Via NY Arts
The role of photojournalism today is to allow the viewer a up-close and somewhat personal look at subjects that are detached from the publics’ everyday life, and to shed light on pressing issues. Visual language has become the main method of this intimate communication between subject and viewer, because words do not seem to be as effective or powerful anymore. This direct communication is extremely apparent at “Unbroken: Photography Subjects Speak Out,” a non-profit show at Denise Bibro Gallery in Chelsea.
The show is a collection of images from various projects done by the independent non-profit group Photovoice, whose outreach program sponsors training programs for people in need from underdeveloped nations around the globe (mainly children and minors) in photography and journalism. The projects of Photovoice incorporate the spirit and mind of the populations, allowing them to photograph themselves, determining the way they are depicted. This is a twist on traditional photojournalism, in the way that it is transforming the subject into the creator. These images serve as vehicles not only for knowledge, as many of the participants of Photovoice have aspirations of becoming professional photographers and journalists, but also for freedom, as many reside in refugee camps or nations where their basic freedoms have been taken away. The result is a collection of images that are not only aesthetically beautiful, but powerful and informative images of the world that is easily forgotten.
From the PhotoVoice web site:
Often seen only as subjects in photojournalism, Afghani and Vietnamese street kids from Kabul and Ho Chi Minh City, young Bhutanese refugees in Nepal and mentally and physically disabled students in Bogota, Colombia, use the medium of photography to “speak” about their lives. The result is a unique and powerful exhibition that captures the essence of hope, determination and the human will to survive. In Ho Chi Minh City, they sell lottery tickets. In Kabul, it’s walnuts. In both cities, poverty has driven children to spend long days at dusty roadside tables to earn mere pennies. In Nepal, Bhutanese teens in packed refugee-camp classrooms have a near-perfect attendance – education is their only hope out of their transient circumstances. And in Bogotá, mentally and physically disabled students strive to present their vision in art and photography. The photographs in Unbroken have emerged from three PhotoVoice projects: Street Vision (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), Bibin (Kabul, Afghanistan) and The Rose Class (UN run refugee camps in Nepal). A fourth project, linked to PhotoVoice, is a collaboration between students at K’ipay, a school for the mentally and physically disabled in Bogotá and New York artist, Anna Lise Jensen. There will also be an auction and exhibition of well-known photographers who support the organization.