Jacob Bluestone - Volunteer Bolivia Photography Project August 2005
As a child, in the comfort of my own home and the quiet of a darkroom, mimicking my parents every move, I was unknowingly exposed to a medium that would become a significant part of my future. I spent much of my high school career working and training as a junior docent for the Heckscher Museum of Art and further exploring photography as a medium.
Sophomore year I re-entered the darkroom enrolling in my first formal photography course. The introduction to classroom photography provided me the means to explain exactly what I had been doing in the dark, for nearly a decade. I also began mentoring a group of unmotivated adolescent boys from a nearby high school, many of whom would become partners in a future photography collaboration. My work with these boys opened my eyes to the power of using photography as a means of communication for all children. That same year I became frustrated with my attempts at translating my textbook Spanish knowledge into practical use. The desire to improve my Spanish took me to Bolivia where Volunteer Bolivia gave me the opportunity to take Spanish outside the classroom and into the real world.
Initially, learning Spanish was my priority but my effort quickly changed focus as I began working in two children’s centers. My original idea of introducing a group of children to basic photographic techniques snowballed and actually resulted in a final exhibition of our work supported by an organization of contemporary artists in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I was thoroughly inspired by the candid images produced by my Bolivian students while the kids, proud of their accomplishments, were noticeably empowered when their work was exhibited for their communities to view. To see Jacob’s and his students’ final photos click here.
To see more of his work, check out Jacob´s website
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