National Geographic will hold its first Photo Camp in India from Monday, Jan. 5, to Friday, Jan. 9, in the Jhadol area of Rajasthan. During the workshop, developed in partnership with Sanjhi, a Rajasthan-based NGO working with media literacy and sustainable development, National Geographic contributing photographer Ed Kashi will mentor 20 teenagers from the Udaipur region as they explore and document Jhadol’s communities and environment. The students, from rural and urban areas, will photograph, edit and design a portrait of this region’s ecological and social landscape, and will have the rare opportunity to interact and collectively reflect on environmental issues.
During the camp Kashi will brief the students on photographic vision, equipment and technique and guide them through the process of creating a story through photography and writing. The budding photographers will be assigned to subjects that help them better understand the environment and each other. In addition to Kashi, the young photographers will be assisted by National Geographic magazine senior photo editor Sadie Quarrier, who will review their work, using the photographs as a catalyst for discussion, and edit their photos for a final presentation and future gallery exhibitions.
During the workshop Sanjhi will host streetplays in the village to educate the teenagers about conservation and local environmental issues. The final edited collection of images will be exhibited at Udaipur’s cultural center, Lok Kala Mandal.
“We hope Photo Camp India will provide students with a unique lens on the world and help expand their awareness of the environment and their impact on it,” said Terry Garcia, National Geographic’s executive vice president, Mission Programs. “We are honored to participate in this endeavor.”
“This is a very exciting opportunity for our teenagers. This Photo Camp will be the first time most of them will interact visually with their environment and recognize the power of media to generate social awareness at a massive scale,” said Chhaya Bhanti, executive director, Sanjhi. “To be able to do so under the tutelage of Ed Kashi is a tremendous privilege.”
EVOLT 510 cameras for the Photo Camp have been provided by Olympus Imaging America Inc. After the workshop eight EVOLT 330 cameras, cards and readers will be donated to Sanjhi to help encourage the local youth to continue to document their world.
Kashi, a freelance photographer since 1979, travels the world capturing stunning images of ordinary life in extraordinary communities. As a photojournalist, filmmaker and educator, he is dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. He has produced 15 stories for National Geographic magazine, most recently “Fast Lane to the Future: India’s Superhighway” in the October 2008 issue.
National Geographic Mission Programs this year has sponsored Photo Camps in Costa Rica; Taos, N.M.; Chesapeake Bay; Appalachian Trail; Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, S.D.; Camden, Maine; New York; Santa Monica, Calif.; and Miami, in partnership with VisionWorkshops of Annapolis, Md. For more information, visit nationalgeographic.com/photocamp.
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 325 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 9,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program combating geographic illiteracy. For more information, visit nationalgeographic.com.
Founded in 1997 by Dr. Raj Bhanti and Chhaya Bhanti, Sanjhi, a word that means mutuality, symbolizes community participation. Its mission is to build a platform for awareness and action by empowering communities with media skills and educational resources on sustainable development. Sanjhi has conducted several programs in vocational training, children’s education, skill development and family counseling around the Mewar region. Recognizing the importance of research and visual documentation to comprehend the interconnectedness of social and environmental issues, Sanjhi is gearing itself into a global media platform. It aims to facilitate multi-channel dialogues on socio-environmental concerns by gathering and disseminating information from the grassroots and empowering members of communities with media access who are eager to create change within their local communities.