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Photography is an honour — Kashi

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American award-winning photojournalist Ed Kashi is currently in Zimbabwe to lead a five-day workshop for Zimbabwean photojournalists.

Describing his career as a photojournalist as one with great responsibility to both his subjects and his audience, Kashi highlighted the importance of professionalism and respect at all times.

“It’s an honour (to take photographs), and I take it incredibly seriously. I always try to show my subjects with as much respect as possible and to maintain their dignity in my pictures, even if it is a subject that I am politically or morally against,” said Kashi, an award-winning photojournalist with over 30 years’ experience.

The workshop is a collaborative project between Zimbabwe in Pictures, the United States Embassy and the Zimbabwe Culture Fund Trust.

The US Embassy is also sponsoring an exhibition of Kashi’s best images at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

The exhibition opened on Tuesday and will run until March 23.

Titled Giving Voice to the Voiceless, the exhibition highlights the power of photography and shows how people across the world are coping with problems that surround them.

“I take on issues that stir my passions about the state of humanity and our world, and I deeply believe in the power of still images to change people’s minds.

“I’m driven by this fact: that the work of photojournalists and documentary photographers can have a positive impact on the world.”

This is Kashi’s second visit to the country after his maiden trip here in 1994. The workshop is being attended by 12 participants, who are drawn from local media houses as well as freelance photojournalists.

Zimbabwe in Pictures designed the workshop to sharpen individual photographers’ skills and build a group of photojournalists who can run outreach programmes to train other aspiring photographers.

Kashi and the participants will discuss ethics, marketing and technical aspects of photography, as well as share and critique their work together.

Much of the training is inspired by Kashi’s international experience, including shoots in the Niger Delta on oil issues, in Turkey among the Kurds, in the US on a project about ageing, and in Madagascar focusing on sustainable development issues.

Kashi won the 2010 Unicef Photo of the Year award and holds other accolades like Prix Pictet Commission, Pictures of the Year International, World Press Foundation, Communication Arts and American Photography.

His editorial assignments and personal projects have been documented in six books.

Among them is the 2008 award-winning Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta. His latest book, Three, based on a series of triptychs culled from more than 20 years of image-making, was published in June 2009.

Kashi’s innovative approaches to photography and filmmaking produced an Iraqi Kurdistan Flipbook in December 2006 while he also had a collection titled Ageing in America: The Years Ahead in 2003.

His local workshop ends tomorrow and participants will be presented with certificates at a ceremony that will be addressed by US Ambassador Charles Ray and Farai Mupfunya of the Zimbabwe Culture Fund Trust.

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