"They've proven that photography can help break down stereotypes, and they've become ambassadors for their borough." - Austin Merrill, co-founder, Everyday Africa
New York, NY (PRWEB) May 15, 2014
On May 22nd, sixteen middle school students will make their voices heard – through the power of photography. The photo exhibit is the culmination of a hands-on visual literacy program called Everyday Bronx, taught in partnership by nonprofit organizations the Bronx Documentary Center, Everyday Africa and The LAMP. The photos are also a chance for teens to show pride in the Bronx as they know it, and counteract the often negative reporting by mainstream media on daily life in their borough.
Using cellphone photographs from the Everyday Africa archive, students from the Immaculate Conception School explored how media often shape the way we understand other people, cultures and even ourselves. Like many countries in Africa, the Bronx is often part of a media narrative focusing on issues like violence and poverty. Left out of this portrayal are everyday experiences, such as buying groceries, playing school sports or celebrating birthdays, which are shared by many regardless of where they live.
“The children in this program have captured these kinds of moments in their own neighborhood - on the streets they walk every day and where their families work,” said Mike Kamber, Founder of Bronx Documentary Center. “Their photographs are a quiet revelation.”
“We are thrilled to spotlight the work these students have produced,” said Austin Merrill, co-founder of Everyday Africa. “They’ve proven that photography can help break down stereotypes, and they’ve become ambassadors of their borough.”
"I was impressed how, in such a short time, the students demonstrated their mastery of visual storytelling concepts through photography,” said D.C. Vito, co-founder and Executive Director of The LAMP. “When asked to discuss the concepts behind their photos, they confidently described both their reasoning and their intent for framing their compositions."
Over the course of the program, students learned basic concepts of visual composition and storytelling, and put those ideas into practice by taking pictures of their own, often with cameras on their cellphones. Professional photojournalists also came to the program to speak with students about their work documenting news and cultures from as far away as Liberia to as nearby as Brooklyn.
“This is just the beginning,” said Merrill. “Now that we’ve piloted the program in the Bronx and in several schools in Chicago, Everyday Africa is excited about the possibility of replicating this experience for students all over New York City and elsewhere.”
The exhibit is open to the public and will take place on Thursday, May 22nd from 5 – 6:30pm at the Bronx Documentary Center at 614 Courtlandt Avenue and 151st Street. The Everyday Bronx program was funded by the Open Society Foundations and the Pulitzer Center.
About Bronx Documentary Center: Founded in 2011, the Bronx Documentary Center (BDC) is a non-profit gallery and educational space devoted to documentary projects from around the globe. Located on the ground floor of a recently revitalized building in the South Bronx, the BDC aims to create an engaging environment for local and international photojournalists, artists, filmmakers, critics and educators committed to innovative methods of non-fiction storytelling. See more at http://bronxdoc.org/.
About Everyday Africa:
Everyday Africa, a collection of images shot on mobile phones across the continent, is an attempt to re-direct focus toward a more accurate understanding of what the majority of Africans experience on a day-to-day basis: normal life. As journalists who have lived and worked on the continent for years at a time, we find the extreme not nearly as prevalent as the familiar, the everyday. Founded in 2012. For more information: http://everydayafricaproject.com.
About The LAMP:
Founded in 2007, The LAMP envisions a world of critical and active participants, and seeks to educate and equip people to shape the media landscape through hands-on learning. By transporting equipment and educators directly to schools, library branches and community centers, The LAMP is able to reach communities which otherwise have little or no access to media and technology education. For more information: http://www.thelampnyc.org..