Youth in Pakistan Learn from National Geographic Photographers

Part of InternewsNext, a series highlighting 30 youth-led media initiatives.

Seventeen aspiring photographers, most in their 20s, hailing from varied socio-economic backgrounds and representing the multiple regions of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan took part in an intensive Photo Camp organized by the National Geographic Society and Internews, and sponsored by the US Agency for International Development.

Watch a short video of the camp.

“This camp polished my photographic skills and enabled me to see the world through new dimensions,” said student Seema Gul, 23.  “My trainers are an inspiration for me, and after completing my education I want to pursue a career as a photojournalist.” View a slideshow of the student’s photos. See the photos on the National Georgraphic web site.

The young photographers, selected from more than 250 who applied for the six-day camp, were mentored and trained by National Geographic contributing photographers Amy Toensing, Tyrone Turner and Matt Moyer. The students learned the basics of photography as well as photographic vision, equipment and technique, and were guided through the process of creating a story through photography and writing. In this video, the mentors share their experiences.

“It is not often that we see positive stories – stories of courage, stories of promise, stories of hope – coming from FATA, but perhaps you all will be the ones to tell them. I certainly have every confidence that you can,” said USAID Acting Mission Director Rodger Garner at an October exhibition of the photography in Islamabad.

The camp began in Islamabad, where the participants met the National Geographic photographers and staff, and began an intensive course in photojournalism, involving a combination of classroom instruction and applied skills development in the field. At Rawal Lake, the students had the opportunity to photograph families enjoying the weekend, where they experimented with capturing the subtle interactions of people in public and photographing them. Next, the students explored historic Said Pur Village in parallel with the Truck Art Market in Rawalpindi, capturing people at work in a variety of everyday situations. Finally, in Murree, the students had an opportunity to combine and practice all their new skills, capturing grand panoramic views as well as intimate moments between individuals.

“I love photography and I’m lucky to attend Nat Geo Photo Camp with the collaboration of Internews,” said Faryal Mohman, 23. “Every day I enjoy taking photos from different angles.”

About Photo Camp and National Geographic:

National Geographic Photo Camp has provided programs for more than 1,000 young people in over 60 locations since 2003. Photo Camp venues from earlier this year included Baltimore, Md., and Haiti. Internews co-sponsored a previous camp for youth in Crimea in 2010, which were showcased in a gallery at the Paley Center for Media in New York. The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. National Geographic has funded more than 10,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit

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