In this age of the ever-present selfie, it is hard to imagine a world where many people have never even seen a photograph of themselves. This is often the case in the remote villages of rural Morocco. Sharing my photos with the women and children on my visits has been a great source of entertainment for all of us, especially seeing the young girls and boys striking poses and racing back to me to look immediately in the view finder, then demanding more while jockeying for a prominent position in the group photo. Seeing the young women carefully analyze their photos is fascinating to me. I can’t imagine being so unfamiliar with my own image, but with mirrors and glass windows a rarity, these girls rarely even see a reflective surface. Far from disliking their photos because of an unflattering angle, as we are so ready to do, these girls typically respond with peals of laughter.
I recently had the honor of an introduction to Heather Binns, a talented photographer volunteering for an organization called Prints for Prints. Prints for Prints reminds me of the value of the family photograph. From the Prints for Prints website:
A family photograph is a precious thing to many of us, and especially to people who live in rural areas and often do not have a record of their children or elders. Prints for Prints creates makeshift studios in rural villages, working with local student photographers when possible, for the purpose of donating prints to those who do not have photographs of their loved ones.
Heather will be traveling to Morocco in February. It gives me great pleasure to sponsor her work with Kahina’s charitable partners, the High Atlas Foundation and Education for All, Morocco, where she will document their work and donate prints to families and the girls in the boarding home to send home to their loved ones. I hope you will join us in following Heather on her journey via instragram @heathre. We look forward to sharing some of her photos here.