Hall of Fame
Good will win
Documentary 9th February, 2019

REZA VISUAL ACADEMY

Convinced that the language of images can help create a sense of resiliency in vulnerable societies, the renowned photojournalist Reza created the association Reza Visual Academy to implement photo-training workshops for youths living in precarious civil societies like refugee camps or disadvantaged suburbs, all over the world. Photography is used as a tool to empower local actors in order to make them informed and able to express themselves using the latest information and communication tools. The overall aim is to promote self-esteem and self-sufficiency in order to develop a stable and peaceful society.

 

URBAN VOICES IN BUENOS AIRES

In Argentina, the “villas” are sensitive urban areas characterized by high vulnerability and low access to education. Both the neighbourhoods of Ejercito de los Andes, also known as “Fuerte Apache” and Villa 21-24 are seen as dangerous zones. Many fears and prejudices towards the inhabitants of those neighbourhoods prevail today, especially towards the youths. Reza Visual Academy has trained 46 of them to the use of photography as a tool of storytelling and emancipation.

The project “Urban Voices of Buenos Aires” is aimed at empowering youths from the “villas” by training them to become active witnesses of their destinies through photography. The workshops aim to:

  • Transmit the necessary skills to master the use of the photographic tool, based on Reza’s experience and pedagogy.
  • Train the youths to have a sharp eye on their surrounding environment and to develop their own visual storytelling.
  • Share their testimonies with the world through international photo exhibitions open to all and through social media.

46 youths (31 girls and 15 boys, aged 11 to 20) benefitted through the project.

Reza Visual Academy thus benefits the whole community. From the anonymity of "keeping to oneself", they earn a new visibility through the visual testimonies widely disseminated, locally and abroad, in exhibitions, media and social networks.

The youth now hold a new look upon their daily life and their environment. This project strengthens the self-esteem of its young beneficiaries. By capturing their territory, they reveal not just its harshness but also a certain poetry.

They seize the chance to tell their own stories and their dreams. As they become actors and witnesses of their lives, they influence the common representation of the favelas thanks to the intimate perspective they offer.

These young people are often the victims of prejudices related to the vulnerability of their neighbourhoods, of which they rarely have the opportunity to offer a more nuanced image.

This unique training is a real opportunity to exercise their freedom of expression, to shed through their creativity a new light on their surroundings, challenging the entrenched image of the collective subconscious. This leads to more inclusive opportunities for themselves and their peers.

Families go to parks in the afternoon for drink and talk. Milagros photographs her family while her little brother plays soccer.

There’s a lot of night activity in Ejército de los Andes. Sebastián captures his friend waiting while a group of young people walks somewhere.

Training one’s eyes to detect reflections in the objects around, invites to an exploration of new perspectives. Alexis takes a self-portrait with a friend in an old monitor that was discarded in the street.

Training one’s eyes to detect reflections, in a mirror or in a puddle invites to an exploration of new perspectives. Micaela confuses us with this photo that looks close to a collage.

In this ‘view from her windows’ Natalia shows us what lays behind walls and corridors.

Valentina portrays a scene of intimacy in her home. Her grandma helps her little sister with her homework.

The only privileged are the children. Yamel shows us her mother taking care of her niece.

Through photography, it’s an insight on our own universe that we can share to the rest of the world. Maira shows us a cold morning at her school.

Bianca portrays a painting made by her friend for an exhibition.

Graffiti reflects the life in the neighbourhood. Ariel shows us one of the more common dreams: to be a big soccer star.

Melina photographs her boyfriend and his friend taking a walk on a field.

Luciana portrays her friend’s happiness from a nearby roof.

An intimate family moment; Franco’s brother looks expectantly as his father lights a cigar.

Lourdes portrays a relative trough a window. Her look plays with the reflection and invites us to read between lines.

To turn obstacles into opportunities; Martina takes advantage of a power shutdown to put into practice what she learnt about long exposures in class.

A class of fathers learning how to fold a baby’s diaper. Important lessons for adult men to better help around the household and with child-rearing.

Jazmin photographs her friends taking a break on a rainy day.

Brandon portrays a Padre Mugica mural. It’s not rare to find this kind of graffiti on the walls of Ejército de los Andes, the third-world priest is fundamental in the neighbourhood’s history.

Training one’s eyes to detect reflections, in a mirror or a drop of warwe, invites to an exploration of new perspectives. Jonatan captures an intimate and little moment after a big storm.

Leila photographs her brother taking a bath. Many times the lack of access to basic services lead mothers to look for alternative ways to bath the children.

View from my window. It’s a view we know by heart. Although, taking a picture of it is a way to discover it anew.

Birthdways are events of high importance, a party is thrown and neighbors and friends are invited to participate. Gustavo shows us his little cousin celebrating his second birthday.

Reza was invited to participate as an artist in Bienalsur, the first contemporary art in the south of globe and he offered not only exhibiting his work but to train these youth and have them to exhibit during the Bienalsur as the youngest artists ever exposed in an art Bienal.

Partner of biennial and this project is the UNTREF University in Buenos Aires

Exhibition of the works of the participants.

Exhibition of the works of the participants.