Polaroid Project honors Louisville photographer killed during protests

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – A picture is worth a thousand words, and for a group of children, every photo they take is inspirational.

“The first time I came here I didn’t think it would be fun,” student Jahari Ramsey said. “I thought it was going to be boring.”

Ramsey is one of the students participating in The Polaroid Project, handing out free cameras to over 150 kids from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

With each photo, Ramsey said he realizes that just like sports photography can also be a hobby.

“I’ll probably be taking pictures of a basketball rim because I love to play basketball,” Ramsey said. “Probably someone taking a jump shot.”

The program was established in 2020 for students to learn photography, art, expression and activism, with an emphasis on social justice and mental health.

A local photography-related non-profit provided a gift in support. Building Equal Bridges: The Tyler Gerth Foundation presented a check for $ 10,000 on Saturday for an additional year of the project.

“They received Polaroid cameras; every student has received a Polaroid camera and they will be able to use it throughout the school year, this is a year-round program, ”said Brittany Lowen, President of Building Equal Bridges, The Tyler Gerth Foundation.

Lowen’s brother, Gerth, was only 27 when he was shot dead during social justice protests last summer at Jefferson Square Park.

Gerth was himself a photographer. His family said he always found ways to give back and that they are using the foundation to make a difference in the community.

“Part of Tyler’s journey of self-discovery, and truly finding purpose in life, was a trip he took out west with just his camera which really cut off as a catalyst in what he wanted to do in his life, ”Lowen said.

“I think he’s inspiring and someone I could look up to,” Ramsey said.

During the school year, students will be mentored by local photographers and learn more about their cameras.

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