Agitating for Change: TYO’s Photographers Take a Shot at Advocacy

This week, Triple Exposure is beginning its third and final theme of the session: change in storytelling. Students will explore how photography can be used as a medium for eliciting change in their communities. Classes will tackle issues such as smoking, child labor, and environmental issues. Over the next four weeks, each child will compile their work from throughout the session and build photo essays that use story to advocate for a community issue that is important to them. Triple Exposure has been encouraging photography students to tackle issues within their community including pollution.

In one of this week’s activities, students teamed up to use the camera as a medium to take on a hypothetical factory owner who chain-smokes, litters, and employs child laborers. Triple Exposure’s beginner photographers used the activity to advocate for change regarding issues that are very real for young people in Nablus: smoking, littering, and child labor.

In a survey conducted by Birzeit University, 25% of Palestinian students between the 7th and 10th grade are smokers and the Ministry of Health revealed that cancer cases increased by 11.0% in 2011 compared to 2010.

Environmental issues may be among the most visible problems affecting Palestine’s cities. Trash pick up is inadequate and many Nabulsis dispose of their trash by burning it. However one of the most poignant issues addressed this week was child labor. Among students in Triple Exposure’s photography class, at least two are underage workers themselves.

Adel poses for a photo depicting the harmful effects of child labor.

TYO aims to foster confidence and creativity in children who will soon be empowered to shape their community, country, and world. The capacity to elicit change responsibly and constructively could ultimately become one of their greatest assets in such a challenging political climate. These activities will encourage students to be active, influential, and productive advocates for their city and country. Using photography to approach critical issues in Nablus will serve to challenge students to find creative solutions to local problems and participate in their community’s development.

- Zak

Zak is a Fall 2013 intern at TYO in Nablus.