2012 Photo Contest Weekly Gallery #1
Children across the globe
Joie de vivre! We couldn't resist some photos of children from the 2012 Travel Photo Contest, guaranteed to make you smile.
Please click on any thumbnail to open the image gallery.
The happiest laugh
This photo makes me smile, it reminds me that people make their own happiness. The power of making people happy, and vice versa—a beautiful smile is contagious.
Holi is a magical Hindu celebration, but particularly unique in the predominantly Islamic country of Bangladesh. One street gets cordoned off for celebrators who chase each other with squirt guns and water bottles filled with blue and purples dyes. Above, residents lean over their balconies dumping buckets of water and dye on unsuspecting celebrators. No one is safe from the flying colours. Music thunders as young and old dance in the blue rain on the wildest day of the year.
Education is freedom
Last year, I was living in Ethiopia working for imagine1day as their Communications Officer. We worked to bring sustainable, innovative primary education to students across the country. Students at this school, Maego, had been attending school under a tree. They were tired of waiting for government assistance so the families gave what little they had to build a school for their children. Six years later, we began working with them to expand their school and train their teachers and leaders. Even without desks, books or resources, the students in Maego were just happy to be learning as they know that education is freedom.
Under Peruvian skies
This photograph was taken while I was wandering around the market in Písac, Peru. The children were gathered in a group on the side of the street and I sat down beside them to change the film in my camera. A few tourists came and took the children's photographs and gave them a few soles (Peruvian money) in return. I understood that modeling for tourists was the children's way of making money to help support their families. The children, dressed in beautiful traditional wear, also had a few lambs with them to attract tourists. I asked the girl in the center if I could photograph her, and the other children crowded around in hopes of making some extra money. As I was setting up, they all stood in front of me curiously, unsure of when to smile. The girl in the center, the one who was in control of the little ones, crossed her arms, and looked straight at the lens as if she was very familiar with posing. I started taking photographs, and paying them after each one, grateful for their company and willingness to be photographed.
These kids were sitting outside their house when I met them. They live in the predominantly Muslim area of town, and greeted me with their warm, beautiful smiles. In India, as in many different countries, you will often find the oldest child taking on more of a guardian role for their siblings so that both their mom and dad can work. My goal in exploring this area of town was to see beautiful faces and meet beautiful people, and to show the world that there is so much potential and beauty in these people.
Future of Cambodia
Children slide down a steep cement embankment near a bridge outside Phnom Phen—a place I find both depressing and amazing. Within the city you can see extreme poverty, child prostitution, piles of garbage, and you are constantly seeing scars created by the recent genocide. However, it is also a place with incredible hope, with NGOs such as Friends International. To escape the darker side of the city, I often went on bike rides to the islands across the river with Grasshopper Adventures. At every turn, you meet friendly people. Children run out of their houses to say hello. It is a completely uplifting experience.
This was the first day I showed up on site at the Children's Home, where I volunteered to teach photography lessons, and decided to do some portraits. These two boys followed me around the entire day, carrying all my gear and offering their insight into good places to photograph. I decided to enter this image as part of what I owe to these two boys for picking the location and helping me out. They were great to photograph and I will never forget the time I spent with them.
Three little monks enjoying talking to each other, while one is quite proud to show off his pet.
In a small village of West Bengal, children are playing with a bicycle tire. They are having fun together.
The face of poverty
This shot was taken in a small poverty-stricken fishing village in Uganda. I feel that this smiling boy demonstrates that, despite their current situation, the people can still be happy.
And who might you be?
Unperturbed by the close proximity of strangers, this little girl's expression emits both delight and curiosity as foreigners traverse right across her front door.
Hope in music
Childhood is the most sacred part of life. We as adults are entrusted with it: to shield it, protect it and allow it its full potential. And yet, in places like Congo, children are forcefully taken from their families by armed forces, sometimes as early as 7-years-old, forced into military training, a life of crime, drugs, war and are shoved brutally into an ugly adulthood robbing them of their gift, their innocent childhood. UNICEF and other NGOs have been actively struggling to save these children from the grips of war, offering them temporary sanctuary in an attempt to help them kickstart their childhood again and reunite with their families or other foster families in the Congolese society. With arts, some of these children told me that they are able to escape into other places in their minds, places free of their memories of war, of killing, of brutality. They can dream of a normal life, of happiness and of recapturing the freedom that is an integral part of childhood. This boy, a demobilized child soldier, uses music for healing.