A Few Cameras More

A Few Cameras More

There are few things in life more powerful than the creation of inspiring stories. I believe that with the proper tools, training and mentoring we can encourage the next generation of young people to become effective storytellers and advocates for the protection of the natural world. We need a few more cameras. The Joy Trip Project is pleased to announce that Eden Perry-Benton is the recipient of a lovingly used Canon 40D SLR digital camera kit along with an assortment of accessories from my friends at Peak Design. After more than a decade of reliable service I am handing down one of my favorite creative tools in the hopes of inspiring her interest in photography and storytelling. Chosen from among 8 finalists who were nominated and wrote a short essay describing what they would do with a professional grade camera, this 15-year-old high school sophomore from Charlotte, North Carolina presented a compelling narrative and an original photograph that pushed her submission to the very top.

“Through pictures in 2020 I plan to do three things if given this camera,” Eden wrote in her essay. “First I plan to document the evolution of Charlotte, which is rapidly becoming a large and different city. Secondly, capture the mountains and forestry not far from Charlotte’s inner city so that more black children and families will see the beauty in spending their time there. Finally, to chronicle my unique experience if/when accepted in my foreign exchange program to Korea so that other youth do more than imagine the world but dare to live it.

I believe equal exposure and equitable access to be true evidence of social justice. I believe my life and experiences are an instrument for it’s realization.”

The striking image above was included in Eden’s nomination letter submitted by her mother. I was immediately impressed by her ability to contextualize so many complicated social issues in one picture. More than any of the other nominees Eden expressed through her essay an interest and passion for storytelling very similar to my own. We seem to share in common a desire to illustrate the disparities of culture and privilege that too often prevent marginalized communities, especially people of color and the economically disenfranchised, from having a positive relationship with the outdoors. Though each of the finalists demonstrated great talent in the art of storytelling I feel that Eden will make the best use of this camera over the next year.

Eden Perry-Benton

The only thing more difficult than picking a recipient of this gift was having to inform the other nominees that they were not chosen. I believe that each of them has exceptional talent and great potential to be an excellent storyteller. Despite my decision I want to help guide them on their journey. As this was never meant to be a contest I am still committed to assisting each of the young people who were finalists in the selection process to acquire a used camera of similar quality.  I intend to tap into a few of the philanthropic resources at my disposal to make this happen and hopefully offer additional gifts throughout 2020.

Here’s the ask: 

If you have a used but still serviceable digital SLR camera to donate I have seven young people who can use them to tell great stories.

In addition your contribution I will provide the mentoring and training they need to further their interest in taking pictures. I hope to encourage each of them to provide this audience with a lens on the world around them. With just a few cameras more, through the perspective of these emerging young artists I aim to chronicle the current state of the natural environment. From big cities to small rural communities across the United States I want to create a small network of aspiring photographers to do more than take cellphone “selfies” in front picturesque landscapes as passive observers of their own lives. Instead I want to encourage these storytellers to capture moments in time that stir the heart and mind toward positive action.

If you’re interested in contributing to this project please drop me a note in the comments below or write to me at info@joytripproject.com. I’m always looking for news ways to inspire folks to #ReThinkOutside


Thanks again to the support of Peak Design

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