Snapshot project: DA NANG
ABOUT THE PROJECT
During the Spring of 2019, 6 incredible students learned to tell their stories through 100cameras Snapshot Da Nang in Da Nang, Vietnam. In partnership with Central Deaf Services (CDS), a local non-profit organization provides quality sign language instruction and education for those who are deaf. CDS, a sign language based training center, is the first of its kind in Central Vietnam, offering one-on-one tutoring, group classes, social activities, and educational outreaches to surrounding areas, as well as a program for deaf primary children and also older deaf children who have never been to school. The center is accessible to deaf and hard of hearing individuals of all ages, as well as their families. In addition, they provide sign language training for hearing people who work with the deaf or are interested in being able to communicate with the deaf. CDS is a bilingual program — children receive access to spoken/written Vietnamese and Vietnamese sign language, which encourages language acquisition during the critical early years of a child’s life.
For majority of their lives, these students did not have access to learning Vietnamese Sign Language (VSL), and therefore not experiencing a comprehensive and effective form of communication which limited their ability to interact with those around them. The world to them is bright and glowing and reflective of their thoughtfulness, intelligence, and talents. Yet, without the ability to hear, many of them have spent their lives isolated - without an education, excluded from activities, left out of conversations with their friends and family. Photography as a tool for processing and expression provided each student with a new and vivid outlet to articulate their unique perspectives and understandings of the world in a way that all can experience and find connection.
100% of proceeds from the students' photo sales will go directly back to their community. Based on the current needs of the organization, the proceeds raised will help fund much needed educational supplies for the kids and their peers.
ABOUT THE SNAPSHOT PROJECT LEADER
As a professional photographer for over 9 years, it has been the job of Snapshot Project Leader, Kelly Johnson, to document other people’s lives by sharing both individual and community stories.
This was Kelly’s second go-round facilitating a Snapshot Project, and she hopes it will not be her last! Leading SPs has been an incredible opportunity to combine her background in social work, international NGO photography and teaching storytelling with her desire to walk alongside individuals as they unearth the value in their story, widen their perspective of the stories around them, and improve their ability to effectively photograph and share these stories with others.
Because this was Kelly’s first time working in a non-hearing community, leading a SP at Central Deaf Services came with a massive learning curve. Other than the obvious challenges of interpretation and general cultural differences, Kelly felt it was vital to remaining receptive and soft - soaking in all that her students were willing to share about life as a teenager who is deaf living in Vietnam. The CDS community flawlessly enveloped her into their family- style fold, gifting her a VSL name and processing their stories with bravery and honesty. The CDS students uplift the daily joys and treasures that lie beneath, or maybe even above, words - the things of this earth that offer safe spaces and solace for us all - the rivers, the cows, mangos, and dancing to no music. Kelly plans to stay connected to her friends at CDS and to pursue learning VSL herself.
STUDENT IMAGE GALLERY
Follow us on social media to see images from the field as captured by the Snapshot Da Nang team and the student photographers.