For 16 Brooks students, last month’s catastrophic Chilean earthquake hit especially close to home. Between October and December of 2009, the group traveled to Chile as part of the school’s annual, student-developed photo journalism project. While there, the budding photogs and videographers traveled throughout the South American country, immersing themselves in the culture through their many varied subjects. Next Thursday, April 8, the fruits of their labors will be unveiled with a free multimedia documentary screening and slideshow at the Granada (1216 State St.) at 6:30 p.m. The doc, titled Revelar los Enlaces (Spanish for “Reveal the Connections”), provides a dizzyingly colorful, culturally rich, and visually imaginative look into Chile and its people. For info, visit documentary.brooks.edu/chile. For the skinny on the students’ process, product, and ongoing relief efforts, read on below.
1) Chile Comes Alive: Once they arrived, the Chile class was more or less cut loose to explore their surroundings, and the freedom helped to make some truly beautiful photographs possible. “Finding myself at the dinner table of a young couple
and their small child, at the base of a volcano, eating homemade Chilean food at two a.m. in the pouring rain in Patagonia proves to me that there are amazing people everywhere you go and excites me to find them all,” explained project coproducer and Brooks senior Jeff Johns. Subjects of Revelar los Enlaces include everything from Chilean street performers to student protests to gaucho cowboys who live off the land. “You get to see a big variety of different types of personalities and different types of people,” said coproducer and recent Brooks grad Amanda Reyes. “That’s what our project’s about, trying to connect them all and show people what Chile’s all about.”
2) It’s More than Just a Movie: In addition to the documentary and screening, Reyes and her fellow students were responsible for putting together a photography book, a Web site, a blog, and three gallery shows about their experiences behind the lens in Chile. “All the students on this trip did such an amazing job immersing themselves in the Chilean culture and have created a truly raw and honest look at the lives of the people there,” said Johns. “They proved to me, as the people of Chile did, the power that this type of work has, as well as its ever-growing importance in our society.” (The first showing of Revelar’s still photography opens Thursday, April 8, at Brooks’ Gallery 27 and will hang through May.)
3) Lend a Helping Hand: Perhaps most importantly, the students are now looking to help give back to the victims of the February earthquake. “Some of the stuff we shot no longer exists, and that’s scary. It shakes you up,” Reyes confessed. “We’ve teamed up with Direct Relief International, so all the proceeds from the book and DVD will go directly to [them], and we’re also doing silent auctions at each of the galleries, and all that money will go straight to Chile.” The students have also been given 200 additional books from their production company, V3. “Direct Relief International was a wonderful find,” said Johns. “ It’s not only a local group, but also one of only two groups in the United States that gives 100 percent of every single dollar directly to aid on the ground in over 70 affected countries world wide.”