Photography Project

guys (that’s a gender neutral address!) i had an idea which i wanted to bounce off you ppl. i’m an amateur photographer - and i use the term amateur vary lightly here! but i have the following proposition - -picking up a batch of studen…

guys (that's a gender neutral address!)

i had an idea which i wanted to bounce off you ppl. i'm an amateur photographer - and i use the term amateur vary lightly here! but i have the following proposition -

-picking up a batch of students in a particular locality - typically from lower income households/ slums etc

-teaching them the very basic nuances of photography - i think this should take about a day or two. and when i say basic - i mean very basic - like what is a camera....where to click for to frame a picture...

-we give them cameras (this is one huge obstacle in terms of resource generation) and accompany them around the colony/ locality/ take a bus ride to interesting places like chadni chowk, red fort etc and let them go wild shooting pictures

-after a few sessions spread over, say a couple of weeks, we identify the really bright sparks and start to work with them (while at some level carrying on work with the other kids as well) and maybe at the end of the project (the time span could be anything from one month to a year), we could have their photographs published/ documented etc. i'm pretty sure that places like IHC would be willing to give space for an exhibition and NGOs like Youthreach would partner with us in some way...

This is all off-the-cuff so if you people have any inputs...suggestions...critical respond. i've been toying with this idea for some time but haven't got down to actually focussing any sort of energy on it - cpet the past 10 mins typing this thread out!


DO MAIL/ REPLY! :-onfire:


Great Idea...

Hope it works out....:thumbsup:


As I am also an amateur and wonder how would we make a social impact..I am not sure if I understood the entire idea too well..would you like to talk a little bit about your vision.

I appreciate your idea ...But I feel photography does give you happiness when you have all other basic things in place.
BY this i mean I prefer educating the Kids about the way a Computer works...Computer basics. Once that is done and we know that they know the basics required for living in this IT driven world we can very well have a session on photgraphy and surely if its's a digital camera also show them how to edit it and Stuff.....
LAter surely showcase them and make a wonderful portfolio...

Wish you Luck

-> You're located in Delhi, I suppose? I have lots of free time on my hands, but am in Mumbai.

-> Equipment should not be a problem, rather more like a bottleneck. Decent secondhand film SLRs are availiable from 3-4 K INR, and the organisers(us) will have their own equipment too. Initially of course everyone will share equipment and the final batch ought to have around 5 children, so that ought not to be a problem.
Some of us (including me) have worked on photography with an extremely tight budget previously. The basic principles were, use cheap film, just develop don't print, scan the negatives in bulk. That worked for me atleast.

-> Do you propose letting them keep the equipment for the duration of the project? That is the only way best results can be obtained, but.. Is there a workaround?
I list some of the obvious risks
1) The children might run away with the cameras
(We won't prosecute juveniles)
2) The equipment might be 'stolen' by a fourth party.
3) Someone, like an alcoholic parent, might take the equipment from the kid.
4) I'm not including breakage since that can happen with any of us.
However I think you will agree that a child needs to be very familiar with the equipment before any creativity can happen. What do we think is the correct compromise to be reached?

-> The group of children should ideally include both girls and boys. Both will have a different take on their society.
Do you think getting girl children involved could be a problem?

-> This is also like a vocational training I feel. The outcome would be threefold.
1) A view of the world through their eyes
2) A chance for the children to pick this up as a career.. atleast they will know the technical aspects of setting up a photostudio.
3) Happiness :-)

-> Sounds like a plan. Vaguely, yet a plan.

SnowWhite Says
I feel photography does give you happiness when you have all other basic things in place...

I beg to differ. Like any other passion, photography can provide a relief from everyday problems.

It's just like prayers, because you focus your energy into photography, you can keep off the streets..

what do you think?

Awesome idea, Sticky. I think its a cool idea and worth experimenting with.

If at all, you do start - how do you intend to go about it? Imagine you had all the money you needed to start your stuff.

u can isure the cameras will take care of a lot of the above mentioned problems

Man this isn't going anywhere 😞


I am not sure if you are active on photography related events that keep happening in Delhi especially with respect to disadvantaged children. There is one very big project that had taken place a couple of years back - - exactly what you've intended to try out. Shonu, a professional film-maker, had trained a group of 20-25 children from slums across this country and trained them in video-documentation. The project was orgnaised by Plan International and these kids had then gone into the field to capture issues of relevance. As a result of this attempt, not only did children highlight issues that troubled their lives....including ragpicking, drinking, female infanticide, drug abuse but this exercise also led to the communities becoming aware of these problems and doing somethign about them. It was a very good initiative that also got some of these children some awards at an international conference. The quality of films made were no less of a professional film.

Another project in Photography I can recall is of Youth Reach ( along with a grassroot NGO - Salam Balak Trust and it was funded by the European Commission and ILO. Here Raghu Rai had trained a bunch of kids in handling the camera and they had captured photographs, reflecting their perspectives on life. These pictures although nothing short of amaterurish click click...(atleast in my and a few friends' opinions!) led to these children overcharging for the photographs and becoming too swollen headed (from whatever I heard about the children months after the exhibition had travelled around the world!!).

Here are two examples for you to consider while planning out such an exercise with kids. But I must say, that kids are very very excited to handle technology - whether it is cameras, computers.....

I know of an organisation working towards such efforts exclusively. Why don't you get in touch with Mr. Vikram Anand at Anand Foundation: [email protected]

Good luck with your efforts,

That was quite informative, Lakshmi. Thanks!