We had the chance to connect with Angela Popplewell from 100cameras to learn more about her, her organization 100cameras, and the global "World Perspective Day" initiative.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where is home, what got you interested in visual communication, story, and the non-profit sphere?
I was born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida and stayed in town to attend Florida State University because, well in all candidness, it had been my 8th grade dream to be a baton twirler on the university’s highly competitive team. I truly loved Tallahassee and everything it taught me. Many parts of me had wished that I could grow old there, but my life up to that point had embraced me in such a way that I knew I needed to move forward and encounter new experiences. And so I bought a one-way ticket to NYC about a month after graduation, and ten years later with an incredible amount of life-lesson-experiences and only-in-NY moments, Brooklyn is now considered home with my amazing husband and one year old son, Teddy.
What attracted me most to joining the founding team of 100cameras was the community development empowerment piece and the opportunity to teach the importance of storytelling by giving kids the opportunity to do so worldwide. Prior to starting this model, I had worked in the community development sector in a few countries in my late teenage years and experienced the great hope for what can happen when an individual is empowered to create something that provides for themselves and others. Furthermore, I had experienced over and over again how almost anyone I met just wanted to tell me their story – to share their narratives, filled with pieces about their families, their long days of work (or why they couldn’t get work), their likes and dislikes, where they’ve been, and where they wanted to go. Every story was important and it felt as though they were sharing it with me in hopes that I would share it with someone else. It gripped me to realize that those living within a community we would often label “marginalized” or as “living in poverty” have always had these stories to tell, and they have always had voices to share them – they just perhaps haven’t had the platform to be heard outside of their concentric circles or to participate in the global narrative. This realization forever changed me. To be a part of helping teach kids young that they can provide important needs such as medical, educational, or lifeline supplies by sharing their stories through photography will always be one of the greatest honors of my life.
What were the origins and inspiration behind #WorldPerspectiveDay?
The entire mission of 100cameras is founded upon the power of perspective. We empower kids around the world with the opportunity to learn that their stories matter and to help explore their narratives in the larger context of a global world. We teach our students how to share their perspectives through photography and then sell their images, empowering them to provide much needed educational, lifeline, and medical supplies for themselves and other community members. We have completed projects across the globe and have recently launched our Snapshot Project platform that equips photographers worldwide to implement their own project with a community they care about.
World Perspective Day was inspired directly from our students as they have become our teachers in so many ways.
You see, the students we work with have all survived traumatic injustices, yet, they still seem to embrace life through the wonderment and awe that is seemingly found only through a kid's lens.
Through both writing and teaching our unique photojournalism course, our souls have been forever changed and awakened by watching kids not only embrace learning how to share their perspectives but dive into the depths of processing who they are because of all they've learned from their past and expressing their hope for who they want to be in their future.
Our students have taught us to recognize that the context of our narrative is woven into a larger thread. And that when we can each allow our perspectives to choose hope in our interactions instead of being gripped by the fears that can overwhelm or divide us, we can reach our full potential as an individual and as a human race.
We have been humbled as these students continually teach us how to embrace that their narrative isn't defined by their current circumstances or how others may define them. Instead, they choose to recognize and accept that they are a part of a larger context and their role in the bigger picture is integral. They accept that their perspective may be unique and different -- and that is not only okay, it is necessary and outstanding. This gives them great freedom to lean into the thought -- the hope -- that they can be a part of the greater good at large.
We believe in the great hope for what can happen when an individual is empowered to create something that provides hope for themselves and others. Over and over again, almost everyone we have met traveling and in the field has just wanted to tell us their story – to share their narratives, filled with pieces about their families, their long days of work (or why they couldn’t get work), their likes and dislikes, where they’d been, and where they wanted to go. Each story we have ever heard along the way in our individual journeys is important. It has felt as though the storytellers were sharing it with us in hopes that we would share it with someone else.
It gripped us early on to realize that each person on earth has always had a story to tell, and they have always had voices to share them – they just perhaps haven’t had the platform to be heard outside of their concentric circles or to participate in the global narrative.
Our team has committed to being merely a band of participants that join alongside others by bringing an opportunity to share their perspectives alongside a community of individuals. This has awakened us. This model of empowerment has not only changed our students' lives, but ours as well.
How can we all get involved on March 30?
Photography is a universal language. An image captures thoughts, emotions, and needs when words often times need assistance. With all the platforms available today online, there are many powerful and creative outlets to share an image that expresses your everyday life.
World Perspective Day seeks to be an online event that encourages people from all walks of life to see the world through another person's eyes. Using the hashtag #WorldPerspectiveDay, this moment in time will celebrate how different and how similar we are -- to honor, embrace, and foster understanding across borders. This inaugural event seeks to build a day that celebrates what it means to be human.
The images showcased online through the hashtag will become a stunning, collective narrative that portrays the diversity, complexity, and journey of the human race. The World Perspective Day platform seeks to capture a rounded worldview that embodies how each perspective can experience hope, hardship, disappointment, joy, hurt, excitement, frustration, or anger, etc through images. This day seeks to empower the beauty and strength that lies therein the eyes and hearts found behind each lens.
It will take a whole world to create this day. To join, just follow these 3 steps:
1. Post an image that represents your perspective and how you view the world.
- Post your image(s) to Instagram, Facebook, VSCO, Twitter or another social media platform you love.
- Write a caption that describes why that narrative means something of personal relevance and expression in your life.
2. On March 30th, tag with #WorldPerspectiveDay to join the global narrative.
- Tagged images will automatically feed into this website’s online gallery.
- Share online and offline with your community, and invite them to join you.
3. Then, follow the hashtag to see life through someone else’s eyes.
- We ask each participant to commit time after World Perspective Day to scroll through the hashtag to explore posts from across the world. We ask everyone to be open to allowing the content shared to become a tool to help educate, listen, respect, and celebrate all the individual threads that compose the collective narrative.
You also lead a great organization called 100cameras that's doing some really exciting things with kids and photography, what's next for you and your team there?
100cameras is a non-profit organization based in New York City that teaches kids around the world that their stories matter and helps them explore their narratives in the larger context of a global world. We teach our students how to share their perspectives through photography and then sell their images, empowering them to provide much needed educational, lifeline, and medical supplies for themselves and other community members.
We have completed projects across the globe and have recently launched our Snapshot Project & Workshop platforms that equip photographers worldwide to implement their own project with a community they care about. Learn more at www.100cameras.org!
Follow on our social channels to hear announcement for our next big project in the Middle East along with info for our upcoming gala event in NYC this spring. And just in general for beautiful and inspiring images taken by our students worldwide.
Where online can we find you, 100cameras, and follow along on #WorldPerspectiveDay?
Learn more about World Perspective Day and the amazing launch partners at www.worldperspectiveday.com and follow the hashtag #WorldPerspectiveDay across all social channels.