By: Mark Lapin

Program Gives Camera Equipment To Foreign Photojournalists

(Photo District News)
World Press Photo has launched an international program to put
professional camera equipment in the hands of Third World
photojournalists. The “Cameras for Colleagues” initiative was
announced in March at an event in the Mumm Winery in Napa,

The champagne reception raised $2,000 in seed money for the new
program. One of the donors was Phil Bronstein, executive editor
of The San Francisco Chronicle, who also took part in a
high-powered panel discussion on the “Future of Social
Documentary Photography.” Other participants included Lara Jo
Regan, winner of this year’s World Press Photo of the Year,
Pulitzer Prize winner Kim Komenich, dedicated documentarian Ken
Light and Wayne Miller, who was part of Edward Steichen’s Navy
Combat Photo Unit.

“Cameras for Colleagues,” run by World Press Photo – the
Amsterdam-based non-profit group dedicated to photojournalism
– is a pragmatic effort to help photographers in developing
countries. From South Africa to Kosovo, where access to photo
equipment is sometimes limited, local photojournalists face a
daily struggle to document stories of global importance.

Arpad Gerecsey, director of World Press Photo, says that the idea
for the camera exchange program came to him because of two
contrasting encounters. The first occurred in Peru, where he met
two dedicated Peruvian photojournalists. Between them, they had
one camera, one lens and one roll of film per day to capture
events in their turbulent country.

The second encounter took place in the offices of the Los
Angeles Times. Gerecsey was talking to an editor when a staff
member walked by pushing a shopping cart loaded with used
cameras. “I asked what the newspaper intended to do with all
those cameras,” recalls Gerecsey. “The editor told me, ‘Well,
it’s too much trouble to sell them and they’re too expensive to
throw out, so we’re just going to lock them up in a closet
somewhere and forget about them.'”

Photographers in Bangladesh, Mali, Macedonia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam,
India and the Southern African countries of Angola, Mozambique,
Mamibia and Botswana are especially in need of equipment. Working
cameras are preferred, but all cameras, accessories, flashes or
camera bags suited for professional work will be accepted.
Volunteers who know how to refurbish used equipment are urgently
needed. Interested photographers should email

Cash donations will help World Press Photo get the equipment to
the photographers. Checks should be made out to: World Press
Photo USA Foundation Inc., Care of Hans van Breukhoven Rabo Bank
Netherlands, 245 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10167-0062. Those who
would like to volunteer money, time or services can also call
(707) 935-1166.

Photo District News is a sister publication of E&P.

Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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