InSights Blog

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The Importance of Preserving Legacy: StoryCorps Wins 2015 TED Prize

Part of what we do here at PhotoWings is try to spread the word about the importance of connecting with one another in meaningful ways, the power of learning from history, and how both can be facilitated by photography, as seen in the Dublin City University Intergenerational Learning Project. It then comes as no surprise we were incredibly happy to hear the 2015 TED Prize was received by StoryCorps, an organization which "celebrates the dignity, power, and grace that can be heard in the stories we find all around us."

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Reviving Arts Education Through Photography

It is no secret that art education in America is woefully underfunded. Students are no longer getting classroom time dedicated to learning and practicing art in its diverse forms, despite the fact it is extensively documented to improve the well-being of students in a wide variety of ways. We here at PhotoWings are troubled by the erosion of arts in the classroom, and believe that photography is a great avenue to reintroduce this important component to a well-rounded education.

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Story Behind the Picture: Iwo Jima Flag Raising

Here at PhotoWings, we believe that photography can act as an amazing conduit for learning. Looking at photographs is a great way to practice and sharpen skills encompassed by visual literacy...

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Look: PhotoWings + Ashoka U Exchange Photo Booth

Last year at the Ashoka U Exchange held at Brown University, PhotoWings shared the projects of InSights: Past Present and Future Self Through Photography grant winners. In addition to the project showcase, we set up an interactive photo booth where changemakers in attendance could share their own stories.

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Preserving Your Photos in the Digital Age

The Telegraph reports that internet pioneer and Google vice president Vint Cerf has said everyone needs to start thinking in earnest about how to preserve digital data, especially as technologies advance and ability to read old file-types becomes harder and harder (for instance: how many computers nowadays can handle floppy disks?).

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Wise Words from Steve McCurry

Phaidon Press has put together a fascinating collection of interviews with legendary National Geographic Photographer Steve McCurry. The 6 part conversation takes on a wide variety of topics salient to passionate photographers.

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Photographic Macgyvers: Nat Geo's Photo Engineers

Here at PhotoWings, we are always amazed at the ingenuity and intelligence photographers bring to their craft. Whether it's  Henri-Cartier Bresson meditatively waiting for his decisive moment, the quick thinking conflict journalism of Robert Capa, or Ansel Adams innovating in the darkroom to create mind-blowing prints, photographers utilize a wide variety of skills to be successful at their work.

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The Runaway Success of Humans of New York and the Power of Photography

There's a very good chance you've heard of the social photo project Humans of New York. With more than 12 million followers on facebook, it's easily one of the most popular photoblogs around (if not blogs, period).

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Photoshop, the Darkroom, and "Truth"

In the age of photoshop and other types of image editing software, a lot of time is spent getting to the bottom of images: what is "true" in the things we see, and what is the product of photoshop trickery. Indeed, there are detailed blog posts wholly devoted to setting the record straight about fake viral images and magazine covers. It is seen as a modern phenomenon, where the past is lamented because photos are no longer sacred - their truth and power obscured by modern technology.

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Preserving History: The Rescued Film Project

What would you do if you found yourself the owner of rolls and rolls of undeveloped film? What if they were from World War Two? Last year at an auction in Ohio, Levi Bettweiser bought 31 rolls of undeveloped film from World War Two with no idea who or what the negatives might contain.

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Discover: The Robert Frank Collection

The National Gallery of Art's online Robert Frank Collection is an expansive resource including vintage prints, contact sheets, work prints, negatives, three bound books of original photographs, technical material, and various papers, books, and recordings which span 1937 to 2005. 

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Best of Photoshelter's 2014 Inspiration Handbook

The folks over at Photoshelter have put out a little collection of quotes from photography industry notables for inspiration at the beginning of this new year.

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Empowering Communities with Photography: 100 Cameras

100 Cameras has a simple mantra: give photography, change a community. For the past 5 years, they have used this mantra as the backbone for an array of educational photography projects across the globe, from New York City to India to South Sudan, helping renew communities and create immediate and long-term change.

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Photographer Has Lived for 2 Years on Photos Instead of Money

Shantanu Starick was tired of the standard model of freelance photography - one that emphasizes specialization over diversity - and the constant headache of money. So he decided to try something radical: trade his skills for his food, shelter, and transportation.

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Photographic Activism: Everyday Climate Change 

Started by photographer James Whitlow Delano, and now joined by over 30 prominent photojournalists, Everyday Climate Change hopes to show the world the damage human caused climate change has on ecosystems around the globe.

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Empowering Children Through Photography: The Disposable Project

A couple years ago, Raul Guerrero got the idea to give 100 disposable cameras to nine children in a village near Moshi in Tanzania while he was there working with the Microsoft initiative Born to Learn, a program that helps educate disadvantaged youth.

