Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon

by Center for Amazon Community Ecology
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Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon
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Project Report | Mar 19, 2024
Artisans using and shining in the light

By Campbell Plowden | Executive Director and Project Leader

Last month we had a unique workshop in Nauta where 22 artisans from seven communities learned to take attractive pictures of their crafts and each other with their cell phone cameras so they could begin marketing their products in new ways.

The four-day session was led by a pair of veteran photographers who have experience instructing children and people from rurual communities in the basics of photography. They covered topics like lighting and composition and framing shots in close, medium (portrait), and wider (scenery) ranges. The artisans worked in small groups to complete short assignments and then chose the best shots to share with the large group. One the first night, we projected these images on a sheet so the workshop leaders and artisans could critique their work.

The next day, the artisans showed great ingenuity placing crafts in natural settings, practiced studio techniques, and used a white cardboard and aluminum foil reflector to optimize the light on their subject. We mixed in some community games to help the artisans get more comfortable directing their comrades as the photographer and posing with their crafts. On the second night, the women relaxed with a fun evening of dancing and karaoke.

Three women involved with the Miss Peru (Loreto) and Miss Tourism pageants joined the workshop on the third morning and gave the artisans valuable tips on how to show off their crafts in creative ways. The last two days were dedicated to setting up and taking shots that showed the harvesting, processing, dyeing, and weaving chambira palm fiber into finished products. One artisan set up an iconic shot with artisan hands surrounding a rainbow of colored chambira. The workshop leaders then chose 15 of the hundreds of images taken during the workshop for an exhibition hosted by the Ministry of Culture Amazon Museum in Iquitos.

The exhibition opening brought together dozens of artisans, reporters, non-profit representatives, government officials, and interested members of the public. Three artisans gave brief talks about their experience in the photo workshop and being at the exhibition. All of the artisans were very proud to display their crafts to a broad audience and show they could also take interesting and quality images of their crafts and how they were made.

The Miss Peru models and five girls from an Iquitos modeling school did a runway show with a diverse collection of chambira bags, belts, baskets, bottle carriers, earrings, and trivets. They were joined by Bora native artisan Tarsy from Brillo Nuevo who radiated confidence as she walked around the fountain in the museum central patio. She later said she didn’t even feel nervous following the lead of professional models with dozens of people focusing their eyes and cameras on her.

Overall, this event felt like a step forward into a new realm. Many artisans and Amazon Ecology have been quietly working together in the backwoods of Peru for almost two decades. It felt really good to sense that our collaboration has progressed to a level where it can shine in the light and gain additional support.

Artisan Marianela posing with woven bird
Artisan Marianela posing with woven bird
Artisan photographing an artisan with woven bird
Artisan photographing an artisan with woven bird
Artisan photographing a bag with leaf background
Artisan photographing a bag with leaf background
Artisan photographing craft in studio conditions
Artisan photographing craft in studio conditions
Artisan photographing artisan with reflector
Artisan photographing artisan with reflector
Artisans reviewing their photos in night session
Artisans reviewing their photos in night session
Artisans playing cooperative chair game
Artisans playing cooperative chair game
Artisan photographing chambira weaving
Artisan photographing chambira weaving
Miss Tourism gives modeling tips to artisans
Miss Tourism gives modeling tips to artisans
Artisan hands around colored chambira
Artisan hands around colored chambira
Artisan Doris with photo of her at exhibition
Artisan Doris with photo of her at exhibition
Artisan Claudia displaying her crafts at exhibit
Artisan Claudia displaying her crafts at exhibit
Artisan Tarsy modeling with crafts at exhibition
Artisan Tarsy modeling with crafts at exhibition

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Organization Information

Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Location: Lemoyne, Pennsylvania - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Amazon Ecology
Project Leader:
Campbell Plowden
Dr.
Lemoyne , Pennsylvania United States
$169,934 raised of $200,000 goal
 
1,303 donations
$30,066 to go
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