The Right to Smile
My creative skills in the service of a cause that matters to me...
In 2007, I was approached by a small charity to raise awareness around children's rights in China and Cambodia. They wanted me to be their spokesperson. I felt honored but I thought that pictures would speak much more than any words could. I loved photography. I used to take pictures of my little cousins with an old camera. So I upgraded and bought my first digital camera. l learned how to use it during the trip and came back with a series of photographs ready to be exhibited. This was the fastest transition ever from amateur to pro lol!
Finding a gallery - booked up years in advance – was another challenge added to the technical issues I faced. But, when the passion is there, and you still have some naïveté, magic happens. Long story short, in 2 months, we knocked on so many doors and found some generous partners and sponsors to join the cause: the French Bank: Société Générale, Voyages-SNCF, MarkImage, The Bound. And together we made it happen.
On Nov. 19th 2007, Universal Children's Day's Eve, at the Bound, in the heart of luxurious Paris, we launched my first exhibition! What was supposed to be a 10 day exhibit was extended to a full month, thanks to the overwhelmingly positive feedback the show received, including from Elle Magazine and Metro Daily. We raised awareness and we spread SMILES. It was a magical thing to be part of.
The smiles they radiated, that freedom of being happy regardless of their living conditions... What an invaluable gift and life lesson they gave me each time.
What struck me the most in this adventure were the children.I crossed paths with each of them only for a couple of minutes. The smiles they radiated, that freedom of being happy regardless of their living conditions, the fact that they’d open up and would let me capture it with my camera, their generosity, their vulnerability… what an invaluable gift and life lesson they gave me each time.
I am continuing to develop this project, and every time I travel is an opportunity to extend my collection of photographs of children of the world. Ultimately, I hope to have another exhibition and release a book, possibly under the title “The Right to Smile”, to raise awareness (and hopefully funds this time) for underprivileged children, because every child has The Right to Smile.