100cameras: Mission India – Give Photography & Change a Community

100cameras teaches underprivileged children how to document their lives through photography with the motto “Give photography & Change a community.” 100% of the money generated from the sales of children’s prints is used to raise awareness and provide lifeline supplies, educational resources, and medical support to them and their community.

Leica Camera is a sponsor of this organization and donated 15 V-Lux 30 cameras for 100cameras latest mission that took place in India with Russ Foundation Children’s Home in Madurai. We sat down with both Gigi Stoll, official photographer, (G) and 100cameras (100) to learn more about the trip to India.

Presented in the gallery is a selection of the images the children took:

Q: How old were the children that you were working with? And was this their first time handling a camera?

100: Ages 12-26, all Russ Home children. It was the first time they had ever held a camera. They ended up taking approximately 15,000 images!

Q: What kind of photographic skills were the children taught?

100: They were taught fundamentals that included the following skills: exposure (brightness), depth-of-field, shutter speed, motion blur, and flash.

Q: Did any themes emerge in the children’s images?

100: The most popular subjects were flowers and animals. This is a reflection of the intentionality of behind the Russ Children’s home campus – it is closely associated with nature in an eco-friendly atmosphere with a variety of tropical fruit yielding trees surrounded by mangroves in the foothills of kiluvamalai (Alagarkovil Mountain) forest range.  Inside the campus there is a dairy farm, kennel and a poultry farm with varied species.

Q: What kind of change, if any, did you see in the children as they began exploring with their cameras?

G: Once the technical skills of handling the cameras became second nature, the children began exploring subjects that attracted their individual eyes. They started having an opinion on subjects and became particular in the sense of framing/cropping their images. It was very clear that they enjoyed the cameras and expressing their new vision through photography. Plus they were always having fun and laughing, which was quite contagious.

Q: Do you think the children will keep this experience with them and positively affect their future?

100: Survey results provided further insight that this opportunity improved self worth, problem solving skills, and a deeper understanding of their role in the world. There is one class session in particular that incorporates an activity where we share the previous project portfolios created by children living in other countries. Upon seeing the art of their “peers,” our India photographers expressed a new closeness to other individuals their age around the world, expanding their vision of a global community. They voiced that photography serves many different purposes in the world including documenting their own life as well as its role to “advance understanding across the world.”

Both our team and the Russ staff observed increased confidence in a number of the children as the class sessions progressed. Russ Foundation director, Berlin Jose, believes that the impact of 100cameras will be a lasting one for all the children, “Their outlook towards other people, other objects, how they view the world, will forever be changed.”

Q: Gigi, you took many images on the trip as well. What are you doing anything with the images you took?

G: I am donating ten images with a limited edition of ten per image, to be sold through events and 100cameras.org with all proceeds going to enable the mission of 100cameras and further the work of the project.

Thank you for your time Gigi and 100cameras!

- Leica Internet Team

You can see more of Gigi’s work on her website, www.gigistoll.com. You can also connect with Gigi on her Facebook page and on Twitter. Learn more about 100cameras and how to purchase prints.