I was asked by Kristen Ashburn to give a presentation to a group of photographers in Kigali yesterday. The focus was on using the Internet to upload and distribute images and generally engage with other photographers around the world using tools like Twitter.
The photographers are all orphans of the 1994 Genocide and members of the Rwanda Project – a non-profit project, backed by U.S. donors which has been running for the last ten years. You can view their work in the gallery section of the project website.
Back at Imbabazi Orphanage in Gisenyi, northern Rwanda, the group have office space, Internet access and access to far better photographic equipment than I. The 19-strong group have tentative plans to use the money earned from photograph sales and donations to form a professional collective based out of Gisenyi.
They asked me a tonne of questions and I’m hopeful that some of the thinking behind this blog and the advice I put together for them might be of help as they plan an online presence for their work in the near future.
I talked to a number of the children and young adults about their photographs – many of which are excellent – including Jacqueline pictured above. She took the picture of her friend Gadi at the market with her first ever roll of film when she was just 8 years old.
“In 2002 I submitted several of the children’s photos to Camera Arts and View Camera Magazine’s Annual Photo Contest. The contest had several categories: Documentary, Advertising, Student, Portraiture, etc. I thought that the photos should be entered into the student category, but I did not have copies of the kids’ student ID’s, which were required in the submission guidelines. Therefore, I had to write a letter explaining the circumstances, and suggested that Jacqueline’s photo of Gadi could be entered into the Portraiture category. To our delight and surprise, Jacqueline won “First Prize — Portraiture,” and received a cash prize that will go to her education. What I didn’t tell the jury was that it was the first roll of film she ever shot! But if you look at her other photos you will see that it was no accident,” – David Jiranek – Rwanda Project Founder – 2002
Photographs taken from my personal Flickr account.