May 6, 2021

Cinelab Akademie Initiative

By Jeri

As more and more young people have access to mobile phones with decent enough cameras, there has been a notable rise in citizen journalism or reporting, whether through videos or photos. And as more youth have access to various social media platforms, they have an opportunity to tell their stories to the world from the comfort of their mobile phones. It has always been our desire at Photo Start to be a part of such an exciting venture. By incorporating photography and the art of storytelling, we aim to empower our students to tell their own stories and others in their community through still photography and video.

People forget names and places, but we always remember a good story and how it made us feel. 

It is, therefore, always exciting to begin a new adventure with a partner. The delight of learning new cultures, new phrases, seeing students’ excitement as they gain and apply knowledge, and the magic when it all comes together in photos is a journey Photo Start loves undertaking. We recently started such an adventure with Cinelab Akademie Initiative, a film mentorship enterprise based in Uganda, which mentors and empowers youth from under-resourced communities on the art of storytelling through film.

One month after Photo Start started working with the youth, this is what the founder, Dennis O’nen, had to say, “From my experience, I have noticed a growing excitement and interest for the class among the trainees daily. They are always looking forward to each session they attend. I also noticed that the majority are making so much effort to photograph almost anything around them with their phones. This was different before the photography class began; they didn’t understand how important their phones were as a storytelling tool. So they had disregarded the meaningful use of their phones. The phone photography class has awakened a new perspective of creativity among the trainees.”

 We also got some feedback from the students. Here’s what Solomon and Sophy had to say:

 Since I started this class, I went back to look at some of the photos I took before I joined the photography class, and I realized I had no story in my photos. I am starting to learn that every photo has a story to tell.” – Solomon.

 “I’ve been able to know the use of my phone, and I have now developed so much interest to take photos and tell stories with my phone. The class has helped me to know the importance of storytelling – now through photos, I can document a story because before this class, I didn’t understand how well I could use my phone to document events around me.” – Sophy.

Cinelab Akademie Initiative, welcome to the Photo Start family!

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