Last summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to reside in the Tibetan community based in Palpung Monastery,India, where I had been working on my ongoing project on the exiled Tibetan Diaspora. Initially when I arrived at the place, I was quite nervous since being in a completely new environment among strangers seemed a daunting task to search for a story.
After a lot of introspection I decided to approach the Rinpoche of the Monastery to allow me to teach the small monks photography in their free time. This activity, that began as a way for me to ‘find a story’ quickly became something that I looked forward to everyday. Besides that it was really interesting to see from the perspective of these little children who had never held a camera before. Everyday I would devote an hour to gather a group of kids interesting in learning the skill and slowly they started treated me as their own; I didn’t feel like an outsider anymore. It is in fact that very trait of successful photographer that allows them to assimilate so well into the communities they are photographing that they do justice to the stories and aren’t merely romanticizing the struggles of people.
Before leaving the monastery I dropped off two point and shoot cameras with the children hoping to come back after a year and see how they have documented their own narratives. This summer I will be creating a blog comprised of all the images they have taken hoping to find a story that I couldn’t document myself.
Welcome to the Community Collaborations Resource Blog
Future Imagemakers / Community Collaborations is a participatory photography project in the Department of Photography & Imaging offering free digital photography classes to high school students and at the same time offering teaching training and experience to NYU students interested in teaching and working in community-based art settings. This blog is forum for looking at art as an expanded practice with links to community-based arts programs, activist projects, readings, curricular ideas, and more.
Lorie Novak, Director
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