OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF RESOLUTION PROJECT 2009
Bloomfield Great House, Mandeville
2009 Tuesday March 3
Earl Jarrett, General Manager, Jamaica National Building Society
I am particularly pleased to see the large number of students, teachers and their guests who are here to participate in the launch of this photography competition, Resolution Project 2009.
And, I welcome the participation of Dr. Gomes of Jamaicans for Justice who represents an organisation that advocate for change in our society. Through its work, issues which impact negatively on our society are aired in positive and responsible ways; and all of us can learn from their advocacy that peace and development can come without violence and mayhem.
The Foundation began this competition as Youth Zoom, in 2003. And, as the elements of project captured the imagination and enthusiasm of students and teachers … the level of participation has been overwhelming.
As a result, the exhibition of photos mounted today … a mix of some of the most outstanding photographs from students … is testimony to the success of the competition and the photographic expertise that they acquired during the past six years.
The aim of the JNBS Foundation in promoting this competition is many fold.
- In the first instance, we want to sensitize our young people to achievements and challenges in their communities. We want students to open their eyes and see what is taking place around them.
- Secondly, through the Photography Clubs in their schools, they are taught photographic techniques … to capture images and arrive at the best resolution of that image …
- Thirdly, students are taught the principles of advocacy… to effectively identify a need; and, based on the photos printed, formulate a proposal to influence change.
From its inception the competition has strived to achieve these objectives; and the same is true for the on-going project, with its new name, Resolution 2009.
This year the new team at the Foundation came up with a name change for the competition, which speaks to “resolution” on several levels. In the first instance, “resolution” speaks to the final quality of the photograph; and secondly, its embraces “resolution” of issues, as students strive to advocate change.
I recall that the winning photo in one year’s competition prompted action by a non-profit organisation, Food for the Poor, to address the plight of two poor old ladies, by providing them with better housing. This approach to advocacy, and its subsequent positive resolution, reinforces the concept of this programme … which is, to challenge young people to identify and draw attention to issues that they perceive as being note worthy within their communities.
This kind of service to others is engrained in the DNA of Jamaica National. It is a major plank on which our building society was founded more than a century ago. Therefore, we believe it is important to give back to the communities from which we have grown, and we are conscious of our responsibility to serve the underserved in our society.
So, it is against this background that we are launching this Resolution Project with the aim of helping to improve the outcomes of community issues across the island.
We are pleased to welcome back our continuing partners … the National Library of Jamaica, the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), and the United Nations Development Fund (UNFPA), whose representatives in this project have seen our vision for the programme and continue to work with us … in the area of advocacy.
As Jamaicans, we sometimes find very creative ways to express our thoughts and views. Whether we agree or not, we are very passionate advocates of matters that interest us. This afternoon we had an opportunity to do so by writing on the ‘graffiti wall’…and the results are most interesting.
Students, in school you are encouraged to debate issues, using your verbal skills to emphasize or reinforce your points. In this competition, we encourage you to use the eye of your camera to capture your perception of your world … and, not only to express yourself, but to use this medium to advocate meaningful change.
Photography is one of the most powerful ways to capture elements in time and preserve current events, situations and activities for generations to come. Photography has always held immense interest for me. The camera, I believe, is perhaps one of the most powerful tools ever created. With it, we can record elements in time and preserve history for generations to come. The books we read and the films we view, replete with their historical photographic content, are clear examples of this power.
We want to encourage students to debate in a more creative manner while giving true meaning to the often used saying: a picture is worth a thousand words. We believe this can be done effectively through the lens of a camera.
This competition not only provides you with a productive avenue to develop your creative talents; but also, to establish yourselves as advocates through your camera lens, highlighting problems and positives in your communities.
At the JNBS Foundation, we believe in enhancing skills and providing avenues through which these skills can be showcased. As such, students have the opportunity to develop their creative talents to highlight the negative impact of our actions resulting from improper treatment of others and our communities.
And by highlighting these issues, we can begin the process of addressing those areas that impact our society, either positively or negatively. We, therefore, look forward to the variety of photographs on the many issues in our society that will be forthcoming from you.
Let me congratulate the schools and students for making the decision to become involved in this photography competition. I encourage you to make the best use of this opportunity, and let your voices be heard through the images that you will capture…and the words that you will use to articulate your cause.
As I close, I leave you with this perception of one of America’s best-known photographers, Ansel Adams:
“Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communication, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.”
We look forward to the variety that will be forthcoming from you; we anticipate the gripping stories which will be told through your eyes; and we want you to challenge us to take action, in one form or another.
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