Photography Photo Projects give people, who may not otherwise have the
opportunity, a chance to do something so many of us take for granted - explore life through photography. Through using cameras and photographs, participants learn and develop new skills, regardless of their age, ability or background. They learn, discover and have fun,
sometimes in a group but often individually.
One of the key outcomes for Responsible Photography photo projects is that they give people the chance to photograph where they live through their own eyes. Introducing photography, running a project, or as in Ethiopia and Morocco, helping individual photographers is very rewarding. Many people still do not have electricity, running water or enough to eat, let alone own or have the use of a camera or mobile phone. Very often people find themselves the unwilling subject of a photograph, without even having the chance to say whether they wish to be photographed or not.
Setting up the photo projects, the logistics and planning, collecting everything needed, plus trying to get support, funding and sponsorship is not straightforward. There are cultural differences, organisational issues, different opinions and lots of other challenges to overcome. The process can be lengthy and frustrating. Individuals can benefit much quicker than group photo projects, and there are a number of different ways that people get to collaborate and participate - so a 'photo project' does not always mean a 'group' project but can be about mentoring and encouraging individual photographers.
One of the ways that Gail is able to organise overseas photo projects and encourage participation in photography is through Responsible Photography Field Trips on location. The Founding Principles of Responsible Photography are all about involving local people and local communities, so Gail's local partners, guides and helpers are all encouraged to get involved and participate as much as possible. In fact, a couple of her local partner's team in Ethiopia and Morocco are now really keen photographers - over the years they have developed their photographic skills and are now taking some great photographs.Gail and her Responsible Photography partners also get involved with taking photographs of 'people' - it might be hard to believe in the snap happy world we live in, but many people will never have had their photograph taken, or owned a photograph of themself. Gail comments, "it is very humbling as a photographer to return somewhere with a printed photograph and watch the face of someone looking at a photograph of themself for the first time".