Hello friends !
A little warning. This is the longest post I have so far done, because it is about the most important thing I have done so far in my life.
Please read & check out pics & enjoy the positive vibes only Jamaica can give you !
For the last few months I’ve been working towards teaching a photography workshop in Kingston, Jamaica, in collaboration with HELP Jamaica! -education center in Cassava Piece as well as Jamaican Social Development Commission.
I collected donation cameras from Finland, bought some in NYC and carried all 15 of them (in hand luggage) to Kingston.
Last week I finally saw the project happen with the help of my friend, Jamaican artist, Kimone Cotterell and the wonderful Gavin Myers from SDC.
Together we held a 4-day workshop at the Church on the Rocks in the Cassava Piece community for local people whose ages and life stories were extremely diverse.
Some of the youngest students turned out to be really talented and quick to learn, with a few of them even wanting to study photography in the future.
One of the oldest students has recently got out of prison after serving 25 years and has never used a camera before but told me that he wants to take more now because pictures are about memories. The other one of my mature students has turned out to be probably the most productive and naturally talented photographer of the punch, who eagerly carries the camera everywhere documenting the community he loves and does his best to care for.
One of my students told me that this has given her life new direction. All of them have been enthusiastic and interested and positive and extremely quick to learn.
I could not have asked to work with a better group of people, the students, my colleagues, HELP Jamaica! & SDC staff included.
This past week makes me feel very humble and joyful of the power to touch people’s lives for the better with simple things like giving forward a skill you have. It can change the course of somebody’s entire life.
The students shot with point & shoot cameras but everyday we went through a little information about the technique and values of photography. Most of each day was spent shooting around the Cassava Piece community as well as Downtown Kingston.
For the weekend they each had a camera to shoot whatever they wanted and yesterday we had a personal evaluation day.
This week Friday we are holding an exhibition at the HELP Jamaica -education center in Cassava Piece of the best student work. On Friday I’ll post the same work on my website too.
I’m also making a documentary of the workshop and will show it at the Helsinki exhibition in August.
Cassava piece is know as community with a bad reputation but the reputation is wildly exaggerated and I believe magnifying the worst things can only make everything worse so with this workshop we concentrate on the positive even if some issues are serious.
I hope some of the following and the upcoming student pictures will help to lift the unwanted reputation a little. Cassava Piece is a community just like any other. People are basically the same everywhere you go and we all want the same things out of life - love, security, health and peace for ourselves, our families and loved ones.
Here’s some pics of the students at work and Friday I’ll publish their best work !
@ HELP Jamaica! -education center
5 Cassava Piece Rd
WARM WELCOME !