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Org Spotlight: Youth in Focus

Here at PhotoWings we are always excited to hear of other organizations finding inspirational ways to make the world a better place through photography. Youth in Focus is a Seattle based non-profit organization which utilizes the power of photography to facilitate healing and growth with at-risk youth.

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Behind the Scenes: Nat Geo Photographers In Action

National Geographic recently published a photo essay by photographer Tomás Munita detailing the lives of Gauchos working in the unforgiving land of Patagonia in Chile. Tomás's photographs show, with great vibrance, the hard life these Gauchos have carved for themselves in the wilderness of South America.

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Explore FSA Era (1935-1945) Photographs with Photogrammer

From 1935 to 1945, the the Farm Security Administration — Office of War Information undertook the largest photography project ever sponsored by the federal government. With Photogrammer, an archive developed by a team of Yale academics led by Professor Laura Wexler, all 170,000 images can be explored using a number of different indexing tools.

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"The Photo Man": Intimate Portrait of a Found Photo Collector

"The Photo Man" is a short documentary featurette detailing the livelihood of Mark Kologi, a found photo collector and salesman. Over the years, Mark estimates that he has collected and sold millions of forgotten personal photos of strangers to strangers.

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10 National Geographic Photographers and the Photos that Changed Them

Too often in our high-speed camera phone world, we take for granted the preciousness of our pictures. In an encouraging move away from this trend, National Geographic asked ten of their esteemed photographers to reflect on a single photograph in their portfolios that they are thankful for.

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Using Old Photos to Start Conversations about Race in America

The Mirror of Race is a project and website by curated by Suffolk philosophy professor Gregory Fried. Through the study of old photographs (1839 - 1876), Fried and the project's staff hope "to discern and address how these images from the past dis­lo­cate our own present pre­sump­tions about the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of race."

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Exploring (Personal) History Through Photography:
3 Photo Projects To See

Over the past couple of years, using editing software to reimagine old photographs has become somewhat of a phenomenon. These hybrid projects use existing media as a jumping off point for new creative expressions, starting conversations about history, memory, and the preciousness of family photos.

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Marianne Gontarz York: Visual Gerontologist

Gerontologist, one who studies aging, isn't a job title you hear every day, and Visual Gerontologist is even rarer. But that's exactly the passion of photographer and social worker Marianne Gontarz York. She uses photography and the ‘phototherapy’ technique “to help a clients model a new way of being and thinking about themselves.”

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Using Photography to Start Conversations about Race & Ethnicity

(1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race is a recent photo and book project from Professor Yaba Blay which hopes to challenge narrow perceptions of what it means to be "black."

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Teachers Learn About Immigration Through Photography

WUNC reports that in North Carolina some teachers are being trained to better understand immigration through a set of powerful photos made by Mexico-based photojournalist  Janet Jarman over a 20 year period. The photo project concerns, primarily, the life of a little girl named Marisol as she makes the journey from her native Mexico to the United States with her family.

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Five PhotoWings Interviewees on the Essence of Photography

Over the years PhotoWings has had the opportunity to interview many leading photojournalists on an array of topics. Here are five of our esteemed interviewees thinking critically about the essence of photography — why it is important to them, how they conceive of it and its impact on the world. 

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UCSF Students Use the Power of Photography to Start Conversations about Public Health 

"You find so many things that're unhealthy out here -- they just don't see it yet, don't realize it. So when you take a picture of it, it just brings it to life." Those are the words of West Oakland student Champale Holmes, one of the many who are participating in a 5 week long UCSF driven initiative to use photography as a way to start conversations with young people about health and the state of their community.

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From the PhotoWings Resource Center: Five of Our Favorite Photography Magazine Websites

Here are five of our favorite photography magazine websites featured in the Publications section of our Resource Center. Each offers a unique perspective on contemporary photography, highlighting the breadth and wealth of work being done by the photography community today.

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Telling the Stories of Native Americans Through Photography

There are more than 500 Native American tribes recognized by the US government, and  photographer Matika Wilbur has made it her mission to photograph them all. A Native American herself, Matika uses the power of photography to counterbalance the misrepresentations of Native American culture in mass media and the national consciousness.

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Learning History Through Photography: The Honoring Elders Project

Photographer Kara Counard is behind an ongoing, community-based photo project which connects students from Wisconsin schools with elders from nursing homes all around the state to learn about storytelling through the power of photography and local history.


Using the Power of Photography to Fight Human Trafficking

Shoot the Skies is a new project from photographer Tanner Stewart with the goal to end human trafficking. Every day for the entire year of 2013, Tanner took and posted photos on the internet to raise awareness about human trafficking.