Category Archives: Volunteering Latin America
It’s time to give another shout out to all the wonderful people who helped make my Amazon photo project dream come true.
In June 2012 I launched a crowdfunding campaign on Pozible.com to invite supporters to be part of my photo project to create Portraits of the Disappearing Amazon. The response was overwhelming and as a result I was able to spend two months visiting and photographing ten different tribes in the Amazon of Peru, an amazing experience which I will never forget.
This week I’m posting out the final Thank Yous to supporters of the project, including prints of the portraits I created in the jungle. I’m so looking forward to getting my hands on the Photo Books that I’ve had published as gifts for the major supporters, which are in the post to me right now. I can’t wait to hand them over in the next few days.
Muchisima Gracias Amigos!
If you would like to see photographs from the project, please go to my New Work Folio on my website.
Dreams are worth chasing.
It was June 2012. I had a dream to travel into the depths of the Amazon and photograph tribes that I’d heard may disappear within my lifetime. If I didn’t follow my dream, perhaps no one would capture images of these people, whose cultures had fascinated me since I was a little girl. Perhaps no one would create a visual memory of their traditional way of life for the future generations to remember and appreciate.
I had no contacts and no leads, but something within me told me I could do it, and that I had to do it. I committed myself to the project and spent the following 2 months exploring the Amazon of Peru in search of tribes to photograph in their traditional dress to create a visual documentation of how life looks, or looked, for peoples whose traditional way of life is being slowly, or in many cases, rapidly forgotten.
I hope to return to the Amazon soon to continue encountering and photographing the vast and diverse tribal cultures that live within the mysterious jungle. This project turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Dreams are worth chasing.
Here is a tiny sample of the mountain of photographs I was fortunate to capture during my adventures. I hope you enjoy them. There are more on the way.
Here are the first two behind the scenes videos shot by my assistant/partner James. Check back here for additional videos in the coming months.
A photo essay of women weavers in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, shot for Vision Guatemala.
Lake Atitlan is a magical part of Guatemala that draws many tourists who want to experience its reputed energy. But for many women and families living in this area, life is tough and money is very scarce. I shot this photo essay for Vision Guatemala, a small non-profit organisation that is working to help women find a source of income, offering micro-finance, training and community development. In doing so, their tradition of weaving beautiful textiles can be kept alive.
Being fortunate to enter their homes and witness this amazing art gave me a deep appreciation for their skill in weaving. The women I met have amazing talent and beautiful spirits.
I was looking for a place to stop and do a bit of work and I wanted to make it a kind of retreat, to get my creative juices flowing. Lake Atitlan in Guatemala is the perfect place for a photography and writing retreat. I spent time at some beautiful hotels in Panajachel, San Pedro and San Macos – three different villages, all tranquil in their own way. I was doing work for hotels while also working on my own projects.
Here are a couple of shots from one beautiful sunrise I spent in San Pedro la Laguna.
Lake Atitlan has risen dramatically this year and buildings, shelters and lakeside recreational areas such as the one above have become submerged. Some of the local Mayans think the rising water is related to The 2012 Shift, some just blame the rain.
These are the traditional fishing boats used by Mayan fishermen each morning on Lake Atitlan. They spear the fish with reeds then take their catch home or sell them in their villages. It’s beautiful to watch and a wonderful example of slow, simple living.
To see more of my travel photography, check out my website www.AliciaFoxPhotography.com
This week I have been shooting photos of women weavers in Guatemala, for an organisation called Vision Guatemala, a grass roots NGO that provides micro finance and support to women around Lake Atitlan and Guatemala.
Above: Cecilia is weaving a table runner in the style typical to San Pedro. She spends a few hours weaving each day in between cleaning and making tortillas which she sells to her neighbours at lunch and dinner time. In Guatemala tortillas sell at 3 for Q1, which is about 13 cents. When she finishes weaving after 3-5 days, the table runner will sell for about $4.50.
Camera Settings: 1/50sec, f/4, ISO 400, 28mm lens
Above: The weaving loom, used by Guatemalan women.
Camera Settings(Above): 1/50sec, f/2.8, ISO 800, 50mm lens
Camera Settings(Above): 1/50sec, f/2.8, ISO 400, 50mm lens
Camera Settings(Above): 1/60sec, f/4, ISO 320, 24mm lens, flash (bounced off wall)
Camera Settings (Above): 1/60sec, f/4, ISO 400, 65mm lens
Take a look around my blog to see more of my NGO & Humanitarian photos. I’ll have a new folio on my new website dedicated to the humanitarian projects I’ve been shooting over here in Central and South America.
EOS magazine is a great photography publication coming out of the UK, focused on the technical side of photography and specifically of Canon EOS cameras.
I wanted to write an account of my experiences volunteering in Latin America, thinking it would appeal to EOS readers. The editor Angela August agreed and offered me a two page spread in the Nov 2011 issue. When the article went to print, it ended up as four pages.
I was really pleased to receive an email from Angela saying
“Very many thanks for your contribution. I must compliment you on your fantastic pics, sparkling, well-targeted copy and generally getting everything to me on time and in sensible order. You made my job very easy!”
I put a lot of effort in to making the article as polished as possible, so it’s so nice to hear I could make Angela’s job easier.
Here is a copy of the article.
