April - June, 2015
In April of 2015, Picture Change expanded our work in Nicaragua to the community of Chichigalpa. This city is located in the western lowlands of the country and surrounded by fields of sugarcane.
Our nine students quickly learned to use the camera and apply basic photography principles to their work, developing their own style as they documented the lives of their family, community, and themselves.
A unique aspect of this project was a “graduation” of sorts for Rosa Umanzor Diaz, one of our students from our first project in Padre Ramos, Nicaragua. Picture Change was able to hire her as an assistant teacher. Rosa truly flourished as an educator, relating deeply to these students in both a personal and professional way. We are excited to support Rosa’s gift and role as an educator in her country.
The students had the opportunity to use their new skills to “give back” when we visited the home of Cheryl Spence outside of León, Nicaragua. Cheryl provides a home and medical care to children in dire circumstances and those with serious physical and mental needs. We also visited an art museum in the city and were able to discuss how art and media play a role in influencing our culture and society.
This was the first time we’ve had, not one, but two gallery shows featuring our students’ photography: one in the city of León at Manhattan Sushi and Resto Bar, which was well-attended by international tourists and Nicaraguans alike, and the second in the students’ community of Chichigalpa. Each of the students made at least one photo sale to gallery show attendees. It was a memorable, tangible way for these new photographers to be celebrated for their work and to share their stories on a very public platform.
A highlight of the project came when our students were joined by four media creatives from the United States to collaborate on a photography project with our students. We traveled north to the mountains of Matagalpa and spent three days documenting the stories of farmers with Finca Aurora coffee farm. It was a phenomenal opportunity for our students be treated as professionals in their craft and work closely with others professionals in the field.
Since the completion of Stories From the Source, students have been hired as photographers by local missionaries and journalists in the area. We hope to continue to foster creative relationships in this community, for there is a powerful story to be told in Chichigalpa and we believe these students are more than capable of telling it.