Update: The Darkroom Project

darkroomalex

While it’s not complete, The Darkroom Project website is finally updated.  I still have to add our most recent project with the Roma in Slovakia, as well as the Guatemala project from last year, but we’ll take progress where we can get it.

A few weeks ago, I asked Matthew if he still wanted me as part of the project.  It feels like he is in the trenches, working with Clubhouse in Indiana, and traveling to Slovakia while I’m grounded in Guatemala, spinning my wheels, losing focus.  I love my job.  I love my students.  I love my staff.  I know it is a luxury to want to go to work in the morning, but some days it is still hard.  I want to be the one teaching photography.  I want to be the one traveling and part of giving those without, a voice.

He was gracious- I’m still on the team.  When we started Darkroom, it was for the sake of maintaining purpose and following passion.  Getting a doctorate is something I’d do all over again, but at the time, buried under forums and presentations and papers, I struggled with why I wanted it in the first place- why it was necessary.  Matthew and I discussed our individual reasons for being in the program, and it boiled down to being able help marginalized populations, and being a voice- an advocate for those who had none.  And thus, we began this journey of storytelling as empowerment and instilling the idea of intrinsic value in those who felt forgotten.

I apologize.  At this point, I’m rambling.  This evening finds me considering purpose, and at what point I got lost in the process.  Guatemala has been an amazing learning experience and opportunity for growth, and adventure, but some days, discontent still finds its way in.  The grass looks greener elsewhere.  It looks greener where passion can be applied, and where I can hear the voices and see the faces of those in the project rather than getting to know them through portraits and artist statements after the fact.  Updating our Pinterest account and writing curriculum just can’t compete with human connection.

The good news, is that I’m back.  The creative spark that fled for a time has returned, and I’m excited about updating the site and engaging in the journey.  I’ve reawakened to the idea that though I’m not in Slovakia or Indiana, these are still my people, and this is still my story- our story.  I’ve canned the pity party and am thankful for the ongoing relationship I have with the boys we worked with here.

Take a look at the site and offer feedback if you’d like.  The Roma should be up by the end of the week, with our Guatemalan boys following shortly after.