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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 March, 2004, 08:51 GMT
Visual voices from Cambodia
(Photo: Eugenie Dolberg)
Riding the rails in Cambodia. (Photo: Eugenie Dolberg)
Anna Blackman, co-founder and executive Director of UK charity PhotoVoice, is on her way to Phnom Penh in Cambodia to establish a photographic project with disadvantaged youth.

Over the coming months Anna Blackman and freelance photographer Eugenie Dolberg will be writing for BBC News Online, supplying updates and images from the project, charting its growth. This is the first of their reports en route to Cambodia.

The mission

PhotoVoice is an international non-profit organization, based in London UK. Our mission is empowerment - to support people in need around the world in using photography as a medium to 'speak out' about their challenges, concerns, hopes and fears.

Working alongside both international organizations and local partners, we provide in-field photojournalism workshops for those living on the fringes of society.

(Photo: Eugenie Dolberg)
Cambodian children (Photo: Eugenie Dolberg)
Internationally we provide the platform for these groups to exhibit and market their work.

The philosophy

With visual saturation comes indifference - many of the images we witness of war or famine, disease or extreme difficulty no longer touch us - the people depicted are elsewhere - their plight irrelevant to our lives.

Rarely do we have the opportunity to get close to these "static" people, to really glimpse their lives, to see them as active individuals with views and opinions rather than as helpless victims.

No picture, of course, depicts 'truth.' A photo simply reflects reality - a moment of time bordered and framed, shot by an individual and singled out by another.

PhotoVoice projects enable people in need to document their lives as only they can really know them. In doing so these projects channel the unique subjectivity of the participants into a direct and powerful form of human communication.

The project

Within Phnom Penh, PhotoVoice will be working in collaboration with the US based organisation Global Children to set up a photographic project within the Kean Klang orphanage.

The first phase of the project will give fifteen children between the ages of 12 and 18 the opportunity to learn both manual and digital photography techniques, thereby enabling them to tell their stories and document their lives and the city they live in.

The initial project will run for three months resulting in a local exhibition to be held in Phnom Penh.

It is hoped that some of the first students on the photography programme will go on to complete an advanced vocational photography course and new beginners courses will be established.

Next step

As the projects develop so we will send our news from the field as well as images shot by the young people we are working with and photos documenting the project.

Be sure to check the In pictures section of this site for future updates.

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