A friend has been advising me on the use of images in posts and recently I unexpectedly came across this image, taken by Martin, our volunteer who teaches English to youngsters in the Cristino Castro township, of North East Brazil. I found the image compelling and shared it with the friend who suggested I blog about why I find the image engaging. I realised that in rising to the challenge of putting my response into words I would be teaching myself about the use of images. So here goes.
Part of the interest of the image is the curiosity it arouses in me about such questions as how does the little girl come to be in the classroom ? What is her name and her story, what does life hold for her and what is holding her interest now?
The image captures a moment in time and interestingly I am part of the unseen story before this moment in time, I know how the laptop comes to be sitting on the desk. It began with Martin’s appeal for a a laptop to make his teaching more effective, next, a friend of VinB who responded by donating one, and Keith a VinB trustee who took it down to London, (you may remember the image of it patiently waiting for a bus to Kensington) and finally it passed it into Helen’s care, for its onward journey to North East Brazil. Though it interests me that I know parts of the story maybe no-one else knows and maybe I contributed a little to the process. It is the generosity, compassion and dedication of the people involved that brings real warmth to the image for me and reminds me that spirituality is lived out in many ways.
An aspect that I find engaging is the contrasting symbols in the image. For instance, the sparsely resourced and dated appearance of the classroom is in sharp contrast to the technological age that the laptop symbolises. It prompts me to think that with a little support countries need not to go through the stages of technological and scientific development but can can fast forward to the resources available today and take advantage of past developments.
A contrast that I find particularly poignant is that of the innocence and vulnerability of the little girl contrasted against the dangers of the wider adult world she may be exposed to; just as an adult might hold her hand to cross the road so we are reminded that the hand holding is necessary for helping her and the children she symbolises to cross safely into the ‘global village’ and take her place as a rightful citizen there.
I know that there are technical aspects to this image and hopefully someone might help me with that. But to summarise the image arouses in me an emotional and intellectual response; is this because of what I bring to the image ? Do others find it compelling ? Do you find it compelling ? Why not share your thoughts and we can learn together ?