Exposing Nabulsi Identities

For the last two weeks, Interns have been preparing for their first classes with their students at TYO. For Triple Exposure, a photography program that encourages creativity, self-expression, self-confidence, and a sense of identity among youth, this has meant substantial training and lesson planning. Volunteers from Nablus and An-Najah University have been trained to use TYO’s cameras and the classroom has been decorated to facilitate learning and introspection. A TYO volunteer helps beginner photography students become familiar with the camera.

Triple Exposure aims to foster an environment in which Nabulsi children feel confident using the camera as a medium through which they can explore their identities, spread awareness, convey emotions, and promote the arts within their community. At TYO, the camera serves to empower children from vulnerable and disadvantaged backgrounds to utilize creative thinking, better understand themselves, and relate to their communities and world. Studies have shown that photography and self-portraiture in particular serve as an opportunity for self-exploration, emotional reflection, and self-help among people who face adversity. Nearly 40% of Palestinian children suffer from moderate to severe post-traumatic stress disorder and even more endure other forms of psychological morbidity. In this kind of environment, programs like TYO’s Triple Exposure serve as a vital outlet through which Nabulsi children can channel their emotions and discover personal identities.

In the first week of class, students discussed artistic expression and considered their own potential to create meaningful photographs. In the coming weeks, they will learn how to compose self-portraits that enhance self-awareness and reveal the beauty and sadness behind Palestinian identities. Over the course of the session, students will capture the relationship between these identities and the community in which they find themselves. Finally, Triple Exposure will introduce the dynamic of change in photography and students will compose photo essays that reflect their personal stories within the community.

Throughout the next two months, photography students will explore the boundless capacity of the photographic aesthetic to realize their potential as artists and develop a creative outlet for self-expression. Using classroom themes tailored to the unique Nabulsi situation, Triple Exposure will encourage TYO’s students to capture visual interpretations of their own identities, communities, and stories.