A photograph is a luxury item for millions of people around the world. GivePhotos hopes to change that by supporting photographers who want to give photos in areas stricken by extreme poverty. Using a simple instant camera or printer, we help people document and preserve their memories. Our primary purpose is to give away as many photos as possible to people who have no access to photography.
Photography is centered around ‘taking’ and GivePhotos alters the dynamics in a substantive way. There are no language barriers, there are no national boundaries. There are only people connecting through images. Sharing a photograph is simple, powerful, life changing. Even those of us who are endlessly documenting our lives here in the West still find tremendous value in a print. We feel that instant photography is the best, most immediate way to share photos. And, for those people who have no visual record of their lives these precious instant photographs may be the only visual token of their existence. GivePhotos is a transformative experience not just for the person who is receiving the photo but also for the person giving it.
Our mission is to support photographers who are interested in giving photos to people living in poverty by supplying film, camera or printer equipment. Please contact us if you are interested in joining our team!
GivePhotos is an entirely volunteer project. We do not receive any compensation for our work. Your donations are spent on buying and shipping instant film, cameras and printers to photographers around the world. Please consider donating to create a memory.
Watch our short film about the project here.
The GivePhotos Team
Bipasha Shom – Bipasha’s family left Kolkata just before her 2nd birthday. She grew up in the U.S. but frequently traveled back to India to visit relatives. She has worked as an editor on numerous tv commercials, music videos, documentaries and features. She’s also worked as a radio producer on a news and politics tv/radio show for Pacifica. Bipasha has an undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology from Cornell University and a M.A. from the Annenberg School at The University of Pennsylvania.
Chris Manley – Emmy award-winning cinematographer Chris Manley is best known for his work on the tv series Mad Men. His lengthy resume includes commercials, music videos and features. Chris has an undergraduate degree in film from Temple University and a Master’s in Cinematography from the American Film Institute.
Julie Black Nicholas – Julie has been documenting travel since she made her first trans-continental trip from South Korea to the United States at age 8. With a background in web development and photography, she is happy to be serving as the technical and social media consultant to the GivePhotos Project. Julie is a graduate of Cornell University.
GivePhotos Press Release- December 2015
“Mad Men” Cinematographer Chris Manley and Family Bring Photography to India’s Poorest With the Help of Fujifilm
This December, husband–and–wife team Chris Manley and Bipasha Shom will embark on the GivePhotos project with the support of Fujifilm. They will shoot and give away 1,000 instant family portrait prints during a month long stay in Kolkata, India.
Manley, who was the cinematographer on “Mad Men”, will document the project on Instagram under the handle GivePhotos. Chris and Bipasha will share stories and photos of the struggles, hopes and humanity of the people they meet in their travels.
The project was the brainchild of Bipasha, who as a child frequently traveled to India to visit family. Her love of photography motivated her to take portraits of the people she met. She quickly learned that many of those people did not have access to cameras and had no family photos of their own.
“People were thrilled when I offered to take photos of them,” Bipasha says. “But the problem was printing and getting that photo back to them after I took it. With the reemergence of instant cameras, I realized that we could completely shift the dynamic of taking and giving photos.”
In our cell–phone–camera culture, it can be hard to imagine that there are people who have no photos of their children, their weddings or their own childhoods. Bipasha was especially inspired by the film “Siddharth,” in which a poverty–stricken Indian family’s 12-year-old son goes missing. The family in the film, like many in India, does not have a photo to share with the police.
Bipasha reached out to Fujifilm, maker of the Instax instant cameras, to see if it would be interested in lending support to the project. Fujifilm provided 1,000 instant prints and four Instax Wide cameras to the humanitarian project. Samsung has also endorsed the project by generously lending their video cameras.
Bipasha and Chris’ young children will join them on their trip and help take photos. “The beauty of an instant camera lies in its simplicity,” says Bipasha. “Even a child can take a photo and share it. Being able to immediately hand a print to someone who has never seen a photo develop before their eyes is pure magic.” Longtime friend and web development expert Julie Black Nicholas will also join the team in India to manage the project’s social media.
Thanks for your work. I do a similar type of photo giving in the Mayan Zone in Mexico. I am a pastor of a church in the U.S. and I lead missions teams. I use a Canon selfie printer with battery power to print out photos of children and families in the villages. I will be going to India next month and I hope to be able to do some photography and give away the photos there also. I will be working with a local Bishop, but do you have any advice on the culture and offering to take their pictures. I would love to share insights and more information on this type of work. Thanks
Great to see you bring this idea to life, my sister just alerted me to this as I had the exact same idea and secured a grant in 2013 through the company I worked for at the time to carry it out. I went on my India photo trip in fall 2014, would love to chat about it if/when you’re available as I really do want to expand as much as possible. Feel free to reach out.
That is great Anand! Where in India did you go? Did you document it? We’d love to see your photos. You can reach us at email@example.com