Healing Images: Creative Expressions of Survival
In 2003, the Healing Images program was developed at Advocates for Survivors of Torture and Trauma to help heal the psychological and emotional scars of torture survivors through the use of digital photography. Working closely with asylum seekers who have fled torture and persecution in some of the world’s most troubled countries, the program harnesses, the healing and empowering powers of creative photographic expression. Participants are provided digital cameras and basic instruction in a supportive, therapeutic setting, and encouraged to use the camera to explore their inner worlds and outer realities. Photographs are taken and downloaded while technical fears are conquered; the resulting images are shared, discussed and written about by survivors – a cathartic process that offers those who have suffered unspeakable truths the opportunity to find their voice and vision again.
The program is performed in close collaboration with therapists, a photography instructor and volunteers. Through a series of weekly photography classes this program offers survivors of torture and severe trauma a unique opportunity to creatively reflect on their past, examine their present and build upon their strengths to arrive at a new place of greater peace and healing. Holding the camera in one’s hands, choosing its subject, organizing the frame, pressing the shutter, expressing one’s self, marveling at the results, and freeing the tangle within – all powerful therapeutic steps helping to increase an individual's sense of him or herself as active survivor rather than passive victim.
Each survivor’s images are integrated into their ongoing individual talk therapy work at ASTT, and (if individually desired) publicly presented in exhibitions and published in a variety of media venues as a means of heightening public concern and support for survivors and the plight of torture survivors everywhere.
Past and Current Supporters: Open Society Institute, School Sisters of Notre Dame, Greg’s Bagels, William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund and Plaza Artist Materials-Towson.
If you would like to make a donation please contact: Essence Pierce, 410-464-9006 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org