My first journey with The Giving Lens (TGL) was to Morocco in 2016. I’d never heard of the employer before that and hadn’t ever been on a journey images workshop when a word for the experience popped up on my Facebook feed, and I immediately knew I wanted to go. I’d visited northern Morocco in 2014, after discovering that my direct paternal ancestry was Amazigh (Berber). I had a concept of returning on my own to go to southern Morocco (Marrakech and the Sahara), where the majority I met I could rely on as remote cousins—and this is exactly the itinerary TGL supplied. Add to that professional guidance and a threat to travel with avid photographers and to be of service to the network, and I changed into pleased to have my application well-known.
The Giving Lens adds a humanitarian measurement to the journey pictures workshops it runs. By teaming with a local not-for-income (a non-governmental agency, or NGO), The Giving Lens gives individuals a danger to make a difference within the lives of the communities the NGO serves (generally prone or marginalized ones), largely via coaching young human beings the basics of photography and guiding them on image walks. I actually have long past on a Giving Lens experience each of the beyond 3 years—first to Morocco, then to India, then Jordan. Each has been a remarkable aggregate of travel to big locations, mastering from our leaders and other contributors, and forging a sturdy private connection with the groups we’ve worked with.
Each TGL workshop is led by means of two professional photographers. Trips are open to humans of all enjoy ranges. Prospective contributors need to fill out a detailed application and be interviewed to make certain that they’re a very good match. Before each ride, individuals procure easy cameras for the NGO and its customers, both thru donation or buy. Workshops normally fee much less than a fashionable professionally led photo workshop might, and between 30 and 60 percent of TGL’s earnings from every journey are donated to its NGO accomplice(s). The Giving Lens itself has applied for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
Founded in 2011 by the journey and humanitarian photographer Colby Brown, TGL runs six or extra workshops a year to longstanding destinations including Cambodia, Cuba, Tanzania, and Peru in addition to new ones which includes Guatemala, Mongolia, and Uganda. All three journeys I’ve been on have had the identical co-leaders, Michael Bonocore, and Daniel Nahabedian, however about a dozen photographers often or now and again co-lead TGL workshops.
We spent the primary two days in Marrakech attending a 1/2-day cultural, culinary, and linguistic introduction to Morocco; spending time with our NGO partner, El Fenn Maroc; and exploring the city with local photographers. The 0.33 day, we drove to the metropolis of Ait Ourir and met our young students at a network middle. We went with them on a photographic scavenger hunt, aiming to get photographs of all the objects on a listing, along with “some thing yellow” and “a hen.” We rode in horse-drawn taxis to the city’s weekly souk, an open-air marketplace in which you could purchase some thing from coloring books to livestock. The youngsters evidently took to images and wished little guidance, coming to me most effective when there have been problems like a depleted battery.
On our 2nd day with the children, we photographed a rickety bridge and visited Berber villages. Then the children sang us a farewell song, and we parted approaches. Over the subsequent five days, we rode to the Sahara and lower back, spending an amazing night time—after braving a sandstorm—in the Erg Chebbi dunes at a tented camp run by means of our travel partner, Open Doors Morocco. We additionally labored with another NGO at a Gnawa song club to take promotional images and films of their residence band before returning to Marrakech.
For my next TGL trip, our team met in Jodhpur, wherein we stayed at a guesthouse run by way of the Sambhali Trust, an NGO that allows Dalit (untouchable) ladies, and children via schooling, task training, and social offerings. At the Sambhali Trust’s Fatima Center, we met our students, 15 young Muslim ladies wearing pink saris. After introductions, we surpassed each female a digicam and gave a quick educational. They then led us via their community, and a lot of them invited us into their homes to fulfill their families.
We spent the subsequent days with them exploring Jodhpur’s Blue City—wherein almost all the homes are painted sunglasses of blue—and the city’s marketplace place. We additionally visited two different Sambhali Trust colleges, spending time with their college students and documenting the NGO’s work. On our very own, we visited temples and palaces, spent a night time in a village, and ended up inside the town of Jaipur, visiting an elephant sanctuary on our final day. But the 3 days we spent with the women from the Fatima Center had been the excessive factor of my journey.