It’s been a long time in the making: the gallery opening of “The Way I See It: A photography project that examines the impact on health as seen through the eyes of people living with HIV and AIDS in Vancouver.” (also known as Photovoice)
I first spoke to Surita about the project in 2009 when it was just getting started. My part was leading a session with the participants about photography. I was really excited and a bit nervous… what would I talk about? So many options… technical stuff, vision and story, legality… and only a morning!
By the time the ball was rolling and the session was happening (July 2011), it seemed that speaking about Vision and Storytelling would be the most useful to the group, as they had discussed legal issues and the cameras were point-and-shoot disposables.
Our discussions focused on Inspiration: “What are you trying to say?” and Interpretation: “Who is your audience? Will they understand your message?”. I love to draw from work of the historical masters and mix it with current media. The most memorable discussion we had was involving these two photos:
Le baiser de l’hotel de ville (Kiss by the Hotel de Ville) – Robert DoisneauWhich happened to be the Google Doodle on April 14, 2012. Read more.
Vancouver Riot Kiss Photo – Rich LamPhoto ©Rich Lam Read more.
From these photos, we were able to discuss timing, staging, and private/public legal issues. The participants were fabulous.
Fast-forward to Thursday’s Gallery Opening, where I was so happy to hear how our discussions had influenced their ideas of inspiration, intpretation and storytelling. The photos they created told THEIR stories of living in Vancouver with HIV and AIDS. It’s so important to hear their stories and get a glimpse into their lives, even if only through a few photos. I was impressed at how they were able to show us.
The show is ending today, but keep your eyes open for more amazing projects like this one.
Thank you for letting me be involved in your stories.
©Imaging by Marlis 2012