Jay Guerra joined us in Peru in 2013. We were blown away by Jay's optimism, his genuine interactions with the kids of Picaflor House, and his passion for photography. Also, his uncanny ability to look like James Bond (Pierce Brosnan era).
We asked Jay to share about his experience, even though it can be hard to put into words. You can find his work here
. And if you're ever in Puerto Rico, we recommend his workshops!
- We recently had a drop out from our Peru team and are actively seeking another participant. If this post interests you, and you're available in May, send us an email! -
My Experience With The Giving Lens in Peru
Lucky. I just consider myself lucky to have had found The Giving Lens to serve as the perfect vehicle to give, to take, to learn and to dig deep into my emotions all the while doing what I like the most; composing, creating and experiencing photography.
In 2004 I had watched a documentary titled Born into Brothels
and subsequently bought the book which superseded the documentary Kids with Cameras
. It just resonated with me and I never forgot the cravings that realizing what a perfect marriage photography and self-empowerment could create. While reading the digital magazine Extraordinary Vision
I came across an article whose subject was Colby Brown. Colby went into the details of his organization, The Giving Lens (TGL).
In all honesty, I don’t think I even finished reading the rest of the magazine before linking to TGL’s website. I was hooked! So much so that I even filled out the application form for a workshop that had already taken place. Kate Siobhan, TGL’s Operations Manager, relayed this sad news to me. I was not discouraged; I simply registered for the next one.
I was lucky, perhaps too lucky, that the next workshop would be held in Peru. As Spanish is my first language, my experience with the kids and the NGO staff was unique. At times I would have wished that a language barrier existed between what I was experiencing and my emotions as I did live not only my experiences but also my fellow volunteer photographers since I had to translate every once in a while for them what the kids where saying. Innocence and gratitude in generous amounts from a small child is a powerful thing.
Innocence and gratitude in generous amounts from a small child is a powerful thing.
These trips cater to a niche group of individuals. I’ve participated in workshops in Santa Fe and I happen to teach workshops in a classroom environment. TGL’s approach to the “teaching” aspect of the trip is very unique and effective. It’s all “In the Field”/ Hands On Learning (also called Collaborative Learning) with very experienced and empathetic leaders. There was always time to help someone out on a one to one basis, no matter what the circumstances were. Also, the degree of experience amongst the participants was broad but not noticeable. The camaraderie among all of us is completely transparent to your skill levels. Where does that take you? To an environment where you are constantly learning without noticing it.
The camaraderie among all of us is completely transparent to your skill levels. Where does that take you? To an environment where you are constantly learning without noticing it.
Remember, this is a photography trip that happens to share its resources with an NGO. There is A LOT of photography to be done. It’s photography non-stop and you’ll love it. After all, if you are reading this post you are a photography enthusiast wishing for a pot of luck. TGL is your chance to win.
I haven’t looked back on my decision; rather, I’m looking forward to my next opportunity to give, to take, to learn but most of all, to feel alive with my camera while empowering someone else.
Editor's Note: We're thrilled to say that Jay will be joining us again in Tanzania, s umber 2014.