Archive for March 2009
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Some of my work from Africa was displayed in their gallery as part of the show. The tie-in was that a growing number of women in rural Senegal, West Africa who use cell phone texting as a means of communication in their every day lives. This is an amazing use of interactivity in the battle against poverty and illiteracy. The obvious benefit is communication. Cell phones open up lines of communication between villages and extended families located in remote places with no paved roads, traditional phone lines or even electricity. However, the use of cell phones among rural African women has another important and additional positive impact in regards to literacy.
NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) such as Tostan, www.Tostan.org have provided the education and resources to empower women in rural Africa villages with literacy. The problem had been that although such programs exist, the women who benefited from them would quickly forget their new reading and writing skills because there was no need, nor reason to maintain them in the course of every day village life. Tostan members observed that a possible solution to this could be cell phones. Through the daily use of cell phones, these same women now have a reason and a desire to use their reading and writing skills to communicate with each other and their families.
Shooting the West is a small photography conference held for the past 21 years in Winnemucca, Nevada. This year I had the honor of speaking about the work I do with the Cowboy Poets. Also, along with Larry Angiers, I had the pleasure of taking a group of photographers out to Paradise Valley to coach them in a shooting workshop. The group was made up mostly still life and landscape photographers, so I felt to take it upon myself to approach life in Pardise Valley from a photojournalist’s perspective and I tried to find small slices of life that were going on around the valley that day. What we found was a young ranching couple named the McCombers working their dogs and horses, The Paradise Bar owned and run by Anita Kennedy and her business partner. They served the best cheeseburgers in Paradise, and the Buckinghams, a family that was wrangling in a youong mare who needs to be broken in for riding.