"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Friday, January 30, 2015

ctt attire

Check out the new Change the Truth t-shirts and ball cap! If you'd like to shop, simply email Gloria at gbfeinstein[at]gmail[dot]com.

The shirts are (very soft!) 50/50 American Apparel. The women's shirt is available in M, L, XL (they run small). The men's is available in S, M and L. Caps are OSFA.

Cap: $20
T-shirt: $24

All proceeds go to Change the Truth. Get these while they're hot!



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

brand spankin' new

I have put in many, many hours recently working on my updated website of photography. I hope you'll take some time to check it out. Many new images, as well as older ones treated in new ways.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

70 years

Today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Last night I watched "Night Will Fall." I encourage you to view it. Honestly, it made the news reels I watched as a child in Sunday School look like something Disney. It is not for everyone, I suppose, but it is what happened. It's an important film.

Here are some images I made at Auschwitz in 2001 and 2003.

Monday, January 26, 2015


This past Friday I was interviewed by students from a local college for their "Peace Studies" class. Over the years, this particular school has pegged me as a "peacemaker" which is so cool I can hardly stand it. 

The smart and curious young men and women sitting around the table asked a slew of great questions. The very first question was, "What do you think makes you a peacemaker?" Without even thinking I replied, "I'm a middle child. That's what I do."

They laughed - a couple of them nodded because they knew exactly what I was talking about.

Of course, we went a lot deeper than that over the course of the next hour. We talked about how paralyzing it can be to want to help make the world a better place when there is more suffering than we can ever possibly comprehend. I found myself stressing how important it is (at least for me) to narrow the scope of any project so that I can successfully provide assistance to a realistic number of folks. In providing a leg-up to those in need, I am reaching across the table, taking a hand, walking forward with him or her and spreading some peace in a small corner of the world. I am honoring the dignity of another person, and that has a lot to do with making a difference - and with peacemaking.

Rather than trying to solve world hunger, I have chosen to help in Kansas City by providing food to my local food bank and funds to Operation Breakthrough. Rather than trying to feed all those who are hungry in Africa, I have opted to work in Uganda. In Uganda, I cannot possibly help all of its 2.5 million orphans, so I have elected to give what I can to 180 of them - those who live at St. Mary Kevin Children's Home.

I told the college students the starfish story.

And I told them about the smart, determined, lovely children who are going to school because of the generosity of people who have chosen to support my organization, Change the Truth.

One starfish at a time… the boy on the beach threw them back into the water. "I just gave that one a chance!" he called as he watched it sail forward and splash into the water. He reached down into the sand where thousands of other starfish remained helplessly washed up on the shore, picked up another and tossed it into the sea. "I just gave that one a chance!" And on and on. The old man who had approached him and shouted, "You'll never make a difference here. There are too many!" began to see things differently.

Please enjoy these smiling faces, photographed recently by CTT Team 8 member Suzanne Garr. They represent about half of the students we currently sponsor in secondary school and university. If you have played a role in getting them where they are by writing a pen pal letter, volunteering at a CTT event, donating art supplies, clothing, books, toothpaste or even a $5 bill over the years, then you, too, are a peacemaker.

















Saturday, January 24, 2015

kudos to nelson: blog post by melissa

Joan Faith, Nelson, Melissa

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the 65th Annual Makerere University Graduation of one of Change The Truth’s sponsored students. Wasswa Nelson joined 13,770 other students in graduating this year from Uganda’s oldest and largest public University. Truly a remarkable achievement here in Uganda!! Nelson graduated with his Bachelor Degree in Computer Sciences, and trust me, the future of this young man is very bright.

Due to the masses of graduates, Nelson only received an invitation for 2 people to attend his graduation ceremony, so Joan Faith and I were incredibly honored to be those invited. There were so many graduates that each student received only a brief individual moment of acknowledgement when their name was read amongst the other graduates in their particular program. But when that moment came, the emotions of pride in Nelson and his accomplishment was completely overwhelming!

Nelson is one of the most ambitious young people I have ever known, but here in Uganda that ambition accompanies LOTS of hard work. Nelson is not afraid of hard-work, long hours, diligence, and maximizing every opportunity. I look forward to seeing where life will take Nelson next… it will be excellent!!

Congratulations to Nelson!!

