Photoessay: Shooting for Peace
Photographs By The Children of The Shooting For Peace Project
As this special issue of Revista highlights, Colombia’s degenerating predicament is a complex one, which needs to be looked at from new perspectives. Disparando Cámaras para la Paz—Shooting Cameras for Peace (DCP) provides thirty new perspectives. Thirty displaced children squatting in Bogotá’s extreme outskirts, Altos de Cazuca, documented their lives with photographs and spoken narratives. The result is an intimate testimonial from children who do not know the extensive history of violence and vengeance they have been born into, only one of its most violent stages.
DCP attempts to rupture the cycle of violence in various ways; by providing a group of youngsters haunted by armed conflict an opportunity to reflect on the transition they have recently experienced, by allowing them to creatively express themselves, and by compellingly communicating the Colombian conflict from the heart breaking perspective of an innocent child. The result so far has been a small colony of aspiring photographers with an increased sense of self-confidence and a powerful exhibition.
DCP allows subaltern looks and voices to manifest themselves without the sensationalism of the media, in the way it subverts the dominant dynamic of outsider photographers who arrive, shoot, leave, publish, and disappear and create images destined to also disappear in the sea of similar images produced to be consumed, forgotten and die in infinite archives. The images and stories of DCP in contrast are personal and demand to be treated as living history.
When I founded DCP I had no idea it would yield such compelling results or that it would grow into a dynamic and expanding program. The children and parents, represented through DCP’s sister organization, Corporación Fe y Esperanza, a grassroots educational project, all demanded that the program continue. A local staff of Colombian photographers and educators who have built a darkroom in the barrio with the participants is currently directing the program.
DCP is an initiative of The AjA Project, a San Diego based international humanitarian aid organization that provides multimedia and vocational education to youth in struggle. It has two other projects; one on the Thailand/Myanmar border with refugees from the Karen ethnic minority, and one in the San Diego area with resettled Afghani, Iraqi, Somali, and Sudanese youth. Be sure to experience all of the online galleries at www.ajaproject.org.
Alex Fattal is The AjA Project’s Program Director for Africa and Latin America and was a Fulbright Scholar in Colombia from 2001-2002. To make a donation, buy a print, or sponsor a child, (all forms of donation are tax-deductible), call 619.223.7001, visit www.ajaproject.org or mail The AjA Project, PO BOX 70174, San Diego, CA 92167.
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