The Giving Lens (TGL), El Fenn Maroc, Creative Interactions, three local photographers from Marrakech, and Open Doors Morocco (ODM) teamed up to launch a photography program for youth in the village of Ait Ouir, Morocco. The Giving Lens regularly brings teams of photographers to developing countries to work alongside local non-profit organizations in tangible ways. The group is committed to helping launch sustainable projects that will eventually become self-sufficient. Each team is led by two professional photographers with travel experience.
Ait Ouir is a village about 40 minutes from the city of Marrakech. The Giving Lens team of 10 photographers from the United States and Australia spent two days working with a group of youth. Moroccan photographers from Marrakech were also involved. On the first day, the students and visitors connected immediately, and it wasn’t long before everyone was engaged in the beginnings of photography.
The Giving Lens team brought donated digital cameras to leave with the fledgling photography program. After getting to know one another, everyone began exploring the cameras. Laura Haas and Jessica Lin, Americans participants with the Giving Lens, work with a small group of youth (below, left). Andy Yee and Tracy Condidorio, Australian TGL participants, lead their group as Rhoena Facun of Creative Interactions serves as interpreter.
Next, students and visiting photographers moved outdoors to practice what they’d just learned. Below, Dave and Susan Goudge, TGL participants from Phoenix, AZ, work with two Moroccan youths to compose shots. Photo Credits: Michael Bonocore, Resource Travel
It wasn’t long until students were composing shots all around the yard outside the building where we were meeting. One student creatively shoots through a paper cylinder (bottom, right). Photo Credits: Michael Bonocore, Resource Travel
Moroccan villages have weekly markets one day a week. This day happened to be the day for the Ait Ouir weekly market. Once students were comfortable composing shots with their cameras, the group was off on a photo scavenger hunt at the weekly market. They broke into small groups to photograph things such as something down low, something new, something old, a photo of something zoomed in, etc. Getting to the weekly market required carriage rides! Photo Credits: Michael Bonocore, Resource Travel
We all reconvened at lunch to see what everyone had discovered. The kids were excited to show off their new skills. Moroccan youth composes a photo of a tagine (bottom, left) and another youth shares a photo with Lori Gordon, of El Fenn Maroc (bottom, right).
Everyone agreed the first day was a success! Stay tuned for Notes from the Field from day 2!