1 Camera 1000 Smiles is a project that conducts photography workshops with young people living in remote communities using donated used digital cameras. The program seeks camera donations through online and offline campaigning, arranges collection and distributes them throughout Australian Indigenous communities. Donated cameras are both used as teaching aids and given to the children to keep as a way of continued learning and exploration.
The program originated in Bali 6 years ago in the remote village of Belandingnan within the Kinatmani region. Since then it has reached out to East Timor and for the past 2 years has been running workshops primarily in Far North Queensland. The project base is in Melbourne, where all the donated cameras are collected and housed, and then transported to the communities where workshops are being taught.
The workshop curriculum has been designed by Richard who has over 20 years of industry experience as a photojournalist and TAFE teacher (5 years). Richard currently volunteers his time to teaching the free workshops. The program offers more than learning camera skills, it is about sharing, education, waste and recyling, the environment, progression, the change of the world and the world changing. It is about development and underdevelopment and creating harmony and balance in between.
The project itself is about empowerment through education.The key to the success of the program is that the learning process is inclusive, interactive and most importantly fun. Given the popularity of photography, it is an ideal way of encouraging learning of technical, personal and social skills. Photography is a powerful medium that has the ability to create change. It’s not simply about collecting a bunch of cameras and handing them out. It is about empowering young people and offering them a means of expression and a way in which to tell their story.