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    Entries in Helping (1)

    One hundred cameras

    A view days ago I became aware of the 100cameras photography project through a popular podcast. The project described itself as

    a nonprofit organization that identifies children living in unjust conditions and gives them cameras to document their lives.

    Their photo narratives are used to raise awareness and capital to meet physical needs and empower sustainable growth within their community.

    100cameras believes that children should be both heard and defended. Photography is the vehicle that both carries their voice across borders and raises funds to better their communities.

    When you purchase one of the children's prints, 100percent of that money is given back to the partner organization.

    Doing good for others in less privileged circumstances is commendable. Or so it seems. Yes, - giving children the opportunity to discover photography, to create images of their worlds, even to learn a skill is beyond question a worthy intention. Good work in this direction has been demonstrated by PhotoVoice over the last ten years.

    But niggling questions remain about 100cameras. Is it right to sell the creative work of children to well off consumers thousands of miles away? Are children in "unjust conditions" coming any closer to justice through publication of their experiences in image making? Is this project assuming that no voices and photographers exist already wanting to "be heard and defended"?

    100cameras links the context of these photographs intrinsically to a commercial transaction. When is aid given and when is an unjust condition exploited?

    Three video clips worth pondering about:

    1. A promotional video from 100cameras
    2. A promotional video from PhotoVoice
    3. A trailer for Renzo Martens' work entitled "Enjoy Poverty"

    I let you make up your own mind. If you have an opinion, please leave a comment below.