Developing Nations Journey: The End of The Beginning
Nov 2012 12

After 11-months in South East Asia, I am back in Toronto, Canada. For those who haven’t been following along with the Developing Nations Project, here you can read the full story of how the project got it’s start.

To sum it up, after the first two months of my SE Asia journey, I was left feeling like I wanted to add more value and meaning to my travel. The idea came about to make portraits, print and distribute them to people who may have never had the opportunity or resources to have self-portraits before.

In the months following the inception of the project, I photographed and distributed photos for people in Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines and Indonesia. All together I printed and distributed more than 400 photos.

Not only did the project give me an immense satisfaction of being able to give back while I traveled, but it completely changed the dynamic of my journey. It felt as if there was a shift from being an outsider, observing and taking photos somewhat selfishly, to being someone who was invited into these communities to socialize, learn and contribute. The project was a perfect icebreaker in many instances and I made a good deal of friendships I wouldn’t have otherwise made.

In addition to meeting some really great local people along my trip, the project also gave me access to some pretty great opportunities that the average traveler might not come across, such as being invited to stay with families in their homes, to be apart of a wedding, being invited over for home cooked meals (something which is a big deal when you’re living on the road for 11 months).

All-in-all I am truly grateful that this project came to light and for all the people I met and experiences it provided me along the way. I’ve been back in Toronto for less than a month and I am already planning some pretty epic adventures for 2013. I intend to continue this project and blog in the future so definitely stay tuned be it on the blog or via my Facebook Page.

One last big thanks to all the people who have contributed to the project, through donations, tagging along with me while I shot or delivered photos and for all the verbal and written support I received along the way.

Oh and for those who have been following along, you will know that in Cebu, Philippines, my photo printer got damaged. Before returning home I recovered my printer from Canon Thailand. After it was broken in Philippines I had to send it back to Thailand and they replaced the entire unit free of cost. Hats off to Canon for standing behind their product.

2 Comments

  1. Clay says:

    This is an awesome project Aaron! I saw you post about this a while back, but have to admit I did not follow your posts along your way. Hats off to you for making it happen!

    I can see how it would totally transform your experience from traveler with a camera on the outside looking in, to an integral part of the moment contributing in a way that these people will remember forever. Who knows how long those pics will last.

    I watch the appreciation and adornment that Cami gets when she send her photos to clients and those are people who have an abundance of family pictures. I can only imagine how precious those photos are to people without the means to capture moments in images like that.

    Makes me appreciate my camera more. I’ve taken it for granted for some time now.

    Great post!

  2. Fantastic idea Aaron and well done. Inspiring!
    Your mum must be proud :)

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