“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera”. The quote is from Dorothea Lange, an American photographer and journalist. She is famous for her influential Depression-era work. Her photographs showed the consequences, at a human level, of the Great Depression in the United States.
Photography is also interesting to Debate Centre. The idea came up to Aija’s mind, our Latvian volunteer. In her words: “I’m happy that we could carry out this idea. For me the biggest challenge was, and still is, communication in Russian language with people interested in this event. I’ve already lived in Donetsk for 8 months, and I think that this city has soul. So I thought it could be a good idea to show it through pictures, but the truth is that I’m not good at photography, so we decided to ask help to those people who can do it better”.
We decided to establish a deadline for people interested to send their photos on the topic “One Donetsk, different generations”. After deadline, we uploaded all the pictures we received to our Facebook and VKontakte profiles, so that people could vote for their favourite ones. After this deadline was met, Aija and Monika selected the 35 most-voted photos, printed them and, after dealing with local council to get permission and were allowed to, they began real photo exhibition.
From Thursday to Sunday, in three consecutive weeks, photos are available for everyone interested in different places in Donetsk. From 15th to 19th August they were in Park Shervakova. Last week Bulvar Pushkina was the chosen place. And this week you can still visit us in the Park of Metal Figures from 29th August to 1st September. Together with photo exhibition, we are also organizing other activities, as origami and painting sessions (feel free to join us tomorrow), and Polish language, whose lessons have moved, every Saturday, to the place photo exhibition is showed that week.
I visited myself exhibition last 24th August, precisely on the Day of Independence of Ukraine, so there were also extra activities organized by city council, I guess. I walked along all Bulvar Pushkina while I was waiting for Aija and Monika. At some point I gazed at Pushkin’s bust, which seemed to solemnly observe the cheerful crowd walking around its place. The innocent passing-by of people, who wandered round the endless amount of food, cold drinks and handicraft stands, was enlivened by the joy of many children, singing and dancing under a harsh sun. They were performing traditional Ukrainian dances worn in typical Ukrainian costumes, and coordinated by a tense, sharp-featured woman. You could feel that if performance was successful, it will only depend on her.
Ten minutes later Aija and Monika finally came round there, and began to hang photos. Even within the process of doing so, some people already got interested and approached us to better examine some of the pictures. Maybe we did not use camera as an instrument to teach us how to see without it, nor participants in our exhibition did, but we tried, and are successful, to get people involved in the important self-reflection process of re-considering the city we live in to re-think it and re-discover it. Maybe this way nothing ever ends…
Bye for now,