The Healing Power of Photography

Check out this blog we found from Polaris Project! Polaris Project will be partnering with art therapy programs in New York and New Jersey to teach women who have been trafficked photography as a means of expressing themselves. Amazing.  (From Polaris Project’s North Star blog)

The Healing Power of Photography

by K.Keisel NJ Program Coordinator

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything,” said Aaron Siskind, a revered American photographer of the 30s and 40s. What each photographer chooses to catch on film is a creative outlet for that individual; an inspiration that withstands the test of time. And for victims of trauma; this art form can be therapeutic.

Polaris Project New Jersey has developed a photography program for the victims of human trafficking we serve. The one-year program starts with beginner-level classes and advances through five stages. Four to six clients will be in each class.

The goal of this photography program is to help our clients not only tell their stories, but the stories of others. This medium gives them the opportunity to share the voice they want to share, and invest in concrete skills they can use in building their future.

We are excited to have already received donations of multiple disposable cameras to help us implement our program. The first beginner class was earlier this month. The survivors who have enrolled are incredibly enthusiastic about their work and the future possibilities. As they learn how to effectively operate a camera, understand the complexity of photography, and continue to develop their craft, we hope other venues and individuals may be willing to donate more cameras to the cause.

Starting this fall, we will be partnering with New Jersey and New York art therapy programs and local artists to create a sustainable artistic program in the New Jersey office. We greatly appreciate this initiative. As this partnership continues, we hope to make advanced classes available for clients who have completed our program so that they can continue their education with resources The New School can provide. By that point, participating clients will have a concrete and marketable set of skills that they can use to sell their photography and also gain scholarships into local universities. It is also our hope that the survivors that graduate from the program will feel empowered to teach beginner courses of photography to other survivors.

This program has been designed using the survivors’ input. It is not only a therapy program, but also promotes social change and economic stability.

If you would like to help these survivors build a foundation from which they can propel themselves into stable, independent lifestyles, please visit our Amazon wish list and purchase a camera that survivors can use throughout their yearlong course.

Photo credit: RiverOfGod

3 thoughts on “The Healing Power of Photography

  1. Really excited about this program!! I am a photographer working as an art therapist with refugees from Burma. I’d love to be added to your email list for updates and volunteer opportunities. Best of luck!

  2. This is really interesting! I really do wish you well with it. I started a Masters in photography last year and am looking to use photography to increase confidence. So far i have also encountered people using photography to monitor weight loss, menopause and grief.It has also been used in psycholanalysis in the past. I think it’s application to health is on the verge of exploding! and if it helps people I hope it does this sooner rather than later.

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