In collaboration with the National Geographic Society, the Kennedy Center will exhibit 100 powerful photographs taken by refugees and underserved youth who have participated in National Geographic Photo Camps over the past several years. Featuring photography from 10 countries including Mexico, Myanmar, Greece and Cuba, the exhibition will include a selection of photographs never before exhibited together. The images will be supported by written text to weave a narrative of the experiences and realities of displaced youth from around the world. The free exhibition opens on March 28 and will run through World Refugee Day on June 20, 2019.
On display in the Kennedy Center’s Hall of States and Hall of Nations, the exhibition will contain powerful images from a dozen Photo Camps, nine international and three domestic. These camps have focused on populations hit with the realities of displacement caused by human conflict, economic hardship and climate change. The stories told through the camera lens are those of resilience, optimism and hope, and convey what family, culture and community mean to participants.
The program encourages participants to explore and document the world around them and develop deep connections with others.
“The goal of National Geographic Photo Camp is to inspire a new generation of storytellers as well as the members of their communities that view their work. The program connects students with world-class National Geographic photographers and provides them with a creative outlet to share their unique perspective on the world." — Kaitlin Yarnall, senior vice president of storytelling at the National Geographic Society
To date, National Geographic has sponsored 93 Photo Camps in more than 20 countries.
Established in 2003, Photo Camp is an immersive weeklong program focused on empowering youth, including at-risk and refugee populations, through the art of photography. For more than 15 years, the program has connected participants with world-class National Geographic photographers who’ve taught them how to use photography to tell their own stories of migration, home and identity. At the culmination of each Photo Camp, an intimate presentation is given in the participants’ communities during which they convey through their photography that everyone—regardless of their age, ethnicity or status—has a story to tell.
The Photo Camp exhibition is part of The Human Journey, a collaboration between the Kennedy Center, the National Geographic Society and the National Gallery of Art. The Human Journey invites audiences to investigate the powerful experiences of migration, exploration, identity and resilience through the lenses of the performing arts, science and visual art. The season-long programming reflects the National Geographic Society’s commitment to achieving a planet in balance and highlights the Kennedy Center’s world-class storytelling and entertainment capabilities. The exhibition seeks to promote a deeper understanding of the migration of people and the resilience of humankind in overcoming conflict, adversity, prejudice and injustices, often made possible by a spirit of exploration and hope.
Photo Camp would not be possible without the generous support of 21st Century Fox. Additionally, a special thanks goes to Internews, which has graciously supported a number of Photo Camps including those in Sarajevo, Greece, Myanmar and Puerto Rico—all on display in the exhibition. Other on-the-ground partners include the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, the Norwegian Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Mercy Corps, USAID, Project Amal ou Salam, the Baltimore City Community College Refugee Youth Project, World Vision Uganda, The Dream Project and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Brazil.