For for eight years the non-profit organization Clichés Urbains has provided workshops and activities focused around photography, to youths in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. This Paris neighborhood is the city’s youngest district and has received special attention from City Hall (La Mairie de Paris). It is densely populated with a broad cultural mix of communities comprised, for the most part, of families with modest means and often precarious circumstances. The neighborhood is familiar with the many issues prevalent in the French banlieue, the peripheral equivalent of the inner-city.
Focused on pleasure-oriented education and a localminded approach, Clichés Urbains’ photography workshops and activities carry several objectives:
--Introduce the art of photography to a young audience, who might not otherwise be exposed to an artistic or cultural education. artistique et culturelle.
- Stimulate the participants’ curiosity by teaching them different ways of looking at things, and help them gain confidence by learning to craft creative or fun images, through a camera or darkroom (stenotype workshops, panoramic montages, light
graff, distortions, etc)
- Capture images of a neighborhood and its people, day-to-day, with care and affection. Exhibit these photos whenever possible, celebrating the intense beauty and richness found in the diversity of a neighborhood that is largely unaware of
its own significance. Inspired by the African Studio tradition, Cliché Urbains’ Mobile Studio makes portraits of local residents against various backdrops: wax-dyed fabrics, photos, sceneries.
- Create a social bond, reinforce self-esteem in residents, young and old alike, restore veneer to the neighborhood’s image and contribute to local social interactions, in a spirit of mutual respect and socially responsible action.
- Motivate the emergence of a new perspective on the Flandre neighborhood
and its residents.
- Initiate contact between youths from different blocks and work together in a spirit of citizenship and mutual respect.
- Collaborate with various local associations and the municipality, to coordinate cultural actions and boost the neighborhood’s community life.
- Develop solidarity and culture exchange projects abroad.