Monday, March 1, 2010

'... beauty where others see despair'

Posted By on Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 5:44 PM

Some people trudge to work and trudge home, turn on the TV and zone out — accepting each day as something to survive.

Others look at life through different lenses, find different work and different ways to live and be and do. Different ways to make our world a better place.

David Johnson was tired of the Western media exploiting Africa with scenes of death and destruction while giving back little in return.

And every time he traveled overseas on summer breaks during the eight years he taught English at Providence Day School, he became more convinced that new and different stories were waiting to be told.

Three years ago, Johnson, 34, dropped his correcting pen and picked up his long-lens camera full-time to document those stories in two picture books spotlighting Africa.

His giveback – all profits go to dig wells in Sudan and provide micro-business loans to African women. His first book raised $50,000.

“I’m just kind of looking for stories that I feel aren’t being told well,” says the Charlotte Catholic High and UNC-Chapel Hill grad.

As president of the Charlotte-based nonprofit, Silent Images, Johnson has turned his lens on street children in Kenya, sex trafficking in Cambodia and homeless youth in Charlotte. His latest book, “Voice of Beauty,” spotlights African women, young and old.

“The thing I began to see through the lens of my camera was the strength, beauty and resilience the women had held on to, in spite of their conditions,” says Johnson. “No one really shows off their beauty. Of course, if you have been to Africa, you see their beauty everywhere. I want to help people come to a fresh perspective on the African woman.”

Read the rest of this article, by Patsy Pressley, here.

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