I love getting feedback, so please leave any of your comments here on email me at email@example.com
My journey through Latin America has taken me further north to the wonderful land of Mexico. I had high expectations for this country and Mexico has already exceeded those expectations. The delicious food, the welcoming characters, the rainbow of colours across the variations of traditional dress and the remains of a deep history. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for me.
I will be in Mexico for August and September 2011, followed by some time in The USA, before turning around and heading back south through Central America. Please check the Travel Plan tab at the top of this blog for more information.
I look forward to sharing the journey with you on my blog and Facebook pages.
I have just finished running a 1 week photography workshop with 12 wonderful children, through Empowerment International in Granada, Nicaragua.
Empowerment International’s mission is to build educated and productive communities to stop the cycle of poverty before it transfers to another generation. Their vision is for every child to go to school and achieve the level of education they desire, which is no easy task in a country where 50% of children who begin first grade drop out before fifth grade to help their families who may live on less than $1 per day.
Volunteering with Opportunity Nicaragua was an wonderful experience that allowed me a glimpse into the lives of many hardworking artisanas and farmers around Granada, who despite adversity, can go through life with a smile. The experience gave me perspective on how tough life is for so many people throughout the world, and how fortunate I am to live the life I have.
Here are a few of my favorite shots from the experience.
We’re stoked to see our article in Canada’s Concrete Wave Magazine.
These beautiful kids got their own skate ramp in their dusty shanty town in Peru.
Words by James Galletly
Photos by Alicia Fox
James and I have an article in the latest Concrete Wave magazine. Check it out if you live in Canada (and some other lucky countries) or check out the story online at /www.concretewavemagazine.com/
I have been living in Peru for three months now. I have a nice little apartment, with running water (until 3pm) and everything I need to live comfortably. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how thousands of people around me are struggling to get by every day.
This week I visited the ACJ Project, which is working to improve the lives of families living and working on a city dump. These men, women and children spend their days sorting through rubbish to sell to recyclers for less money per week then what I spent on a Chai laté in Japan.
I stepped out of an ancient VW combi and watched the dump dwellers sort through garbage outside their home. I felt compelled to walk over and talk to them. As I approached, the father waved to me and I felt encouraged. I had been told that the people were shy and that I had to be discreet when taking photos. I didn’t want to offend anyone by pulling out my camera.
I walked closer and saw the little boy crying to his Mum. I pulled out of my bag a small koala that my Mum had sent me, to give to Peruvian children. ‘Tengo un regalla para tu’ (I have a present for you), I said in my best Spanish. He took the toy and the conversation opened up. De donde eres….cuantos anos tienes….
I asked the little boy his name. Ronaldo told me he is six years old and I told him that his is tall for his age. I showed him how to use the little koala and I clipped it onto his finger.
I was a bit afraid that these kids who literally live on piles or rubbish, would be jealous of his toy and beg me for a present. But they just seemed happy that Ronaldo got something and asked me for nothing.
Before I knew it, the children were asking me to take photos of them. Even Ronaldo had wiped away his tears and was waiting for his photo to be taken. Mama arranged the niños into a row, before returning to her work of smashing bottles into a bag. She was injured years ago and now cannot walk well. She seemed proud of the recycling job that she was doing.
The kids loved having their photo taken and soon wanted to have a go at the camera. I held it for them (it’s so heavy) and taught them how to take photos, helping them to reach their tiny fingers around the camera to the shutter button.
I may not have had much impact on these lives, but they certainly touched mine. The adults have been living on the dump for 30 years. I felt like there are certainly a lot of people out there who really struggle through life. With living on a dump comes injuries, diseases, uncomfortable living conditions and a feeling of alienation that I cannot even comprehend. These people are not citizens. They do not exist on any records. They live in their own world, a world that I briefly brushed up against before returning to mine.
If they taught me anything, it’s that you should never be ashamed of what you are. We are all the equal people doing our best to get through life, and if we can do it with a smile then we are doing okay.
For more information on the ACJ Project:
There is a new mini ramp in the little town where we were living in Peru. Two months ago, it hadn’t even been thought of, but thanks to the chance meeting of 2 super keen travellers – Ollie and Hanes, the kids up the hill who live with next to nothing, now have a skate ramp to call their own.
It has been amazing to see the progress of the ramp from an inspired idea, to pieces of wood, to a playground in the desert village where kids can’t wait to play at 3pm every day. It took just over one month to see the kids ripping on the ramp, and 5 of them are already dropping in.
The blog for the skate ramp is: http://introductiontotheproject.blogspot.com/
While I was San Francisco recently, I went to a screening of the amazing documentary ‘The Cove’ which exposed the brutal mass slaughter of whales in Japan. www.SaveJapanDolphins.org
As a surfer and vegetarian, I was horrified by what was depicted in the movie, yet moved by the progress that has been made by the people standing up for the dolphins, especially Ric O’Barry (trainer of Flipper cum eco-activist) and the Sea Shepard crew, who risk their lives on regular occasions.
This morning as I walked along my now local beach here in Peru, I was shocked to come across the head and tail of a dolphin. The decapitated animal looked as if was still smiling – just as they do at Seaworld and other marine parks.
These photos will be used by an amazing organisation in Peru, Mundo Azul, which is working to protect Peru’s beautiful cetaceans. Killing dolphins is illegal in Peru, however this is rarely enforced.