Step 1: Teach. Step 2: See what develops.
Photographs, and the need for them, are a part of daily life in the DRC. Job applications require them, the local administration insists on them for filings, and conferences and workshops are invariably documented with a ‘Photo de Famille’ at their conclusion. In Goma, people treasure the few photos of marriages, births and graduations they’ve managed to keep in the wake of so much destruction.
The photos don’t take themselves though; someone is behind the camera; with CAMME and Lens on Life’s Project’s support, they are children who may have never had an opportunity to touch a camera otherwise. Students learn framing, composition, technique, and how to tell a story through the power of imagery.
Beginning in 2016, Lens on Life Project photographers volunteering at CAMME trained dozens of young adults to create compelling images that document more than war, poverty, and death but focused on their communities, their lives, and their vision for a better future.
The compelling images created by youth at CAMME were displayed at an exhibition at one of Manhattan’s highest-profile galleries in 2017, raising more than $20,000, leading to the construction of the Lens on Life Project Media Lab at CAMME later that year.
Today, the lab hosts classes with young adults in a solar-powered lab providing state-of-the-art equipment to teach photography, film, and design. Perhaps most importantly, the photographers at Lens on Life have passed on their skills to local teachers, who today instruct the next generation of youth, teaching them to turn their visions into reality. If you’d like to support the lab, please consider a tax-deductible contribution to CAMME.