On November 9th, we celebrated our 10th Anniversary with a big party with more than 800 guests.
Here is what we said in this very special day:
Before I begin, I would like to add Luciana Garcia Padin and Mercedes Saloña from Ideadas to the thank you list. They are friends of ph15 and absolutely responsible for giving all us the opportunity in being here tonight. And of course thank you to Juan Palomino who is with us in managing.
I would like to make it clear that Miriam Priotti, the director of ph15 that of course knows of this, presently owes one hundred percent of her attention to the new arrival Vicente. Therefore it is my turn to be standing in front of you as representative of everyone in ph15.
Since its inception, our Foundation has proposed to offer a tool for expression to kids and youth from different communities in our country. It began with a group of curious kids from Ciudad Oculta that chose photography to tell about what they felt, thought, and wished for.
From there more got inspired. They wanted to get more technical tools, they wanted more training to find work, they wanted to collaborate with their neighbors, friends and family, they wanted to TEACH.
Since the beginning they identified themselves as being part of something and they appropriated a project in which they have a voice and a vote.
After 10 years of uninterrupted work, we can safely say that Ph15 began almost by coincidence. From a simple gesture, from the voluntary capacity to share time and a space of photographer Martin Rosenthal his students and a group of volunteers.
That elemental spark at arm’s reach of any person who wishes to give one portion of their energy and capacity to make the world a better place today has the excuse of 10, to stand by what they believe in. In this time 450 kids came through our regular workshops, some of them became professional photographers and give classes to new generations of kids that hopefully will continue the circle.
Our work has also traveled the country and the world. We carried out shows and workshops in more than 40 communities in Argentina and the photos (and some of their authors) arrived with the exhibitions and programs to the United States, Spain, Sweden, England, etc.
Ph15 is made by photographers. Our job and motivation is to detain for an instant the movement of the world to find the sense and reason inside of places that sometimes go unnoticed. One click allows us to get together, share, express ourselves and relate to each other.
The workshops are the extension of the battlefield. To transmit what we know in order to receive in exchange images that surprise us, excite us and make us think. The images that you can see here today exhibited is only a small fragment from those produced y ph15.
This year we succeeded in defining the vision of our organization: “a society that appropriates art as a tool for social change”. It sounds utopian, but that objective is what keeps us going and we hope that it will help us to go on many more years.
For all of us, ph15 is a powerful idea that has succeeded in feeding itself. Some of us put our daily effort to keep it alive, but those whom in one way or another collaborate so that it keeps going are innumerable.
Even though ph15 found a vision and a mission, our job has never been automatic. Every action that we realize, like a photo well taken, requires will, brainpower and energy.
Ph15 is made by the impulse of whom work here, of the people and institutions that help us with donations, of whom they share their want to work and their knowledge, of the kids that keep on coming every Saturday to show the photos that they took and of their families that support and accompany them.
We are proud of being in some form the ones that direct this impulse and that pride is in itself the motivation to get together at the office, to organize ourselves, to develop the photos, to make copies, to plan and give the workshops and to keep on looking for and sometimes to find ways to survive.
Since my 9 years in ph15 I can talk about many things and shared experiences. Many joys and sorrows. Many successes and some frustrations. I have shared pregnancies, births, amorous relationships, separations, jokes, joys and huge dramas with those who are and have been my students and colleagues.
The phrase that unites us here today is “10 years seeing the good where everyone sees the bad”. Like all slogans, it is simple, that is the good part and at the same time the bad part as well. It is difficult to explain what the good is and what is the bad and even harder to narrow down what each of us sees.
That is why everyone that is here and has been in ph make an effort to give visibility to a place that is sentenced to invisibility and relegation from its same name: Hidden City. The slogan is sharp and looks to fight words with words. But also it is a bit unjust with everyone that is here today, your presence shows that we are many that have this same outlook.
This gathering in which today we are a part of is a little act of communion, it is a basic demonstration that we all form part of the same society and that photography and artistic expressions in general are powerful tools that give us back our identity and help to find ourselves.
To share that spirit every day in the office, in the classrooms, in the trips with the whole ph 15 team is what allowed us to keep the project going for such a long time. It is a firm conviction that art is a tool for social change and it is the one that we chose and appropriated. That just like many of us, all of us, we can see the good where some prefer not to see, many can also appropriate themselves of this tool and make that change possible.
I could spend many hours mentioning people that have helped us during the course of these fundamental years for ph15 to be a reality. From our families and friends to businesses, organizations, professionals, private donors and volunteers. Hopefully in the next anniversary there will be many more people to thank because they are people and institutions that realized that for change to happen it is not enough to make statements alone, to make the world a better place is at arm’s reach of each of you."