When Jens Lennartsson, a Swedish travel and commercial photographer turned 30, he struck upon an idea to create a movement around the world that would empower children in some of the poorest countries in the world to tell their own stories.
Jens is joined by Sara Hansson, also from Sweden, in this new global photography project called: Eye Am.
“By doing two week photo workshops, we teach kids in developing countries how to photograph, giving them the opportunity to show their life from their perspective, instead of just letting media tell their sometimes flat and generalizing story. And together with you, we create a more realistic view of the world.”
Jens and Sara sat down with me yesterday to talk about their project. Please check out this video below:
Lennartsson and Hansson are seeking to raise $33,000 in the next 12 days for this project. They want to be able to buy 20 cameras (and accessories like memory cards) and also computers that these young photographers can use in the field to process their images. These devices will be used in all three locations – 1) Renl, Ukraine, 2) Addis, Ethiopia and 3) Nairobi, Kenya
So, here's why this project appealed to me and I am helping Jens and Sara spread the word.
First off, I am from India and from what I have seen in the nearly 45 years of my existence, the images of India seen by those in the US are largely by non-Indians. While it's true they brings their unique perspectives and skill sets to capture images of either daily life or strife, there is nothing like reading, hearing or seeing the story unfold from the perspective of a local inhabitant. There are nuances that outsiders may simply miss that highlights the actual situation on the ground.
After years of being offered only a one-sided view of a situation, isn't it time we saw the world from a different, and thus, enriched perspective? By asking children to take part, we can be hopeful that their sense of spontaneity and living in the moment will garner us a fresh look into their lives and perhaps more importantly give those children a way to boost their confidence and appreciate themselves.
Whether it is the Ukraine, Ethiopia or Kenya, these kids are going to have an incredible ride into discovering who they are, for themselves. This project appeals to me because I am a father of two young boys who, given the opportunity, love to express themselves in sports, music and the visual arts. As a photographer, this is a no-brainer: we need to foster visual literacy among our young so that they in turn can continue to the tradition of recording and interpreting the world around them.
Learn more about this project and to support it, check out Eye Am's IndieGoGo's campaign page. I ask that you take a moment now to go to that page and give what you can.