The Viewfinder Project
"See life differently."
This is the mission statement of the Viewfinder Project, an organization that teaches children photography. These three words--see life differently--are the heart and soul of the Viewfinder Project; they shape every action, every lesson. Because their goal is to not just provide lessons about how to use a camera, or how to compose an image. Their mission is to teach perspective -- to teach children that they are not shaped by their surroundings, but that they have the power to change how they see the world.
Over the past six months, I have worked with the Viewfinder Project, helping to teach photography at two locations in Indy, one at 16th and Park, and another a few blocks north at 23rd and Park. It has been amazing to watch the kids participating in the project learn and grow. To have a meaningful discussion with an eight year old about how the photographs taken during the ‘What is Ugly’ lesson are examples of his own ability to redeem the space around him, illustrated more powerfully than anything else that beauty and change can be found anywhere. He looked at something he thought was ugly, and created an image that was beautiful. That single moment encompasses everything the Viewfinder Project stands for. It explains the mission statement, the true lesson we want to teach; photography is a tool to teach the importance of perspective.
In the years since the organization’s creation and growth, the Viewfinder Project has operated all over the world: from South Africa to Indianapolis, and everywhere in between. Now, a collection of work taken by students near and far will be showing at the Harrison Center in Hank & Dolly's Gallery throughout the month of March. To see more of their corner of the world, come see P U L S E, or take a look at theviewfinderproject.com to hear more from participants everywhere.