a thousand words

Photography - Kakkayankulam, August 2017

This photo-walk was the first of many photography/photo-journalism that we hope to do with the various schools that we work with.

We had a generous donation of cameras from several people and were able to have a few kids to each camera on a few rotations. We thought very hard about how to break down the sessions and to ensure that the kids would be able to each get enough time, as well as us being able to tell whose pictures were whose at the end of the day.

Once the kids got wind that cameras were involved, all hell broke loose and trying to let them know that all would get a chance – one at a time – took a while. Once the groups were set, we took them aside to explain how it would work. Each child would write their name on a piece of paper and they would take a photo of it before taking their set of photos – for our ease, so we could separate them later.

We had a total of 6 cameras in the first round, with two kids to each. Each was given 10 minutes to take 10 photos, and we went on a walk to the drying lake nearby. This yielded some interesting stories of the kids’ and the community’s relationship to the lake, and how it was now that it had been dry for so long.

The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves and we wished we didn’t have to drag them away to start the next rotation. We took the next lot around the village road closeby, and they visited the home of one of their classmates – I realised they were thirsty and had all gone for a drink of water from her house. Three cameras died, so to keep the kids occupied we talked to them about their dreams for the future – like, not the kind you would draw but the kind you feel would be most likely – which was an incredible insight.

For the 3rd round, we had only three cameras and since we were running out of time, had to assign 5 kids to each for 5 photos. We felt terrible to do it in such a rush, seeing how much they enjoyed it, but we hope to return and maybe do longer, in-depth sessions with the kids at a later date.

We noticed the care and detail with which kids captured their surroundings, different textures of plants to sweeping landscapes of the lake and mosque. Nearly all of them hadn’t used a camera before, and were thrilled at this taster round, and definitely with longer time it would be an interesting method of telling stories of who they are and where they’re from.

This would not have been possible without our incredible friends – thank you for your generosity with the cameras and helping us give the kids an exciting day they absolutely enjoyed.

  • Saakidhya Manohara
  • Shamendri de Silva
  • Frances Brown
  • ElDante Winston
  • Renee Caso
  • Robin Ganek
  • Liz McCormick
  • Emily Margulies
  • Bryan Locascio
  • Jacqueline and Chiat Koo


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