After a few weeks of preparation, I have launched a Hatchfund campaign to secure funding to pursue a project in the Philippines. Hatchfund is like Kickstarter, but for artists. You have to have some sort of accreditation as an artist to use it, and there is a lengthy approval process for a project to even go “live.” My project went live today, so be sure to check it out.
(Maybe even donate a couple dollars! Shameless of me, I know!)
By using the power of photography, I hope to empower survivors in the Philippines in the city of Manila, where child sex trafficking is an epidemic. While working with the volunteers at Tahanan Sta Luisa, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates street children, I will be teaching the survivors of child prostitution the therapeutic and empowering nature of photography. I will be teaching them the basics of form and aesthetics, and the mechanical process of using a camera. They will be using standard point-and-shoot film cameras, collected from thrift stores. They would then take photographs of whatever they like, and I would get the film processed and we would put on a little pop-up exhibition, so they can share their photographs.
While I am there teaching, I will also be connecting with now-adult survivors who had graduated from Tahanan Sta Luisa, to collaborate with them and make their portraits. The portraits are conceptual collages, where I will be having an on-going conversation with the survivors to make a portrait that speaks about who they are as a person, not just a survivor of a traumatic past. With these portraits, I will be focusing on each person’s “personhood,” not their “victimhood.”
So, I’m preparing for what I will be up to this summer. Hopefully I can get enough backing for this project, as I feel it will guide my work in a new direction, which I look forward to exploring.