Unique photos capture Ethiopia from a child's perspective
Thu, 11 Dec 2008 12:00a.m.
When New Zealand woman Kate McPherson decided to go to Africa to do some aid work she packed something unusual - ten digital cameras.
The cameras were not used to take snaps of her travel or work, but the lives of those she was helping - the thousands of poor children who live on the streets of Ethiopia's capital.
But she did not take the photos herself, she put the cameras in their hands so that they could take photos of each other.
"I taught the kids at the orphanage how to shoot," Ms McPherson explains. "And they were the most delightful kids to teach. They lapped it up, it was fantastic."
Ms McPherson taught 16 children who are housed and schooled for a year by the Mercy Ministry.
A camera was something completely foreign to the kids. Many had not seen or even held one before.
"I gave them some guidelines on some days," she says. "There was a day when we studied shadows. The shadows that they choose to photograph were just wonderful. I got them into pairs and got them to photograph each other and also photograph the world as they see it really. It's really interesting when children pick up a camera and what they choose to take pictures of. I'm so impressed with the quality of the photo's that they came up with."
An exhibition of the children's photos will be at Wellington's Pataka Museum. She has also created a website called Eyes For Ethiopia where the photos are for sale.
"All the money that's being raised from the sale of the photos is going back to the kids back at the home," she explains. "So it's a great way for them to earn money for themselves really. It's not like New Zealand where most kids can get food and shelter. Over there every dollar makes a huge difference so it's a lovely way to help out kids over there who really need it."
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13/12/2008 9:21:12 p.m.
Well Mathew and Yvonne, correct me if I'm wrong (and I'm not) but the point of Miss McPherson's work was not to be original or unique but to provide love, hope, inspiration and a source of income to kids in an orphanage. These kids are from circumstances more difficult and devoid of hope than most kiwis can comprehend. If more of us put ourselves out there in such projects rather than denigrating those who do in a pathetic attempt to justify our own apathy or egos, I daresay we could enjoy a happier, healthier world. Incidentally, I know Miss MacPherson's work well and it is some of the most original and beautiful art you will see. I hope I never have this misfortune to end up stuck at a party chatting to someone so nauseatingly negative as yourselves.
12/12/2008 2:46:51 p.m.
Ms McPherson is a true inspiration and it is wonderful to see Campbell Live covering such a meaningful story. Groundbreaking or not, this woman is changing lives.I wish Ms McPherson all the best for her exhibition and fundraiser. It's people like Ms McPherson who are helping make the world a better place for us all.
12/12/2008 2:44:39 p.m.
I thought he introduced it as an inspirational piece...perhaps you have the wrong angle?I don't think it was trying to imply she was the first to do so but was merely highlighting her efforts in trying to help these children in Ethiopia that she had volunteered with. Moreover, she took her passion and her knowledge of what she knows best and passed it on to these children, inspiring and encouraging them to show the world life through their eyes.It is reassuring to know there are people such as Ms McPherson volunteering their time, energy and commitment to helping others and alleviate poverty. She might not be the first person to do so, but at least she is making a stand against child poverty and making some noise about it.
12/12/2008 2:27:02 p.m.
The angle of this story was not that McPherson was doing something groundbreaking it was that she was doing Something. In a world where the vast majority of those in the developed world are oblivious to or simply don't care about the extreme poverty the rest of the world lives in I applaud McPherson. I would challenge anyone critical of her work to go to a developing country, taste, feel, see and smell absolute poverty and then decide if it really matters how you raise money for needy kids in Africa. Having spent a great deal of time in Kenya, and Uganda I can guarantee you that after you meet children to ill from Malnourishment and/or HIV/AIDS to raise their heads to look at you- you don't care how you raise money to help them- you only care that you accomplish your goal.Again, I applaud you Kate and wish more people were like you!
12/12/2008 2:26:50 p.m.
Kate, I love what you've done, and that you will continue to support these children by the sale of these photos is fantastic. Having spent time volunteering myself I know firsthand the huge impact volunteers have on the community they work with.Yvonne, Kate may not have invented the wheel, but she has done something unique - unique in the lives to the children she gave the cameras to.Good for you Kate. I think you rock!All the best for in your fundraising for the Ethiopian children.
12/12/2008 2:20:55 p.m.
Who cares if Ms. McPherson was not doing something groundbreaking? The point is, she was doing SOMETHING and she should be applauded for taking the time to reach out and help these children share their story. Well done Ms. McPherson- we all benefit from your generosity.
12/12/2008 9:30:18 a.m.
please watch: Born into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids
11/12/2008 11:06:28 p.m.
what do you mean months ago, the movie was made a few years ago its called born into brothels its a master piece of creativity and this mcpherson chick is just another washed up photographer with no original ideas of her own and trying to get some great credit for it. if your going to copy the idea at least try and go that much further and do a better job
11/12/2008 8:59:03 p.m.
Ms McPherson did not do something unique or inventive. Several months ago, there was a documentary on tv about a woman who went to live in the slums of India, and got those children to take photos which she then exhibited. Yes, the Ethiopian childrens photos were beautiful, but your reporting of the story was entirely wrong given the angle that Ms McPherson was doing something groundbreaking.
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