Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
To what end?
- This month’s issue of National Geographic has a two-page aerial photo of Nairobi’s Kibera slum. A closer look reveals greatly magnified photographs of women’s eyes plastered in the middle of the slum. Hmmmm…. I am curious.
- To find out more, I go to the fount of all knowledge: Google.
- There I discover that the work is part of a larger international project by a photographer who goes only by the name ‘JR‘. The project aims to show the dignity of women who are often the target of conflicts.
- Ok. Interesting. I read on.
- Turns out JR has done a number of projects, all with the intent of showing the true, human ‘face’ of the opposition in conflict situations.
- In one project- which, incidentally, was the biggest illegal photo exhibition ever– he took huge format portraits of Israelis and Palestinians. He then posted these portraits side by side on buildings in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities on both sides of the separation wall. The portraits weren’t ‘Sunday best’ photos either, but were rather of people making faces into the camera. How silly. How human. No one took them down.
- From what I read, none of the conflicts were resolved by any of these photos. But maybe, just maybe, one child will grow up with a little less hate in his heart because he can see that the ‘enemy’ is, after all, just like him.
- What I love most about JR is that he combines art with action. In each location he works, he sponsors ongoing art and craft workshops for kids. In the Nairobi slum, his foundation re-covered 2,000 square meters of rooftops.
When art that changes perspective and action that changes lives are combined, possibility is more than just a dream.
I never did like photographs. They’re depressing.
As soon as one’s taken, it’s a record of an event that’s gone, a moment never to be repeated.
Years later you look at it and realize you’re fatter, balder. The woman standing beside you is no longer here and the smiling faces gathered around have faded into obscurity.
Moments need to move on, not be captured and held onto artificially.
Live in the now and appreciate what’s around you, because in a moment, it’ll be gone.
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