2012 I arrived in the end of May and it was still quite cold. This time it was different as the children already knew who I was and what I wanted. But what they didn’t expect is what I brought: the calenders, for each participant some prints and some money from the selling. As we had an exhibition in August, I returned a second time in September to show them pictures from that, the newspaper-writings and some of the big photos which had hung on the walls. Now everyone, who still couldn’t believe what I was up to, was realising what big success the photos of the children have and everyone became very enthusiastic. The feedback was really great as for the Zanskaris it is very new that people from the outside value their work, praise it and even spend money on it and pay for the products. All children in the school are sponsored by german godparents and therefore it is so important, that they see that they are also able to earn money themselves. It was not a lot, but enough to get really big eyes.
The handing-over if this money gave me a lot of headache. The sum was too big to give it into the hands of children who might only buy hundreds of biscuits and Maggi. To give it to the parents was also not a good idea as some of them might only invest it into things the children wouldn’t be happy with. So in the end we came to the conclusion that it would be best that I go together with a respected teacher or the principal, hand it over to the child with the remark of getting something nice and use the rest for education in the presence of the parents to whom it was translated by the teacher.
The photography was very similar to the year before. One camera was passed around in class 8 so that the children took pictures from the daily life. As their main teacher was abent, I also had the chance of a daily teaching-lesson which was very nice. We started a project in taking photos and descriptions of their games. As I don’t know the games it is a real task for them to explain everything in english.
The photoclass from the hostel, consisting of 6 children, continued although 4 members had left and we have got 4 new ones. Again we did trips, but due to the income from the calenders, we could afford a rented car to go to places further away. We took other children, too, which fitted in the car. So apart from photography they got a better knowledge from places in their area. The photography itself was very similar to the year before except that the children were already more used to the cameras and what kind of photos we wanted to have – so I felt that the results increased in quality. We always tried to follow 2 aspects: seriousness and having good results, but also the fun and creativity photography offers you.