What to Expect as a Volunteer at the Fair Trade Photography Project

A Group of Insanely Talented Young Photographers:

Coming into the project, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in regards to the teenagers’ prior knowledge of photography. It’s safe to say that these teenagers went above and beyond any of my preconceptions of their abilities.It was really cool to see the ideas that they would come up with and them pushing them to take those ideas further. Their maturity created a more collaborative relationship rather than a teacher-student one, and that is something I really enjoyed.


A Close-knit Community that Drinks A LOT of Juice:

If you’re a fan of homemade juice, look no further than the Fair Trade Photography Project in Huanchaco. After every class, we all sit down to drink juice, eat fruit, and talk to one another. This was one of my favorite parts of the project because it was a time when I could really get to know all of the teenagers, and we could just joke around and have fun together.



Sore Arms:

After the lesson or presentation at the beginning of the week, the teenagers go out to take photos of the given topic or theme. Many times this involves holding objects in the air in order to get the desired background. For those of us with no upper body strength (me), it can be a bit of a workout to hold up a clothesline or some pinwheels. The good news is that you can skip that pesky weight training while in Huanchaco and still gain some upper arm definition.


Puppies (if you’re lucky):

One of my favorite themes that we worked on in at the project was animals, which turned into a month of taking pictures of puppies. Who doesn’t love a puppy on a greeting card? It might be a little tricky to put a party hat on a two-month old puppy, but it was worth it at the end of class for the photos and puppy snuggle time.



Oodles of Creativity:

As a part of every presentation of a new theme or topic that I did, I put a bunch of examples of greeting cards and photos that fit into that theme or topic. It was so much fun to see how the teenagers would see one or two ideas and transform them into an incredibly creative and interesting greeting card. Their collective creativity was one of the things that made them such a great group to work with.



One of the Best Experiences of Your Life:

Working on the photography project was the best way I could have imagined spending three and a half months of my summer, and I could not have asked for a better group of photographers and supervisors. Although prepping for the classes was a lot of work, it never felt like work because the project was genuinely enjoyable and fun., I actually improved my own photography and learned a lot of useful skills through giving classes on photography. The community at my project made it such a special and fun place to work.




“Working on the Fair Trade Photography Project was the best way I could have imagined spending three and a half months of my summer.  I actually improved my own photography and learned a lot of useful skills through giving classes on photography”.


This blog was written by Julia Tallant.

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