We had our first class on Monday, and while the younger girls didn’t make it because they were still working out permission from their parents, the older girls came and we had a very enthusiastic start. The rest of the girls will be there today for the second class, so then we will have our entire group.
I have a Kinyarwanda translator and so far we seem to be getting meanings very well back and forth. Some photography terms have been tricky for her to translate, but overall I think it’s working very well. The girls don’t speak as much French as I had anticipated, so I am not able to use my French skills, what they are.
We spent most of class looking at photographs, from books that I brought from home, and on websites, including those of my friend Toni Greaves (you know I love your work!). I included work from several of my teachers at ICP who had an impact on me, including Andrew Lichtenstein, Andre Lambertson, and Lori Grinker. I chose a number of women photographers, but tried to mix it up too.
I’m always looking for photography to show them, so to all my photographer friends, if you have anyone whose work you think they should see, please send me your thoughts. In particular work about girls, and by girls, which I haven’t found as much of as I would have liked.
At the end of class we gave them their cameras, and they got very excited and started taking pictures of each other. I would like to give a big Thank You to Jon at Pro Photo in Portland who is helping to support this project and who helped us to get cameras for the girls to learn on.
Today at class things will get really exciting when we get to see what they shot for their first assignment. I’m looking forward to hearing about what stories they have to tell and honored to be a part of that process.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all my friends back in Oregon and around the US and around the world. Love to you all, Paige
On a fun side note, I was recently at the grocery store here, Nakumatt, when I was told my receipt showed I had won a prize. Lots of people ran around, getting this gift, getting a camera, and they took a picture of me with workers from the store giving me my wrapped present, in honor of Valentine’s Day, which apparently is pretty big here. I relayed this story to a friend who lives here and she said winning prizes is a really big deal to them, something I could tell by all the fuss they made about it. I have to try to get my hands on the picture they took, I’m told it is probably up in the store so I will have to go see. This is the wine they gave me.