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We feel that the visual image is powerful. It can create emotions, self-reflection and tell a story. The image can be a tool with "which to obtain knowledge beyond that provided from direct analysis.” , and that, photographs can also entail psychological significance and overtones because the feedback can “stimulate people to express feelings about themselves and how they view their culture.” (John and Malcolm Collier in Visual Anthropology: Photography as a Research Method (1986, p.122)
Images can be used as to communicate our deepest feelings, to bring people together and to combat shared problems.
- We want to strengthen bonds and the ability to develop social networks outside of their borders and provide an avenue for voices to be heard around the world.
- We want to assist the groups to feel a sense of power rather than feeling powerless.
- To create "rational empathy" a sense of communicating understanding and generate meaningful wholes in their placement in the world and communities.
- To provide an avenue to create peace between two conflict groups, or at least help to provide a stone in the wall towards that peace.
- To strengthen knowledge of individual identity within a community so they can make steps towards their own personal visions in their lives.
- To strengthen knowledge of group or sub-culture identity within a community so they can move forward with the empowerment needed to create change.
The Crossing Borders Project distributes disposable camera's and conducts workshops to diverse groups around the world to share their stories with the other parts of the world rather than the mainstream news telling their stories. The participants shares, critiques, and learns about photography story telling while at the same time the individual reflects internally about their placement in the community and personal life. The group generates their voice and learns about their identity in their community while understanding what they can do to make a difference and possibly taking steps to make that change. One by one, group by group people can take steps to make their communities and the world a better place.
The Crossing Borders Project acts as a facilitator and encourager to those who are living in restricted environments, or for those who want to share their stories. There are no leaders and there are no rules. The participants decides on when and where to meet, what their story is, and what they want to do with the results.
The workshops last about one month and meets once or twice a week, depending on the location and the time needed to develop the film. The CB (Crossing Borders) Project uses film because by holding the actual image and passing it around makes the event and images "more real" rather than through viewing the images on a computer screen. Also, in most places access to digital camera's, Internet, and computers is difficult to organize in a group setting.
Throughout the workshop, the participants decide what story they want to share and chose their favorite images in which to share their stories. Near the end of the project, the participants gather their images and stories, in text or without text to share with the group. The participants review the images and as a group they decide what story they want to share as a sub-culture.
Normally, the groups and the CB Project conducts an exhibition as an avenue to share the stories, creates short videos from the images to post on You Tube, and/or makes books as a combination of the groups stories.
The results have been positive, groups want to spread the process to others and conduct the workshops among their peers, some participants have decided to make their environment a nicer place by planting trees and creating a greener place to live, others have wanted to continue the workshops even by distance.
- The Crossing Borders Project goes where it can and when it can to conduct these workshops to those who would like to generate their voice.
- We can provide academic lectures on the concepts involved
- We can conduct exhibitions to those who want to share the stories told
- We can work under contract for organization
The project started as a form of "Peace Photojournalism" that is controversial to the academic world. How can photojournalism help bring peace? The idea is to take the stories created to the "other side" in the conflict region. In conflict the groups become isolated from each other and gather their information from their local news stations or by word of mouth. They start to believe in stereotypes, a belief that the other is a true enemy, and out to get them.
- By Crossing the Borders with the stories to the other side, it can start to humanize one to the other, they can see that they have real struggles and lives just as their own.
- It can start to wipe away the false beliefs of one to the other and possibly prepare an avenue for sitting at the table together to solve their differences.
- By Crossing the Borders to the rest of the world, those on the outside can learn about the struggles and voices that need to be heard. Maybe it will provide encouragement for the citizens and people of the world to lift a helping hand to those in need. This also can help wipe away stereotypes of underprivileged groups, such as the homeless, or unemployed.
- The CB Project intends to offer avenues of individual self-reflection through the workshops and image taking. This is an inner healing process for those involved and it works!
- The CB Project also aids in sub-culture and group cultural identity and placement in their society. Many times this identity tends to become lost through the struggles of survival and/or living in the midst of conflict.
Note: You can click on the links below and/or search (right side) on this blog the name of the project to view the videos, stories and text. You can also click on the Video Tab on this blog.
Aida Refugee Camp (Aydia) Facts and Figures; Aida Camp A Small History
To Aida Camp through the Checkpoint
Students In Florence, Italy
Medjugorje, Bosnia: A Glimpse into Medjugorje
Haitian Voices - Quick Facts ; Haiti Images
America: Elderly in Retirement Homes