We were blessed with 4 amazing photographers for Project 1: Nicaragua. These 4 stole our hearts and continually amazed us with their quick ability to learn as well as their abundant creativity. It was immediately obvious that these people are yearning for a creative outlet to share their story. Click on any of the images below to learn more about them.
Rossana, Ana, Marvin, and Orlando will amaze you with their imagery, but to get a closer look at the experience, we’d like to share a letter instructors Roger and Karin recently sent to the 4 after the experience was complete. Along with a few dozen letters from individuals who sponsored a camera, a care package was sent to the Mateare Village for the 4 and their families. Enjoy a look at how instructors Karin & Roger felt about the experience.
“You can. You should. And if you are brave enough to start, You will.”
by Steven King
Marvin, Orlando, Ana, and Rossana,
We began this project after a visit to your village for the first time back in July of 2013. We saw your community and life of it’s people and we wanted to make sure that you and others like you had an opportunity to share your story through photography. You are all important and your life has great value. There are lessons that the rest of the world can learn through seeing your life through your images. You see, there are people all over this world that have more things than you do. They have more money, bigger homes, fancy cars… more. Fashionable clothes, lavish home decorations, expensive meals… more. We are ashamed to tell you that we were headed down a path that might have led to a time where “more” mattered more than it should. What we learned by being in your village was that you had the real piece of the puzzle that everyone is looking for. Family, community, simplicity, hope, togetherness, kindness… more. YOU have “more” that everyone is in search of. YOU have the story that everyone needs to know. That those things – their “more” – really doesn’t matter. What truly matters in this life is the lesson that we learned from knowing you – from people who take you as you truly are – always – no questions asked.
We wanted to find people in your village who could share that perspective through photographs, and possibly help change the thoughts of others. To hopefully show them that when they worry about having more than their neighbor they actually are left with less. Just because you don’t have the same opportunities to photograph life doesn’t mean that your world isn’t important, or that your story doesn’t have value. The opposite is true, friends. Your story, and your life is an example to others and it needs to be shared. Your story is one of powerful beauty and resilience. That’s why we started this. Because you matter. You are worthy of the world’s time. You are a gift and a miracle. You deserve to be regarded and remembered and your existence to be honored and celebrated. You matter.
The four of you were meant to be the people we would hand over cameras to and ask to selflessly open your lives to the rest of the world. You four were the precise people we hoped for to help us share your story. You represent the spirit, and the hope that is The Big Picture…
on a field trip day to the volcano area Ticuantepe. It was one of the only times most had journeyed beyond the borders of their village except to attend school, and their first time they had gotten the opportunity to eat at a restaurant.
Enjoy a excerpt from the account of that day to camera sponsors…
Monday Feb 24th:
This day was a day of complete bliss. We looked so forward to showing these 4 a day beyond the confines of their village. They had found beauty in an environment that most would view as unbearable, so we couldn’t wait to show them a place to marvel at and escape from their world for awhile. As we loaded up you could feel their anticipation and excitement. When we pulled up to the restaurant they really had no idea what to think. The restaurant – La Finca – is regarded highly in Managua. It’s an open air restaurant with birds and an amazing patio that overlooks the city. We had a table to ourselves and as Roger and I watched them take it all in we just sat back and smiled. I’ve never felt happiness like that day. It was easy to forget that these 4 come from where they do, but trivial things like how to use a public restroom was a quick reminder of how out of their element they truly were. They literally had no idea what was what. Something as simple as a toilet was a totally different experience for these 4. It’s hard to imagine what they were experiencing and it’s hard to think about the comforts they live without.
Upon leaving we headed on a journey down windy dirt roads and rugged terrain to Ticuantepe. We all took turns pointing out the views, the pineapples, and the animals. It was truly an adventure. When we finally arrived at our destination, the photographers got out their cameras and were ready to be true tourists and photograph every single thing they saw. And they literally photographed every. single. thing. As we journeyed down the windy paths, the only thing that would stop their running was a sign marking an old tree or the bellow of one of the many monkeys that inhabit the area. Other than that, it was a chase to see what each area held next. When they finally came to the waterfall, they all stopped. We had to coax them to let them know they could get closer, and as soon as they got past the awe of what they were seeing, it again became a frenzy. They ran all over the place, calling to one another to come look at things or share what they’d found. As the birds all began coming to roost in their dwellings in the rock wall, they fell silent and had their cameras aimed straight up in the air in order to take in every single moment. We couldn’t tell you much about the waterfall, or the birds. But we can recount the looks on their faces, the excitement in their voice, the glances of amazement, and what pure joy looked and felt like.
As we traveled home you could see they were wore out from all the excitement. The girls fell asleep but the boys just leaned back with smiles on their faces. I wondered what they thought about that night as they laid down to sleep or what they dreamed about. We hope that they hold onto the memories they made that day, and that they felt as happy and complete as we do when we remember it. We hope you enjoyed it too!!
For more of a in depth look at Project 1, please enjoy this video of their journey. You can also check out OUR BLOG for updates and behind the scenes info on these 4 and recent happenings.