Sunday, June 19, 2011

Faces of Literacy, Voices of Courage

I haven't been updating this nearly enough as I should be, but there's so much I want
to share! I've been looking back through some old stuff so I'm gonna make a whole bunch of new posts with older stuff that maybe you haven't seen!

By now this photograph is about two years old! I kind of forgot about it, but it really was part of something very special. During my semester in Maine at MECA, a group of photo majors including myself worked with the Literacy Volunteers of Maine on a project called Faces of Literacy, Voices of Courage. The Literacy Volunteers are an organization that help adults throughout Maine overcome illiteracy. With personal tutors and group classes they assist them in areas ranging from basic reading skills to accomplishments such as earning a G.E.D.

For the Faces of Literacy, Voices of Courage project we traveled throughout the state of Maine, meeting the people that the Literacy Volunteers have helped and took portraits of them. Along with a video documentary and each individual's success story, our photographs became part of a traveling exhibition around Maine in efforts to raise awareness about illiteracy and to encourage those who struggle to seek assistance.

I traveled to Rockland, ME, and had the privilege to meet George who through the Literacy Volunteers was able to successfully apply for and obtain a commercial driver's license and a hazardous materials endorsement. With these qualifications George was able to get a job working for a private construction company and support his family. My portrait of George was used heavily for the promotion for the exhibition, and appeared on numerous web and print media.


Doug, George's tutor

On the day of the shoot I had some extra time to photograph Doug, because George ended up being about 45 minutes late. George was so excited about the shoot he took a detour to his work to ask his boss if he could borrow his HUGE truck for the photograph! Although he tried to hide it it was quite obvious how proud George was of what he accomplished, but he did explain how important it was to him that others who struggle with literacy to seek help. Meeting George and being a part of this project was truly an amazing and humbling experience.

Unfortunately the exhibition went underway after I had already left Maine, and I was unable to attend any of the museums it stopped at. for more information on the Faces of Literacy, Voices of Courage project and the Literacy Volunteers of Maine, check this out.

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