Pivot Point, Summer 2012
Hope in Shadows- Ten Years in the Spotlight
Ten years ago, shortly after Pivot had begun to take shape as a legal advocacy organization, an idea for a different kind of project began to emerge. We don't remember exactly who was present at those early brainstorming sessions but we do know that this group of people could see great potential in what they were imagining- a project that would use photography to empower people living in the Downtown Eastside to represent their neighbourhood on their own terms.
On June 2nd, we kicked off the 10th Annual Hope in Shadows photography contest at the Pivot office, Downtown Eastside Women's Centre, VANDU and Carnegie as we distributed more than 200 contest cameras. We had lots of amazing volunteers on hand to pull off the event (including volunteers from some of our sponsors - notably Vancity and Salt Spring Coffee). As they headed out to snap their photos, we asked participants to reflect this year's contest theme - What I value about my Downtown Eastside community - back to us through their images.
This year's contest theme around values seemed to excite the participants. At the smaller camera handouts at VANDU and the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre we had conversations about community values. Those who picked up cameras at the main handout didn't need any prompting to share their thoughts about community values as they inscribed them on a large piece of paper we hung up on our garage door. Participants made it clear that there are things about this low-income community that its members deeply value. The Downtown Eastside is a place where they feel accepted without judgment, it's a community that cares for its members and in particular for people who are suffering. It is a neighbourhood that fights for justice and people feel a strong affinity to this place and to one another.
We can't wait to see what the participants capture on film this year, and how they reflect their values using photographic techniques. Later in the month our panel of judges will help select the "Top 40" winning images and top photos in the categories of "Best Portrait", "Best Urban Landscape", "Best Colour", and "Best Black & White." Community members themselves will select four winning photos in the category of "Downtown Eastside Community Choice Award."
We are inviting you stay tuned as this landmark year unfolds.