- Melissa

Thursday, January 22, 2015

some gordon parks beauties from the 1950's - never seen before until very recently

“Gordon Parks was only a teenager when he left his hometown of Fort Scott, Kansas. The youngest of 15, Parks chose to make a living for himself after his mother passed away, and wound up becoming the first African American photographer for Life Magazine.
Only two years after his first Life assignment, Parks returned home for a photo essay on segregated education. Journeying to Fort Scott and other Midwestern cities nearby, Parks photographed his childhood classmates, capturing their faces, families and homes while recording details about their occupations and incomes. The photo essay, for reasons that remain unknown, was never published, and most of the images went unseen.
And then Karen Haas, curator at MFA Boston, stumbled upon an image of Parks' that changed everything.

From this original image, an exhibition was born. Haas mimicked Parks' journey to revisit his old classmates from an all-black elementary school, visiting Kansas City, Saint Louis, Detroit and Chicago -- everywhere except Columbus, Ohio, to see what remained of the spaces Parks immortalized. ‘For Parks, it became this trip back into his past to present this national issue to the mostly white readership of Life Magazine through the lens of his own life.’
The poignant images depict everyday life for African Americans in the 1950s -- playing pool, reading a book, watching a baseball game -- all under the regulations of segregation. Along with the images, Parks recorded details about his former classmates' current lives, for example, that Norman Earl Collins was doing quite well, making $1.22 an hour at Union Electric of Missouri. 

’What I love about the pictures is the way I feel as though when I look at the expressions on their faces I can see the pride each of these families felt standing in front of their houses,’ explained Haas. ‘Parks made an effort to pose his subjects in front of their houses with these strong nuclear families -- the way so many families in Life Magazine are posed to begin with. That white middle class family pose. To pose African American families in front of their homes, I think, would have been quite startling to the readership. I'm fascinated by the gaze. Each of them trusting their friend, not only this fellow African American, but someone who'd grown up in Kansas with them. What they'd experienced together, the poverty, the childhood struggles. And now he's the famous New York photojournalist, he's a success story. And each of them is trusting him, telling him their stories.’

Not surprisingly, from the moment the 42 photographs were installed on gallery walls, the reaction from museum employees and visitors was overwhelming. ‘It's been really wonderful talking to people around the galleries and hearing their reactions. We've been struck by how contemporary it feels, how timely these issues are, obviously, even today. Here was a photographer, he'd only just begun at Life Magazine less than two years earlier. They assigned him this story on segregated education and he's already given the relative free reign to focus the story around his own childhood. It doesn't look dated to me. It feels like there is a lot we can talk about.’
This isn't the first time a Gordon Parks exhibition has hit close to home. His ‘Segregation Story,’ on view at the High Museum in Atlanta, depicts an Alabama family living under Jim Crow segregation in the same decade. Parks' images, despite capturing an altogether different time, still speak to a nation where issues of racism are pronounced, whether looking at police killings or the Oscar race.

One of Haas' main hopes for the exhibition was connecting to the children of Parks' subjects -- the subjects, as well as Parks, are all deceased. ‘The children were my hope,’ she said. ‘I spent a lot of time doing genealogical research. I tried to find a number of the children and had no luck, until the other day, the phone rang. It was this little girl from one of the pictures, who is now in her late sixties. She's retired and lives in Arizona and we just had the most amazing conversation about her mother and her mother's friendship with Gordon Parks and how she was able to do many of the things her mother wasn't able to do in life. Her daughter has gone on to get a teaching degree, a doctorate, she's travelled the world. It was incredibly emotional.’
‘To think, I can email her the pictures and I can read her her mother's yearbook quote and I can look at the picture of her playing the piano and what that meant. I can look at what an image of an African American girl sitting at a piano on the South Side of Chicago would have meant to Life readers back in 1950. That was a real sign of people's commitment. They were investing in an expensive musical instrument for their child, in aspirations for their future.’

The exhibition, full of beauty, suffering, pride and injustice, is both powerful and heartbreaking. Gazing upon the images, we're struck by a combination of amazement and horror, at the strength these subjects possessed and the struggles they endured. The bittersweet imprint is reminiscent of Parks' own feelings upon his graduation:
‘Twenty-four years before I had walked proudly to the center of the stage and received a diploma. There were twelve of us (six girls and six boys) that night. Our emotions were intermingled with sadness and gaiety. None of us understood why the first years of our education were separated from those of the whites, nor did we bother to ask. The situation existed when we were born. We waded in normal at the tender age of six and swam out maladjusted… nine years later.’”

- by Priscilla Frank, The Huffington Post

Monday, January 19, 2015

happy mlk day

Photos I took this past week at Operation Breakthrough: