Life Through Our Students’ Lenses

Photography is a universal language. Images speak for themselves and transcend cultural, geographical, religious, and language barriers. A single photograph can tell a complete story and capture the imagination of millions around the world.

In 2017, we piloted UnExposed, our six-week in-depth photography education and mentoring program in Athens, Greece. This past spring, the program was renewed for a second session and in June 2018, we were proud to launch our third UnExposed course and welcome a new class of youth who have been forcibly displaced. Before beginning the program, most of our students had never used a DSLR camera. Although they learn about theory, composition, artistry, and technique through weeks of intensive classes, our goal is not only to teach them photography. We also seek to give them a sense of dignity and provide them with a tool through which they can express themselves and give us a look into their world. As we’ve recognized a distinct lack of stories and photos coming from refugees themselves in the media, our aim is to return the voice of storytelling to those who have experienced forced migration.

We all have something to tell the world. Photography is the creative medium through which people are empowered to tell their own stories their own way. By exploring their surroundings with their cameras, they can document the world as they experience it themselves. Photography gives them a sense of freedom and purpose – they have the power to control what’s in the frame, capture their visual reality, and freeze a moment in time that they can then share with others. In addition to documenting their experiences and communicating their stories, photography helps creative youth define their identity, as well as find joy, passion, hope, and self-confidence during a difficult time in their lives.

Our previous UnExposed students each have a dedicated online gallery that showcases some of their best photographic works and allows us to picture the world through their eyes. Their captivating photos tell stories of resilience and strength, of human connection, and of beauty in everyday moments. Photos from our newest cohort of students will be coming soon, so stay tuned!

Bianca Settino