documentographer
2008
Jul 27

Piga Picha Party!!!

Can I tell you a secret?

I’m relieved that yesterday is over!

So much planning and so much work went into our community party, and I’m really happy to say that it went off beautifully!!

In order to get people to come, we decided to make flyers and hand them out to people passing in the street. Here are some of the children watching the excitement from the orphanage gate, underneath our party banner.

At 11am, the festivities began! We had football (soccer), facepainting, crown-making and balloons.

Surrounding the property, the show was on display. We had easels made that we painted, which showcased two images per board. The show is called, ‘Pieces of Innocence’, and will be coming to a gallery near you in the coming months.



To keep the day flowing, we had excellent facilitators. They MC’ed, led dance competitions, brought rappers, and entertained for hours.

One of the most important things the facilitators did, was break our guests up into groups and discussed issues such as HIV/AIDS, poverty, orphans and the relationship between them all.
Our hope was for this dialogue to bring St. Clare’s orphanage into their local radar, and also to bring their own personal sense of responsibility to the forefront of their minds.

Our only hurdle yesterday was that lunch was very late. Late, even for African time! However, eventually the pilau did arrive, and all the children squished tight together in a single file line to get their meal.

At the end of the day, our guest of honour, Wendy Muckle (who had just arrived from Canada that morning) , gave a brief speech honouring the photographers and the importance of the work they are doing.

She also handed out the certificates of completion that we gave each student in our Piga Picha program.

And suddenly, that was it. The end of our session here. Words cannot describe how hard it was to say goodbye to our new friends, who we have grown to love enormously. Watching them pack themselves into the van for the last time before driving away was heartbreaking.

It might be the end of this program, but it is never goodbye.


When You Look At A Tree, What Do You See?

We are very excited to get yesterday’s film back. Our little class went really well. Better than I expected, actually.

First we talked about all the ways to photograph a tree. Trunk, leaves, flowers, and other obvious elements. Then I talked about forests, wind in trees, sun through leaves, looking up a tree, etc.

The orphans have hardly ever left the orphanage. I can’t even comprehend exactly how familiar their surroundings are to them. So familiar, they probably don’t even see it. So this was an exercise in the hopes of helping them expand how they see their surroundings.

I held up photos from magazines that I chose based on their effective composition qualities, to play with this idea, after exemplifying Shapes, Colours, Lines and Patterns, Space and Detail.

Holding up a photo of a man biking along a red dirt road, I asked, “what is this a picture of?”

“A bike”

“A man”

“A tree”

“Yes, these are all correct. What else?”

*silence*

“Is this a picture of colour?”

“Yes!”

“Is this a picture of space?”

“Yes!”

Soon, a few pictures in, after naming every element in the photo, they were identifying lines, colours, details, etc. themselves.

Off they then went to use a roll of film around the orphanage, just for those components. No pictures of friends, goats, or buildings allowed. Nothing specific. Just colours, shapes, space, and details.

For some, this was very challenging. They stood there with their cameras, unsure of where to go. We would ask them what they saw, and soon they were running toward lines, and colours. I pointed one child to the clothesline. We walked over together, and when I encouraged him to get closer, he started to see what it looked like from underneath. He had a new perspective. I am excited for that photo.

Others took to it right away, and could be found climbing trees looking down, or taking interesting pictures through the reflection of a car review mirror.

Yesterday was our last day of shooting, and I think we all feel it ended on a high point.

Now we are making selections for the show, and are in a high gear of planning for the community party on Saturday. We’re expecting about 200 people, orphans included. In addition to an exhibit of the 11X14 photos that the orphans took, there will be games, speakers on HIV/AIDS, music, and dialogue facilitators.

Ok, lots to do. Less writing, more action.

We’ll be in touch soon.