Young people from across the island of Dominica, ages 14-32, participated in a National Geographic Photo Camp, a week-long interactive experience where they learned about photography and the power of storytelling. The Photo Camp took place April 6-10 in Dominica and was hosted in collaboration with the locally-based Project CETI (Cetacean Translation Initiative), another National Geographic program and an approved Dominican charity focused on applying advanced machine learning and state-of-the-art robotics to listen to and translate the communication of sperm whales in Dominica.
National Geographic Explorers Malaika Vaz, Ronan Donovan, and Sirachai Arunrugstichai provided mentorship and guidance as the students explored the island from “ridge to reef,” learned the basics of photography, and shared how they feel connected to the island’s ocean and marine ecosystems, wildlife, and culture. Locally-based Dominica Marine Conservation Fellows (DMCF) participated in the event as well as part of the Photo Camp’s partnership with Project CETI.
“Working with our young students was a real pleasure. Besides learning photography and storytelling skills, it was amazing to see how the students pushed themselves outside of their comfort zone during Photo Camp to be more confident, connect with many new community members on their assignments and approach each day with curiosity, empathy and passion,” said National Geographic Explorer Malaika Vaz. “They worked collaboratively and used their photo stories to highlight important issues that impact Dominica—including poverty, the impact of tourism, women’s safety and environmental protection. They also channeled their awe and wonder at the natural landscapes and ecology of their island to create beautiful visuals that drew their audience in during the final show. I am looking forward to following their journey and hearing about the impact they create in the world of photography and beyond in the years to come.”
“At the core of our mission and vision at Project CETI, is creating new opportunities for the youth of Dominica,” said National Geographic Explorer Dr. David Gruber, Founder and Leader of Project CETI. “The participants in Photo Camp have beautiful and important stories to share through their photography and writing.”
As a locally-based nonprofit, Project CETI connected with schools—including Dominica State College—as well as local clubs and local organizations to ask for recommendations for participants for the National Geographic Photo Camp.
National Geographic hosted a virtual Photo Camp in 2021 that included students from Dominica, several of whom returned as mentors and team leaders for the recent in-person Photo Camp with Project CETI. National Geographic has also hosted other Photo Camps in the Caribbean including in Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Cuba, and Barbados.
Following the program, Dominica’s newly trained storytellers and photographers presented their work at a closing ceremony showcasing their stories and photos. Selected images from the final show will later be exhibited at the Project CETI Fellowship Summit this July in Dominica.
ABOUT NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTO CAMP
National Geographic Photo Camp provides a meaningful introduction to photography for young people from around the world. Each Photo Camp is an immersive experience where students receive instruction and guidance from world-class National Geographic Explorers and photographers, build skills and confidence, explore the world around them, and develop deep connections with each other. The goal of the program is to inspire the next generation of storytellers, and support them in sharing their experiences and perspectives. Follow @NGPhotoCamp on Instagram to see more!