Thursday, September 30, 2010

FOTO KIDS - Guatemala

You know how it goes that I blog about stuff... I know somebody that... or I´ve been to... This post is no exception.
My cousin Flavio married Linda this young lady with and extraordinary spirit (here a post about their wedding). Linda works for FotoKids and was a Foto kid herself.

What is Foto Kids:

"Fotokids was founded in Guatemala in 1991 by ex-Reuters photojournalist, Nancy McGirr, and was originally calledOut of the Dump. The project began with a group of six children aged 5 - 12, who lived and worked in Guatemala City's vast garbage dump. The purpose of Fotokids is to help small groups of Central American young people from the poorest of barrios develop useful, employable skills as a means to self-exploration, expression, and discovery. Through intensive, long-term personal relationships with teachers and mentors, participating children learn to use photography, creative writing, and computers as tools to examine their lives, families, communities and environment. Over the years, the project grew to include children from other economically poor areas of the capital. Since 1996, Fotokids has expanded to include communities outside Guatemala City. Currently Fotokids involves over 80 young people, ages 7 to 21, in six distinct communities."

Linda is the first one from left to right
I recently went to the inauguration of the expo "Family Landscapes" . All the photographers/kids were there. It is uplifting   to see them proud about their work, enthusiastic about themselves and with a spark in their eyes.
All pictures, I think, are thought provoking and they arouse mixed emotions. On one hand one can focus on the composition, the angle, the light, the movement but on the other it reveals a cruel reality.
One of my favorites was a picture of various elements a guitar leaning on a wall on top of a sewing machine around the neck of the guitar a measuring tape an hanging form a peg a faded red plastic hanger. Next to it a picture of someone. Another one that called my attention was a girl crying over a dead body behind a yellow plastic line. On the latter one I was told by the photographer that it was a made up composition but she was bummed that she could´t find the real yellow and black police plastic line.  I was relieved but then disturbed because even it was made up the situation  sounded to familiar to her. 
There was another one of a boy laying on the street with just shorts on and  a big old smile playing with all the chocolate rain water coming down the street to the sewage. Pictures of quinceañeras all dressed up posing on poverty backdrops. Another one I liked was a woman standing at the doorway, no door just a fuscia curtain. The hut very colorful. She in humble clothes with a Glamour magazine in her hands.
I think their work has an impact in their lives, it helps them focus in so many ways,  picture their life in the full meaning of the word picture, giving  them a sense of being able to change their life. To the one admiring the pictures it does the same in a different prospective!

Below a documentary of Foto Kids

If you are interested in donating an old camera write me and I will send you a US address to send it to.

PS. Just in case Flavio reads the article: You also have an extraordinary spirit!

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