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Today we have a guest post from Ariya Martin of the New Orleans Kid Camera Project. The Crescent City is a realm near and dear to my own heart and to many others here, and I think this initiative is one of the most inspiring to emerge in the post-Katrina era.
Well, as the first blog posted from the New Orleans Kid Camera Project, and as one of the organizers, I thought it would be appropriate to give a project overview and talk about our mission.
The New Orleans Kid Camera Project is a grassroots community endeavor that was created to address the psychological and emotional impacts of Hurricane Katrina on children returning home to New Orleans. Working with professionals in mental health, journalism, photography, and emerging Internet technologies, participants develop the creative, cognitive and technical skills to represent their own experience and perspective without external mediation. The primary goal of the project is to furnish young New Orleans' residents with the skills, equipment, motivation and expectation of success that will empower them throughout their lives to advocate on their own behalf, influence policy to create social change, find a creative outlet to process the changes they have undergone, and expose a broad, global constituency to their community's ongoing struggle.
In addition to valuable creative and technical training, participants also find opportunities to have their voices heard directly and to be taken seriously as creative and documentary talents. The children of Post-Katrina New Orleans are our young artists, documentary photographers, historians and educators. The streets in their photographs depict historically neglected communities, which prior to Katrina had been underrepresented and overlooked. They capture images of this unique time in United States history, from the heart of their city, as only residents of New Orleans can.
This project began in October of 2006, and since that time we have collected more than 3,000 images, which represent 10 New Orleans neighborhoods. Our participants' work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout New Orleans, as well as nationally.
The images I have chosen show the range and scope of what our kids take pictures of- what stories they want to tell- and the tools the use in the process. Most of the images were made within the last year.
As a professional photographer and a teacher I am continually amazed not only by the photographs made by children ranging in age from five years old to fifteen, but also by the the connections and friendships formed through working on this Camera Project.
Thanks for letting me share.