For shutterbugs, capturing the beauty of the natural world and the drama of everyday life through the lens’ eye is pure joy. Can this joy be used for creating a positive change in the lives of school drop-outs? Well this was the question that inspired Laure Pham and Emma Patrone, students of Ecole University, France and interns with Shabnam Resources, an NGO that helps underprivileged children, to frame an idea to aid them.
The dynamic duo are busy raising funds to build a ‘social photography university’ — a training centre that teaches photography to school drop-outs.
“It will be for young adults who dropped out of school a long time ago and don’t have a diploma. The special part time course will give them a real diploma and a brighter future,” says Laure. While the team had planned to design a life-skill course for school drop-outs, narrowing it down to a photography training centre took months of deliberation, says MR Hubert, director, Shabnam Resources.
“Photography is an art. We thought it would be a great way for those who discontinued their studies for various reasons to learn a creative skill,” he explains.
After completing the six-month course, the students will be placed as interns in various photography studios and film studios, with the organisation closely monitoring their progress. Ask them how they are planning to raise funds for infrastructure and social media is the answer. They are set to launch a global photography contest on Facebook with topics such as Wait Until Dark, Drowning in Words, Sparrow Still Fly, Ants Build Castles, Changing Fairytales, Stand Up Scream Out, Concrete Jungle, Cocktail of Cultures, The Secret Life, Destination Unknown.
“It took us a while. Hubert, Emma and I discussed it for a few hours and we created over 50 themes! Then we voted to keep the best themes. We wanted everyone to participate — amateurs, professionals and children. So our themes aim to cover various subjects and the difficulty varies from one theme to the other,” explains Laure. “We have environmental, social and cultural themes. Some are inspired by films, songs and proverbs,” adds Emma.
“I think people will come up with great ideas. We hope a lot of people will take up the challenge and we hope to discover new talent all over the world,” smiles Laure Each contestant can post one photo per theme, and participate in as many themes as he/she wants. The fees is `200, and is to be paid online. The contest will begin on January 16 and end on March 1, 2012.