If you were asked what you would save if your home were burning to the ground, you would likely mention your family photo album. With online media and digital cameras widely available throughout most modern Western societies, key moments of an individual’s life are now easily documented for posterity. This, however, is still not the case in a great number of developing nations and village communities the world over.
Many families could never afford a family portrait, and many villagers have never had a photo of themselves or their children.
Portrait Equality seeks to provide these people with family pictures – perhaps a photo of a child for a father to carry when he goes away to work in the city, or of an aging grandmother so she can be remembered by younger generations. We offer instant cameras on loan along with packets of film to photographers travelling to developing nations and remote communities so they can, in turn, provide portraits to local people along their journey.
Walking through the local park to the markets later that day, I went up to a few mothers and offered them photos with my instant camera. They obliged without understanding my offering, but as soon as I handed them the small white film family members started to crowd around us to see what was happening. As the film gradually developed and as their faces started to emerge from the milky white, smiles and congratulations came from the people surrounding us. One father was so excited to have a photo with his new baby that he gave me the woven billum bag off his back.
So our project, Portrait Equality, seeks to provide these people with family pictures. We offer instant cameras on loan, along with packets of film, to photographers travelling to developing nations and remote communities so they can, in turn, provide family portraits to local people along their journey.