National Geographic Photo Camp comes to Cite Soleil
Friday was clear and hot, as 18 young Haitians from around Port au Prince piled out of vans onto the concrete soccer field in Pax Christi, site of the collaborative EcoSan and garden projects of SOIL and Bochika. The students were selected from their communities to participate in the week-long program, learning about cameras and shooting techniques. Every day they visited different sites and learned to capture images, from which they produced their own photo book at the end.
National Geographic staff led them to the composting toilets where Sasha and Franz explained the composting toilet project, and how the compost produced from the toilets goes to feed the adjacent garden. After the talk, the photo students went wild taking pictures, using plants and other students as their subjects. That day, they were learning how to have a relationship with what they were photographing: to learn about the history or story of the subject(s), ask questions, and ask permission. It was great to see their animation and excitement, and to even see some students explaining and demonstrating what they had learned to the local kids, letting them experiment with the camera equipment.
After a few hours shooting in the garden and surrounding neighborhood, the exhausted kids piled back into their vans – that evening they would edit and select their best shot. In total each student would go on to shoot over 1,000 photos each over the week. The goal of Photo Camp was not to transform these students into professional photographers (granted some of those shots were amazing), but to just give the opportunity to experience learning about film equipment, and then be able to practice that with guidance. After the photo camp was finished the SOIL staff got to see the 15 minute slide show of the best shots – we were blown away!! These kids really picked up some great photo techniques. We’re wishing them all the best, and are happy that we could be involved in their learning experience!