The Gift of Photography


With the holiday season upon us, it’s a pretty good time to remember folks who use photography for the good–to extend the reach of this international language called photographs to further understanding, embrace the diversity of life, and encourage others (especially young others) to be swept up in the joy of picture making.

Liza Politi, one half of the formidable duo called Fancy Girl, Street Boy Productions, has created a non-profit outreach called Statement Arts, which was recently profiled on ABC News. At first working locally with disenfranchised kids and communities, last year she extended the reach of Statement Arts to Luang Prabang, Laos to teach photography to 28 kids. Ari Espay, noted Chilean photog, teaches with her, showing the kids camera basics and post-production.


Partnering with a local non-profit, @MyLibrary, they brought much needed supplies like cameras, flashes, software, bags, lenses, cards, pen-drives, etc. for these young, budding shooters. It was, as you can see above, a joyous effort.

You can see some of their work here:

Liza & Ari are headed back to Southeast Asia this January and will be running a similar project in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). They have once again partnered up with a local non-profit. This time they are working with the Deitta Gallery ( Started by a young English expat, The Deitta Gallery is the only gallery in the entire country dedicated to documentary photography. It has become owner Matt Grace’s mission to help the Burmese learn the craft of photojournalism and he is hoping to expand the gallery to include a lending library.


If you would like to help, there are 3 ways in which you can do so. The US Embassy is giving them some space on a shipping crate that will be making its way to Myanmar early in January.  All US donations need to arrive no later than December 30th.



  • If you live in North America and have any gently used photography books that you would like to donate to the Deitta Gallery’s Lending Library, you can send them directly to our US shipping consolidator, addressed as follows:Rangoon (Donated Books)
    c/o Lincoln Moving & Storage
    8420 S 190th Street
    Kent WA 98031
  • If you live outside of the US, you can send the books directly to the Deitta Gallery through an international postal agent – DHL is the most established international company in Myanmar so that would be best, but any company that can give you a tracking number should be OK. Please send them directly to:MYANMAR DEITTA
    3RD FLOOR, NUMBER 49, 


  • If you have gently used equipment that is in good condition that you would like to donate, (DIGITAL EQUIPMENT ONLY- there is no place to buy/develop film) please contact Liza directly for the shipping information:

She will be taking equipment (cameras, flashes, bags, tripods, lenses, computers, software, pen drives, external hard drives, cards and card readers, rechargeable batteries, etc) with her when flying over.

PhotoCredit_Louise Pedno_150213_3850


  • And finally, if you would like to help sponsor their trip, or contribute monetarily to the shipping costs and additional equipment they will be purchasing before leaving, you can make a tax-deductible donation to their non-profit, Statement Arts at this link here:

This thank you is from one of the young shooters who benefited from February 2015’s Laos Photography Program:

My name is Hue Lee and I am now working at a tour company called Backstreet Academy. I started working as a part-time job at @ My Library since August 2008 until I finished my University here in Luang Prabang. I had worked with Carol for 6 years and during my work at the Library I taught the basic photography class almost every Saturdays. I first learnt about how to use a camera, photography and improve my photography grade from @ My Library.

Thank you so much for the camera you gave to me, it’s a very very good camera and I really appreciate that! I never had my own camera before, but now I can take pictures anywhere I go. Thank you very much for your support and caring. I would like to know that all of Carol’s students and I are incredibly grateful for all you have done to assist the Library and support our photography education.

I have been using the Library cameras for more than 6 years and today I have my own camera, so I wanted to write you a special note to let you know how much your gift mean to me! You are improving my photography! I am so excited about the gift you gave to me so that I can take pictures. I know that in the future I can share your gift with others and definitely I will show you my work from this camera, and also I can help other young photographers to learn more about photography as well, just like the camera that you have given to me, so I thank you deeply for that! It would be great to have you come to Laos some day and visit our class in person! And if I ever get the chance to come to your country, I will visit you. I wish you health and happiness everyday.

Thank you again for your kind support and contributing @ My Library here in Laos to offer us camera equipment and cameras.


Hue Lee


Nothing like the gift of pictures. More tk….

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