Where are the smiles?

Sep 2, 2008   //   Haiti  //  Comments Off on Where are the smiles?
Haiti 2007 on steps with girls

Hi. Here I am sitting outside a classroom in Ibo Beach, Haiti doing impromtu English lessons with these French speaking girls. They easily parroted my words and we laughed alot. In an effort to capture this scene I handed my SLR camera off to a young man. He struggled to figure out how to use it and numerous shots are taken. The girls crowded around and stared at the digital screen images. Later I study the shots and realize the girls are not smiling, while I’m always grinning to beat the band. My Haitian friend explained the girls have rarely, if ever, had their pictures taken and are trying to look serious for this important moment. Wow, smiling for a camera is actually a learned response.

Back in Florida, I come to the conclusion that it is infinitely unfair that I have this picture of these gorgeous girls and they do not. This realization is the catalyst for starting a non-profit aimed at bringing personal photography to the rest of the world’s kids and families. The idea is to shift the paradigm (ever met a paradigm that didn’t shift?) from no longer just taking pictures of others, but to “taking and giving” pictures.

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