have the resources to own a photo.

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Read more about Kaavya’s campaign

A father and daughter are raising money for a cause, one picture at a time

Making Connections in Benin!

Photographer Kevin Perry (@ventureforthphoto) gave this man an instant photograph when he was traveling through Taneka, Benin in 2015. He said that while many tourists would take photos of him no one had ever given him a print. Yesterday, when we posted this photo on our Instagram, a woman in France who had traveled to Benin back in 2008 recognized him. She was doing a volunteer exchange and the photo she took with him ended up in a newspaper. She always regretted not giving him a print of the photo. Seeing this picture pop up on her Instagram feed of this same man smiling and looking at the print Kevin gave him filled her with so much joy.

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Here is the photo that Caroline took with this same man back in 2008.

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Caroline writes,

I went to Benin in 2008 to be part of a volunteer exchange between my city Evreux in France and Djougou in Benin. We were a group of young people participating to a project of reforestation with some youth from Benin. During that trip we went to Taneka to visit the village. And I had the pleasure to seat next to this great man. Someone from the group took a picture of us and it was used in a newspaper article about our journey.

Today when I saw your picture of him with his great smile, I was so happy and feel so thankful to sort of have some news from him through your picture. Mine is on the desk of my dad since 8 years now so I never forget that special moment of my life and it was a real pleasure to see him this morning completely randomly through Instagram. I thought how many chances were that on your picture it could have one of the person I met during my travels. Love those coincidences!

You can follow Caroline on Instagram or check out her website

Giving Photos in the Yucatán Peninsula

Rick Jacksonrick-jackson

During a 2013 mission trip to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, Rick noticed the excitement among villagers when he showed them the photos he was taking. Realizing that most of them had no photos of themselves or family members, Rick started ‘In Our Image’ as a way to provide free photo prints to those who have little to no access to photos of themselves or their loved ones. Follow Rick on Instagram at In_Our_Image

When did you start giving away photos?

In the fall of 2013, I made my second trip to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Knowing that I wanted to be able to provide photos at whatever location we might be, I wanted to have photo printers that were small enough for travel and could run off battery power. I purchased two Canon Selphy CP900 printers, along with the batteries and printing supplies. Using my Canon 7D and an older Canon Rebel xsi, I took and printed out about 200 photos on that trip. Since that time I have made several more trips back the Yucatán Peninsula, along with trips to Kenya and India. It always amazes me to see how open and excited people are when they realize that they can have a free photo of themselves, especially the ones who have never had a photo of themselves.

girls-holding-prints

What motivated you to do it?

Wanting to connect with people and offer them something of value. Giving away photo prints has allowed me to reach beyond language barriers, cultural differences, and uncertainties that people have toward strangers.

looking-at-printers

What equipment do you use and why?

I started out using SD cards and the equipment that I mentioned earlier. I still use a lot of the same equipment, but now with direct wifi connections and Bluetooth connections I am able to use other equipment such as iPhones and iPads. I still use the Canon Selphy printers, although I have added a newer model to my equipment lineup. I have looked into other setups, but I really like the 4×6 prints and the quality of the Canon Selphy. I did try a full size printer that could do 8×10, but the prints took too long and the cost was not manageable.

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Can you share one memorable story with us about your experience sharing photos?

While there are so many memorable stories I would love to share, there are three that I feel really show how powerful giving out photo prints can be. First one is just general overall. It’s when I realized that so many people wanted a full body photo instead of the portraiture style that I was taking. I realized that the photo wasn’t just a nice image for them to have, it was also a documentation of that stage of their life. (Especially with children.) The second memorable story was when I was able to provide photo prints of a new born baby to the parents. They had no photos of the baby and the mother was very sick after the birth. Even through the sickness and late hour, the family was so eager for those photos. The last one was being able to provide photo prints to individuals and families in a Leper Colony in India. Once again, people were amazed at something most people never think much of — a photo themselves with loved ones.

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Do you have any suggestions for people who would like to give photos?

Find the best way to do it and make it about them and not yourself. If you are the only one who is available to give the photos, then do what you can and don’t feel you have to keep up with anyone else. If others are already giving photos away, team up with them. We make a stronger impact by working together.

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Can you use any help with how you give photos?

I am always looking for ways to increase my ability to give photos away. I always appreciate those who would like to travel with me and help take photos or run equipment. As well as anyone who is willing to contribute toward supply and equipment cost.

GivePhotos goes to Vietnam!

Brian Wolowicz is currently in Vietnam working on building homes for Habitat for Humanity. He’s also giving away photos in a very impoverished area about 50 miles outside Hanoi called Phu Tho where people do not have any photographic prints. Here are a few of his images so far. We’ll be posting more on our Instagram feed in the weeks to come. Find Brian @hellobdub