Photography to Children in Rural Africa

Four weeks ago I returned from Uganda, having paid another visit to Eden School. A school which is located in the Southwest corner of the country not far from the border with Rwanda and DRC.
Returning in 2016, I was continuing my project ‘Give a child a camera’ which saw me travel to the country loaded with 35mm & digital cameras, ready to start the next leg of the project.
Last year, having taught a group of 24 children photography I was quite simply blown away by the quality and original nature of their photography, it was amazing.
Returning this year, I taught a new group of children, along with many from last year and I’m pleased to say the results were incredible. I arrived to be greeted by children proudly pointing out all the parts of the camera, clearly the lesson plans I left last year had worked a treat!
The proudest moment was seeing the students from last year, turn up to my photography lesson, each of them with their cameras, in superb condition and so loved. I had a tear in my eye!

As well as teaching photography and letting the children photograph their life, I also continued teaching the teachers on the principles of photography, as well as sorting a photo room, a room for images to be shown and where all the cameras are stored in newly built locked cabinets.

Thanks to lots of lovely people who helped fund the project I was also able to provide the school with a superb music keyboard, paying for a music teacher, lots of materials for education (including dozens of new teaching books and manuals) a new school vegetable garden (with lots of seeds) to help the director make the school a little more sustainable, as well as a brand new sanitation block. This is without doubt the best around the area and provides the school with permanent toilets, offering privacy and hygiene with water and soap. A vast improvement.

Back to the photography and in particular the children’s images… you will see I have included a couple of the highlights… wonderfully emotive images that capture the heart. I decided to give three students engraved trophies for the best images..something they were of course rather excited about.
This year, given we now had a superb photographic room it was decided an exhibition of all the images would be held, with invites going to all parents and guardians, who came out in force to enjoy an afternoon of tea, bread and stunning photography. A real highlight.
Last year, I exhibited the children’s images alongside my own images at the Forum in Norwich which proved a great success. At the moment I do not have plans to exhibit images from this year, however, if the general feeling is to exhibit, then I will try and find a suitable (and hopefully free) venue.
So… what next? Well, returning to Rwanda I was invited to visit a small deaf school three hours from Kigali. The director is keen to bring my project to the school, a move which I believe will help the students no end. After all, these students will be visually stimulated.
if you feel you would like to financially support this project (Give a child a camera) please do get in touch.

Information on last year’s project is available by visiting the Wex Photographic blog page…/give-a-child-a-camera-prov…

About Julian Claxton

My passion for photography is supported by experiences gained on exciting travel adventures and through working for fantastic photographers. In 2006, I made the exciting step of realising my dream of becoming a freelance photographer. Since this pivotal moment, I have held numerous exhibitions, been featured nationally & internationally in print and won numerous awards, including being a finalist in the National Geographic Photographic competition in 2013 with one of my documentary images from the Sudan. From an early age I began to enjoy taking pictures of my daily life, basking in the thrill of sending the film to the printers and eagerly awaiting the pocket sized prints. My first foray into the world developing and printing strangely began at school when I was asked to produce a descriptive photo for the school newspaper. A front page shot later and I was destined to start the long arduous journey of becoming a photographer. In between exciting travel adventures and working for fantastic photographers, I graduated from college and at a crossroads in my journey to becoming a pro photographer, I embarked on a career working as a medical photographer. Learning new skills and dabbling in video production as well as progressing design skills, I yearned for the challenge and freedom of becoming a freelance. I have been fortunate enough to work on some amazing assignments which have included shooting a documentary assignment with an air ambulance, gaining full access to a British Pro cycling team during an international UCI tour, cycling to Rwanda and creating a photographic documentary of my journey. The experiences continue to grow, meeting wonderful people to photograph and telling the story of their journey. The list of events and striking moments that have played out through my viewfinder continue to grow and provide me with ever increasing snapshots of life to capture. One of the highlights of my career thus far has been staying in rural Uganda, teaching photography to the kids from the region, in a project I set up in late 2014, entitled ‘Give a child a camera’. The basis of the project is to supply 35mm cameras and film to the rural schools in this region of East Africa, teaching the children how to shoot photographs. After a week of taking photos of their life, an exhibition is held at the school and the children leave with their very own album, camera and film. One of the images I shot at Eden school in rural Uganda, during morning chapel won the 2015 Travel Media Tourism and Photography award. A great honour and one that I wouldn’t have picked up had it not been for the wonderful children of East Africa. For further information please visit
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