UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, has teamed up with Japanese electronics giant Sony to create a special exhibition of children’s photography from Tohoku – specifically, the Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima – the prefectures most directly impacted by the Great East Japan Earthquake, one year ago this month.
The photos, now on display at UNICEF’s headquarters in New York, tell a remarkable story of devastation, unity and, ultimately, hope, from the perspective of the children who survived the tragedies, are the result of an ongoing collaboration called ‘EYE SEE’ between UNICEF and Sony dating back to 2006.
Each year, as part of the EYE SEE program, a professional photographer conducts a series of digital photography workshops among children who are experiencing hardship in a particular part of the world, with the goal of helping them document their circumstances and tell their heart-wrenching, yet, inspirational stories to others through the images they capture.
“We are so pleased to work with UNICEF on such an important initiative, and to give these children a voice by equipping them with our cameras and teaching them just how powerful a form of expression digital photography can be,” said Hidemi Tomita, General Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility at Sony Corporation.
Twenty-seven children ranging in age from eight to 15 participated in the EYE SEE TOHOKU workshops, which were conducted in November 2011 by Italian photographer and sociologist Giacomo Pirozzi.
Mr. Pirozzi has worked with UNICEF for more than 20 years as a professional photographer and has devoted a significant portion of his career to conducting photography workshops for children in poverty or faced with other difficulties to help aid the healing process.
With guidance from Mr. Pirozzi, children learned the characteristics of a digital camera and how to use it as a tool before going out into the field to photograph the stories they wished to express.
As part of the experience, they also interviewed their subjects, discussed the images they captured, and shared their experiences with one another.
“The children of Japan showed so much interest, so much passion, and so much willingness to learn photography,” said Mr. Pirozzi.
“Any child faced with this level of stress has gone through so much. I am honored to help give them the opportunity to use photography to reflect on what happened to them.”
For more information visit: www.sony.net • www.unicef.org
Photos courtesy of UNICEF/Sony