Last week CEI had the opportunity to host 20 Bahamian students from Freeport, Nassau and Crooked Island for National Geographic's Photo Camp. This camp was the culmination of the Youth Expression Against Drugs Competition, put together in partnership by the US Embassy and the Bahamian National Drug Council. Cameras in hand, the youth ambassadors (as they are known) explored our family island of Eleuthera to find new ways to express and describe what they value and what is important to them through the lens of a camera.
Each day the group began their day with short lectures that explored different technical and artistic techniques of photography. These lectures, which were coupled with various photo assignments in the field. were led by National Geographic photographer, Raul Touzon, and photo editor, Todd James. Whether it was shooting in local settlements or shooting underwater at Lighthouse Beach and Fourth Hole, students used their time at The Island School and throughout South Eleuthera to express themselves and dig deeper into what they feel is most important to conserve/preserve in their native land. Over the course of the five day program, the students took thousands of photographs of people, plants, animals and landscapes.
On Saturday evening, a beautiful final presentation took place at the Tarpum Bay Cultural Center. It was a full house with over 100 people including Island School Students, Hawken School, staff from across CEI, Island School, US Embassy, Bahamian National Drug Council, BREEF, BNT, TNC and the local community. During the presentation the best of the students pictures were displayed and some students shared their personal poetry and essays. As a surprise they announced that each student would be able to keep the camera they had so carefully used all week.
Not only were thousands of pictures taken and many memories made, but more than just a brand new camera culminated from this unique experience; a sense of place and appreciation for their natural environment came with the package.
A big thank you from the Educational Programs team to all those who helped make this week a success!