Former Wall Street Investment Banker-Turned Photographer Heads to Central Asia to Help Teens Use a Camera to Tell Their Stories
LOS ANGELES (October 10, 2014) – For the third time this year, award-winning photographer Fredric Roberts is leading a group of internationally renowned photographers for a seven-day workshop, providing a unique opportunity to 20 high school-aged students in Tajikistan who have never used a camera to tell the stories around them through the powerful medium of photography.
Roberts, a world-renowned photographer who has traveled around the world to capture the essence of the human spirit, strongly believes that photography can empower young people with a unique means to express themselves. “When we put a camera in the hands of these students, they learn a language through which they can communicate their perspectives on society, as well as a marketable skill that will allow them to share their view of the world for the rest of their lives,” Roberts said.
Conducted in partnership with the Agha Khan Foundation, this workshop will begin on Monday, October 12 in Khorog, Tajikistan, and will run through the 18th. Half of the students participating in the workshop live in rural areas, while the other half come from urban centers. There will also be an equal number of boys and girls.
With the assistance from a faculty of world-class photographers and teachers, the students will learn the basics of photography and will participate in story assignments centering on the issue of universal access to elementary education in their country. The Tajik educational system has faced serious challenges in recent years following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and a subsequent civil war. Today, the Agha Khan Foundation provides critical support to local Tajik youth in accessing a high quality education, from the primary level through college. Roberts is also planning other photo assignments focusing on local health care and literacy programs.
Over the course of each of Roberts’ seven-day workshops, students are taught to use sophisticated photographic equipment and computer software. The equipment is provided with the support of Stephens, Inc. of Little Rock, Samy’s Camera of Los Angeles and other donors. The workshops, including use of equipment, instruction, curriculum materials, transportation, meals and lodging are provided at no cost to the participants.
On the final day of the workshop, the students’ top photos from the week will be exhibited in Khorog, and will also be posted on the program website, www.fredricrobertsworkshops.org. The Tajikistan workshop is Robert’s third program this year; see below to access student photos from other workshops conducted in recent months:
- Bhutan (January 2014): Link to student gallery
- Nicaragua (May 2014): Link to student gallery
The other photographers joining Roberts on the workshop faculty team are Wendy Walsh, an editorial photographer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated and Forbes; Mike Sakas of Sakas Photo in Hong Kong; and Tony Czech, who has worked on projects with global lifestyle brands such as Patagonia, The North Face and Red Bull.
Roberts, a photographer with a significant commitment to philanthropy, developed his artistic career after 30 years as a Wall Street investment banker who served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of The NASD during an important chapter in the organization’s history. His work capturing people and events around the globe has earned accolades from the New York Times, the Government of India and the International Photography Awards, among others. His images have been exhibited at The United Nations, the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City, Yale University and MOPA in San Diego, , along with publications such as Outdoor Photographer, The New York Daily News and PC Photo Magazine. Roberts’ three books have been published by Abbeville Press.
When the workshop in Khorog ends, Roberts will donate cameras and photo software to the Agha Khan Foundation so that the students can continue to improve their skills. Local professional photographers in Tajikistan may also participate in the workshop alongside Roberts’ team so they can continue to mentor the student photographers.
“The essence of my work as a photographer is more about expressing feeling and sensitivity than applying advanced techniques,” said Roberts. “My goal is to teach my students how to express abstract concepts like empathy in their work, and it’s amazing to see how these young people are able to illustrate the emotions of their subjects after just one week of instruction. Creating this workshop series is by far the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”
Roberts and his team will be blogging each day at www.fredricrobertsworkshops.org, and will share photos demonstrating the students’ progress throughout the week. They will also be posting regular updates on Twitter and Instagram (@frobertsphoto), as well as on Facebook: www.facebook.com/fredricrobertsphotography.