Dominican Republic

Spring of 2010

El Refugio
The refuge.Shelter.A safe place.

We are naturally drawn to the people with whom and places where we feel safest. For me, I feel the safest behind my camera. The camera allows me to step back and observe my familiar life from a different perspective. The camera also becomes my looking glass as I approach the unfamiliar, so I may be a better visual learner.

In the city of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, my camera allowed me to enter into four unique worlds, completely unlike my usual safe places.

I spent one on one time with two teens, each from two completely different communities. I also visited two correctional facilities, one for young men and the other for young women.

I got to see the world as Dominican teens see it as they showed me a culture where so many youth are turned to drugs, violence or sexual promiscuity due to pressure from broken homes and a broken government.

When handed a small camera, they were asked to document their everyday lives and share their stories along the way. I saw their communities and churches and met their families and friends. Through their photo-taking, I was introduced to these, their safe places.

I taught them how photography can be a tool in telling other people their stories.

They taught me that they value the same things we value. Family. Friends. Faith.

I showed them that I care about their way of life and that there are safe places where their hearts and stories can be shared.

They showed me how their faith infiltrates every aspect of their lives and the safe places they find in their faith in God.

Quando observido, el color, el amor, el dolor, la verdad y la fe se encuentran en el refugio.

When observed, color, love, hurt, truth and faith can be found in the safe place.


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