If you give someone a camera, they change. Whether they're looking through the viewfinder or a traditional SLR or at the bright screen of a handheld digital camera, they are looking through something. They are putting a lens between themselves and the world. They look, they think, they frame and they consider, something we rarely do in our everyday lives. Then they push the button and they choose. With that button they say, "That!" or "This!" or "That face!" Right or wrong, they have made a choice of what to show us and in that choosing they connect and they exist and there is a record of their time on this earth.
When I went to Tibet I didn't speak the language. I didn't know the area or have any experience with the culture. I came first as a volunteer and second as a photographer to a free school in the Amdo Provence. I brought some cameras and I put them in the hands of the orphaned students at the Tibetan Home of Hope. I let them show me what I needed to know and they looked through child's eyes and they made choices. Through them, I didn't see a portrait of abandoned victims. Instead I saw strength, hope, beauty, love and a future promise for these children.
ABOUT TIBETAN HOME OF HOPE
Tibetan Home of Hope is a home and school for children who would otherwise be abandoned – a home in the deepest sense, where young people receive loving care, food, shelter, medical attention and the practical foundation needed to develop into independent adults with a full appreciation of their Tibetan heritage. Please contact www.tibetanhomeofhope.org. for more information on ways you can help.