The following blog was written by Aislinn Antrim, a rising Sophomore in the Bonner Leaders Program at the Campus Y. Aislinn works at Rogers Road Community Center as a Bonner; she is working with Carolina for Amani this summer through the Bonner International Summer of Service internship.
I’m a photojournalism and global studies double major, and my goal is to work in conflict and documentary photography, so I almost always have a camera glued to my side. When I went to France, I obsessively documented every museum and macaroon. Guatemala was more interesting, as I suddenly learned that not all cultures are as photo-obsessed as ours. Still, I was able to take almost as many photos as I wanted for the organization we worked for.
In Kenya, part of my job involved taking pictures of the children for their adoption profiles, so I was able to continue my love of travel and photography. Within the first few days, however, I realized that it’s nearly impossible to feed toddlers and hold a camera. At first, I alternated between photography and feedings, trying to balance both jobs. While I was somewhat successful, I wasn’t enjoying or soaking in either job and ended up being frazzled all day.
Finally, in Kisumu, both of my camera batteries died. I’d apparently forgotten to charge them, and while I was at first irritated, I eventually realized how great it was to take a day off and simply play with the kids. For the entire day, I pushed them on the swings instead of photographing them, and balanced them on bikes instead of switching lenses. This
was the day when I really learned their unique personalities, finally telling the difference between the twins, Jodie and Julie. While I had to continue taking photos the next day, I came away with the realization that taking a break from the camera allows me to get closer to a situation, and truly knowing the people can improve my understanding of cultures as well as my own photography.