My retrospective humanitarian photography exhibit, Safe Passage, opened Friday at the main branch of the Richmond Public Library in downtown RVA. It will remain open until September 4th. This e-exhibit is for those of you too distant to visit in person.
All of us dream about what we might do with our winnings if we were lucky enough to win the lottery. What if someone told you you’d already won? The citizenship lottery, that is. You live here. For most of us, the inequalities and hardships within our own borders cannot compare to the level of hardship that exists in the developing world. A water tap in our home, free public education, a childhood without forced labor – all of these are liberties enjoyed by most American children.
As our country struggles over its southern border and hundreds of migrants land on Europe’s shores each day, much of the rhetoric in the West centers around how we “deal with” or “process” these people. There seems to be little effort to understand the circumstances that cause families to migrate to begin with. My goal in this exhibit is not just to highlight the hardships and inequalities children face outside our borders, but also to allow the viewer to imagine a childhood lived in those circumstances. I also wish to show that practical solutions to these issues do exist if we’re willing to put resources into addressing them.
Many of these photographs were captured while on assignment for ChildFund International, a nonprofit organization based here in Richmond that works to protect children across the developing world while positively transforming the environments in which they grow up. ChildFund and other likeminded organizations strive to provide safe passage for children from their earliest years through youth and into adulthood – no matter where they are.