Monday was the long awaited day: the first day of class! We met at 9:30 a.m. and began our lessons. The first part of class was spent discussing our schedule for Rome, our syllabus and the overall things expected of us during our month-long stay here.
The second part of class was super exciting because we finally met Andrea from Shoot4Change, the organization with which we would be working during the month. He brought some members from his team and explained to us what S4C is all about and described some things with which he would like our help. S4C is an incredible organization and the passion these people have to help tell stories through photography is inspiring.
S4C describes itself as “crowdphotography, social commitment and a touch of serendipity.” It is a volunteer network with a new way of thinking. That new way of thinking is social photography. This organization wants to tell the stories of people who deserve to have a voice, but are not covered by mainstream media. Andrea started off his presentation with a powerful video that gave me chills. You can see this video below.
The group started in reaction to an earthquake that hit L’Aquila seven years ago. The town was absolutely devastated and desperately needed help. S4C helped people document their lives after the earthquake and guided them to use social media and hashtags to connect with each other and the outside world. S4C ended up being the watchdog for the community to make sure the government noticed them and was spending funds appropriately. S4C has also worked in Chiapas, Mexico with Partners in Health as well as in New York after Hurricane Sandy, among many other projects. The organization is very proud of what they do and tries to be as active as possible in between its members’ “normal” lives and jobs.
Andrea then showed us a project S4C is extremely proud of: its receiving of funds from Google to find themselves a house to work from, so the organization could become more physical, and not just digital. This, too, was a touching video, which can be seen below.
The class was glad we better understood Shoot4Change’s goals and what the company is all about. We were even more excited to visit Andrea and his team the following day. After class, we had almost a two hour break, and then were were off to let the real fun commence.