Camera Story Local
Camera Story Local is the focus of Camera Story's work in Perth, Western Australia. Using photography as a tool for empowerment, Camera Story works in under resourced and vulnerable areas creating opportunities, connecting communities and promoting the visual arts.
Camera Story, since its inception in 2013, has taught photography as a life skill. Camera Story works with all people using the camera as a conduit for imaginative self expression; vocational learning; visual literacy; community collaboration and creative communication.
Camera Story has been involved with many photography projects in the Perth area. Its number one project is its long-standing collaboration with the charity 12 Buckets. This collaboration sees Camera Story mentors partnered with "at-risk" primary school aged kids using the camera as a tool of creative reconciliation, inspiration, and vocation. Camera Story team members visit students each week to work on long term photography projects devised by the Camera Story mentors and their mentees. This program has now been running for three years and has been a success.
“They assist students who have troubled home lives through their mentoring programs. They work closely with students to develop positive relationships with adults in which students learn to trust, have fun and open up. They develop school based learning programs that assist students in their social emotional and life skills.” — Classroom Teacher, Balga Primary School
Besides their weekly work with the 12 Buckets Charity, Camera Story local has been involved with many projects which include the following. Working closely with Save the Children to deliver a Friday night engagement program for youth in the City of Armadale; being flown to the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia by Awesome Arts to participate in their yearly Creative Challenge program which sees artists creatively collaborate with school aged students from remote and vulnerable areas; working with young refugee girls through the ASeTTS organisation; setting up a free professional family portrait studio for the annual Mission Australia Christmas Lunch in the Park; encouraging lively after school activities through the PCYC centre in Fremantle; and collaborating with the community engagement specialists Skate Sculpture to promote social inclusion and healthy spaces.
All members of the Camera Story team have for many years been involved with the Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia (YACWA) youth homelessness project, Home is Where My Heart Is. This project sees emerging photographers paired with young homeless people to create a photographic narrative of their idea of home.
Camera Story's most recent local collaboration has been working with the City of Stirling on two major photography projects. The first being the engagement of local schools who run Intensive English Courses (IEC). Camera Story held a series of in-class creative camera workshops for the IEC students, with the work produced to be exhibited in a public photography exhibition for Harmony Week. The second project is a Camera Story devised public art exhibition named "See the Whole World in the City of Stirling". This November Camera Story hosted a series of kids photographic workshops throughout the City of Stirling that were designed to reach out to as many kids from as many diverse backgrounds as possible. The art produced at these workshops was focused on seeing the community through the eyes of its children and will be displayed at the 2016 Summerset Arts Festival.
Camera Story Regional
Camera Story Regional is a project throughout Western Australia's remote Indigenous communities that sees CS bring its educational tools to Aboriginal people. Using the camera as a means to open up communication pathways and facilitate self expression - as well as using photography as a creative and documentary tool - Camera Story have had great success in sharing the power of photography throughout greater WA.
Camera Story not only works with the kids in the community, teaching about basic camera functions, creativity, visual literacy and story telling but also with adult Arts Workers. Camera Story encourages learning documentary photography skills - instructing participants on technique, style and process whilst helping people to document themselves and their culture. Important outcomes being that participants have learned the ability to become creators and keepers of their own cultural archive; have learned new vocational skills and have been exposed to new forms of media and image dissemination.
Camera Story International
Integral to Camera Story's core philosophy is the connection of communities across the world through the power of compassionate photography.
In June 2016 the Camera Story team headed to Ladakh and Kashmir in the North of India to conduct creative camera workshops with the kids of these regions and to facilitate a cross cultural art exchange between Australia and India. In Ladakh, Camera Story were given the pleasure to work with the socially conscious travel and tour agency Frozen Himalayas and in Kashmir were honoured to collaborate with the established international human rights organisation KYAI (Kashmir Youth Arts Initiative).
Over the course of eight sessions with four different groups, Camera Story presented their classic creative camera and narrative story telling workshop. They encouraged the kids in the manual functions of a DSLR camera; basic lighting and composition techniques; visual literacy and photographing for a documentary style narrative. With the younger kids, the workshops focused on exploring their potential and dreams, the older kids were asked to create a narrative based upon their lives, community or culture.
The purpose of these workshops was multi-fold. Firstly, as with every Camera Story workshop, the primary intention was to educate about the power of photography as a communications medium; how to utilise imagery to communicate ideas and to understand the codes of visual literacy for positive representation. Other outcomes were bringing much-needed resources and opportunities to vulnerable areas; encouraging self-expression and creativity where it is not necessarily encouraged; and to connect kids, communities and cultures throughout the world with the power of compassionate photography.
In addition to the story-telling element of our workshop, photographs created by the Camera Story kids of Australia were shared with the Camera Story kids of Northern India. Students were asked to engage with the photographs, discuss as a group the vital information contained in each - essentially the how, what, where, who and why - and encouraged to create a narrative based upon the images they were shown. The response of the workshop participants to this exercise was overwhelming - with much discussion, debate raised and ideas shared. The photographic narratives produced from the Ladakh and Kashmir sessions have been bought back to Australia to share with the Camera Story kids here - hopefully with equal impact.
We have already begun to plan our 2017 adventure - with more kids, more collaborators, more magic. Watch this space ...