Cartier Bresson once wrote 'I believe that, through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us, which can mould us, but which can also be affected by us. A balance must be established between these two worlds-the one inside us and the one outside us. As a result of a constant reciprocal process, both these worlds come to form a single one. And it is this world that we must communicate.' It is this world that i to eye encourages the exploration and expression of. As Wendy Ewald said 'like fingerprints or signatures, the way we see is unique...'
There is a week to go until I leave for India and a million and one things to accomplish in that time. The good news is that I have ten Olympus Trip 35mm film cameras ready and waiting to go and hopefully ten teenage Indian girls ready and waiting to use them. This i to eye workshop is due to run throughout the month of March 2011 in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, in association with The Sambhali Trust. I will be teaching ten girls photography for two hours each day in the hope that by placing a camera in their hands and showing them the basics they will have the opportunity to use their own eyes to portray the realities of the world they live in. It will be a refreshing change for the subjects of so many images to tell their own stories and to control the context in which these stories are viewed. I am already excited to meet the girls I will be teaching, Govind the head of The Sambhali Trust and Kritika, a fashion photographer from Mumbai who will be helping me teach. The aim of this blog is to document the progress of the workshop and to showcase the images the girls produce throughout its duration and hopefully long after it is over. i to eye follows in the footsteps of a number of individuals and organisations that have used photography as a therapeutic aid and as a method of furthering visual literacy around the world. I have been greatly inspired by Zana Briski's work in the red light district of Calcutta which resulted in the award winning documentary Born into Brothels and by the international work of Wendy Ewald laid out in a number of her books. I also recently came across the work of PhotoVoice, a participatory photography charity based in London, to whom I am grateful for their fantastic methodology series and to Silvie for supplying me with a number of their old cameras. There is still a lot to prepare before I get there but I am at least armed with the essential cameras and with an overenthusiastic month's worth of lesson plans!