Who We Are
Photography Without Borders is a collaborative art program founded by Philadelphia-based photographer/educator Tony Rocco in 2010, which is designed to engage children around the world in multi-disciplinary learning and photography-based cultural exchanges. The goal is to develop and inspire young leaders by broadening their exposure to educational and cultural experiences outside their borders.
The PWB Program guides children in learning technical media skills and critical thinking skills. The process begins with traditional black and white photography using pinhole cameras made out of recycled objects, and progresses to digital photography and video media skills. Along with the technical aspects, the children are taught how to create photographs that have deep personal and cultural meaning, and how to use photography as a means of telling and sharing stories. The PWB program provides a unique opportunity for students to explore their homes and community while giving other students a glimpse into their lives and culture.
Students are partnered with an international student enrolled in the PWB program, and they share their photographs and personal stories. Using a scripted curriculum, the children gain an understanding and appreciation of their partner's culture as well as their own. Articulating their stories helps improve communication and leadership skills, as well as their skills in photography. A dialog begins as children from different geographic regions or countries exchange photographs, videos, and stories over the Internet, creating an entirely new level of learning. The PWB program culminates with a trip to meet the student’s in-country partner and create a photography and media project together.
One unique component of the PWB Program is that the groups are designed to eventually be self-sustaining. Students remain connected to the program as their roles change and they begin mastering the skills. They are taught the importance of passing on what they have learned to a new generation of students. The students become the teachers and everyone is a learner.
PWB currently runs programs in North Philadelphia and Colombia but is looking to expand to other countries.