WASHINGTON (March 26, 2007)–National Geographic photographer Ed Kashi and award-winning Mexican photographer Marcela Taboada will give 20 Mexican students, ages 13-17, a unique opportunity to document their lives and surroundings during National Geographic’s Oaxaca Photo Camp 2007. From March 30 to April 4, 2007, the students will fan out across the village of San Agustín Etla to shoot, edit and design a portrait of the community and of themselves. They are all in a unique situation — their parents are emigrating from Mexico to the United States and have had to leave their children behind.
Through art exploration and therapy, the project will focus on the lives the students have made for themselves. Art therapy is one of the strongest ways to create long-term positive recovery for children who have had traumatic experiences, experts who work with displaced populations believe.
Kashi and Taboada will brief the students on their photographic vision and techniques, accompany them on assignments, critique their work and guide them through the process of telling a story through photography. As the work is reviewed, the team will use the photographs as a catalyst for discussion about the young peoples’ life experiences.
“We hope that Photo Camp 2007 can give these students a voice and the opportunity to explore the current state of their lives,” said Terry Garcia, National Geographic’s executive vice president, Mission Programs. “We feel honored to participate in this endeavor.”
During the six-day workshop at the Centro de las Artes de San Agustín (CASA) in Barrio Vista Hermosa, San Agustín Etla, the students will be assigned to shoot images of “Surroundings,” “My Life in San Agustín” and “Self Portraits.” The photographers, with project leader Kirsten Elstner and National Geographic Web designer Jim Webb, will work with small groups of the teens during each session. EVOLT SLR cameras for the Photo Camp have been generously provided by Olympus Imaging America Inc. Additional equipment has been donated by Lowepro, Epson, Adobe and Kingston.
An exhibition of the students’ work will be presented at the Centro de las Artes de San Agustín on the final day of the workshop. The exhibit will also be displayed at a later date at the Centro Fotográfico Manuel Álvarez Bravo in Oaxaca City.
Taboada has lived in Oaxaca for more than 20 years. She was a National Geographic All Roads photographer in 2005. The All Roads Photography Program recognizes and supports talented indigenous and minority-culture photographic storytellers from around the world who are documenting their changing culture and community through photography.
Kashi, a freelance photographer since 1979, travels the world capturing stunning images of ordinary life in extraordinary communities. He has produced 13 stories for National Geographic magazine, most recently “Curse of the Black Gold: Hope and Betrayal in the Niger Delta,” in the February 2007 issue.
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 350 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and four other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; radio programs; films; books; DVDs; maps; and interactive media. National Geographic has funded more than 8,000 scientific research projects and supports an education program combating geographic illiteracy. For more information, visit nationalgeographic.com.