We have a new interview on the PaperTigers website, with Dutch photographer Taco Anema, the author of a superb book called Tales of Water: A Child’s View/Cuentos del agua: Una visión de un niño. Taco travelled the world photographing children interacting with water; and he spoke to them about what water means to them – how they use it, their joys and their concerns. Sponsored by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), Taco visited at least one country in each of continents. In the interview, Taco has given us some fascinating insight into the project and I urge you to read it. In the meantime, for this Poetry Friday post, I want to share with you an unexpected aspect of the project:
In the book, as well as quotations from children about water, there are some poems typed over some of the photos. Can you tell us about them?
A little while ago, I read somewhere that an emotion hits the brain a thousand times faster than a word or a line of text. Photography is nothing but emotion, but regularly I find it hard to relate to the people in the picture. Sometimes it’s just not enough to know what they look like and to understand the situation they are in. I would still very much like to know something personal about them. And this is typically where the text comes in.
As mentioned earlier, we were very keen on recording the language children use to put their ideas, feelings and thoughts into words. That reinforces the message. So we talked extensively with them about their own experiences in their daily lives. Nobody had at that point thought of poems and the like.
Many people, teachers, parents, mayors and so on, attended our conversations and most likely – I can’t remember exactly – one of them suggested adding a poem by a well known poet or the lyrics of a local song. A really great idea. So we did. Together with the children we picked the ones they liked the best. The poems were important to the children. They suggested putting them in the book. So we did.
Isn’t that wonderful? I love that poetry spontaneously became an integral part of the project.
And Taco has kindly given me permission to share some of his stunning photographs with you. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I do, and then feel prompted to seek out the book, which has something in it for everyone, children and adults alike. And I should also point out that the text in the book is bilingual English-Spanish (and one of the reasons for that is mentioned in the interview…).
There is actually a pdf of the whole book on the IUCN website, here…