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Children still grow up separated from their families in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Photographer’s mission: to make a difference in children's lives
Giacomo Pirozzi’s motivation to help children in need is rooted in the life story of his mother, who was an orphan following World War II. When he was taking on his first assignment to document the plight of children in Western Africa as a photojournalist for UNICEF in 1990, he could hardly imagine this career would turn into a life's calling for him. Since then, he's traveled all over the world, helping UNICEF spread its message and has become a globally-known professional photographer working for a number of development agencies.
One day he wants to create a website, similar to Facebook, where children who’ve gone through photography workshops of his could meet each other and share their stories.
Giacomo Pirozzi recently visited Uzbekistan as part of his Central Asian trip. We kept our interview short since he had to literally squeeze out a few minutes for us because of his itinerary packed with lots of travel to parts of Uzbekistan, meetings and photography workshops for disadvantaged children.
Q: You’ve been doing this work for many years now. Can you tell us what keeps you inspired most to continue your noble mission?
A: The great thing about my work is that it is never a routine! What inspires me? Moving around the world, learning so much from different places and cultures, meeting so many extraordinary people who in most cases with little resources make a big difference for children and their communities, and so many children who are often less lucky than others but with so much strength. All this continues to inspire and make me feel always privileged.
Q: How do you see your work changing the situation of children’s rights globally?
A: My main work is to document how children are doing around the world. I hope I contribute to advocating for their rights by showing the negative and the positive. What should be and what shouldn’t be there for children. Unfortunately, in so many countries some of children’s basic rights are neglected and they continue to suffer for various reasons.
Q: What are the highlights of your current mission to Uzbekistan?
A: We have focused mainly on education and health this time. I was so happy to see progress in inclusive education and see some children with disabilities in class with all other children. I was also able to facilitate a photography master class for children living with HIV. I was touched by their interest and their passion. I hope to come back and be able to work with them for a longer time and organize a child photo workshop with UNICEF.
Q: What tips would you give to the freshly starting photographers who would like to bring about social change?
A: I would encourage them to continue. More and more Humanitarian Photography is finding its own space and more photographers are interested in development because they believe photography can contribute to social change. Photo journalism is often sensational and focuses on the negative. We try to go one step ahead, showing how progress can be made even in the most tragic situations.
Talent and technique is requested for sure but also a big heart. An image should tell a story and touch people’s hearts at the same time. Only when a photographer is "touched" would he or she be able to transfer the same emotion in his/her photos.