“Sooreneee!” Self Expression through Photography

Award Amount: $140.00
Volunteer(s): L. Mahoney
Locations(s): Sabha
Dates(s): June-July 2009
Participants: 22 female, age 14-16

Soreenee a two week photography summer camp took place in Sabha, Mafraq from June 21st to July 2nd 2007. The camp operated every day from 3 to 6pm at the Sabha Secondary School for Girls. Twenty 9th and 10th grade girls sucessfully took part in the camp from start to finish. Friends of Jordan funds were utilized to purchase disposable cameras, develop pictures, and purchase art supplies.

The camp utlized the medium of photography to teach the girls about self-expression, to build self-estemm, and to practice English expression in written and spoken forms. Over the first days of camp the girls learned about the basics of photography such as parts of a camera, framing a picture, and choosing subjects through a scavenger hunt and a debate on the merits of different photographss. All activities took place in English and Arabic. The subsequent days of camp each focused on the themes community, family, and self. These themes were then the subject of the photographs the girls took at home. For the day discussing community girls created maps of their community and discussed the various communities in which they participated. The family themed day focused on “Oprah” interviews about each others families. On the self portrait day girls decorated posters for each other with compliments. They also created masks that displayed their personalities.

While self-expression is a difficult topic for the girls they were thrilled to have an opportunity to be creative and talk about their opinions. I was pleasantly surprised that many of the girls also attempted to verbally express themselves in English throughout these activities.

The second week of camp was dedicated to developing the photography exhibition. The girls rose to the occasion and I received each of the nine cameras I gave out back and in good enough condition to have their pictures developed. The girls chose their best pictures regarding each theme and created frames for the pictures. Participants planned the exhbition, created invitations, brought refreshments, and spoke to community members about the event.

A successfully photography exhibition was held on the last day of camp. Approximately fifty community members attended the event and viewed the girls work. The pride that the girls felt was palpable as they led their family members and friends around explaining their photographs. Numerous community members who did not attend the event asked if they exhibition would be open any other days. As a result of the camp participants had an opportunity to practice English, express themselves creatively, learn a new skill, and hold a public event. All these activities contributed to an increased confidence in the girls.


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