Photographers Without Borders

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(Place: Nepal, Photo by: Rebecca Eby)

The world of photography has grown immensely over the years through numerous social media platforms and mobile photography. There is a thrill when we capture moments and turn it into reality in the form of pictures. We see people capturing a variety of photos for different needs and purpose. Photographers Without Borders is an organization that has combined passion and service to inspire people all over the world to create an awareness for humanity. They have redefined photography completely.

Here is what they have to say about the great work they are doing:

1. Tell us a little bit about Photographers Without Borders? How did it start?
Photographers Without Borders was started by Danielle Da Silva. After working and traveling in over 50 countries, meeting a wealth of inspiring individuals and witnessing so much humanity in the face of daunting challenges, Danielle saw a need and want for these stories to be told. She decided to marry her experiences with her talents in photography and film, putting a lens to the faces of change. Danielle registered Photographers Without Borders (PWB) as a non-profit organization in Toronto at the age of 21.

The work of PWB seeks to not only donate photography and video to grassroots organizations that need it, but to raise awareness about organizations that many have never heard of, expand limited narratives about people and places, and shed light on some of the good in our world so we can have wider perspectives without leaving our living rooms.
(Place: Nicaragua, Photo by: Ana O’Byrne)

2. What was the inspiration behind it?
Our vision is to share inspiring narratives about people and places everywhere through the captivating art of photography.

3. Your goal is mainly social welfare and awareness, how does Photography play a role in this?
Our mission is to inform and promote positive change by documenting the work of charities and NGOs across the globe. We accomplish education, inspiration and innovation through photography.
Education: PWB provides visual media to our partner charities free of charge helping to raise awareness and teach others about their goals and challenges.
Inspiration: Visual media is published on our website, magazine, and shown in exhibits;
documenting change in action and inspiring others to make an impact.
Innovation: PWB offers charities and photographers a unique opportunity, and a once in a lifetime experience that is sure to create a lasting legacy through our Global Program.
(Place: Bangladesh, @triptyproject, photo by Imtiaz Rashid @instarashid)

4. Do you have a criteria for photographers? Are there specifications as to mobile or professional camera?
a. Portfolio. We accept portfolios from professional and amateur photographers. You do not need to be a photojournalist to apply in fact many of our photographers shoot everything from fashion, to weddings, to commercial work, to portrait work. It is advisable to submit work that demonstrates your abilities in shooting photo documentaries and portraits.
b. Personality/Lifestyle Characteristics. These are the qualities and characteristics of a PWB photographer otherwise known as “CARMA”: Culturally Sensitive, Adaptable, Respectful & Representative, Motivated, Adventurous, Commitment.
See the project through from start to finish and please respect our expectations and deadlines.
It is important that our photographers demonstrate adaptability and flexibility because our itineraries are not set in stone. It is important that photographers feel comfortable in new and changing situations and environments. A sense of openness to new ideas and experiences is very important as well as each day brings new challenges.
Respectful & Representative
We work with small, humble grass roots organizations that are operating in developing countries so maintaining respect for the organization’s work and operations is very important to us. Respect for local cultures and traditions are important to us as well. Making an effort to integrate into the community is important. We also value dignity and limited displays of privilege. You are also representing Photographers Without Borders while you are on an assignment, so a sense of professionalism is important.
Motivation is a key strength for our photographers, most of whom work independently. From fundraising to traveling to completing your assignment, being motivated by your passion for the project and the organization’s work is key to success in this role.
Our photographers are fearless and are not afraid to get their hands dirty! From camping to trekking, you’re up for it and you won’t make a fuss. You understand that there are risks with traveling abroad with your own camera equipment.
(Place: Vietnam @lifestartfoundation, Photo by: Kimie James @kimiejames)

5. How can people get involved in your projects?
a. Needs.
Have a need for photography/video material (that means an operating budget of less than $250,000/year or other barriers to access).
b. Volunteer Experience. Are experienced in receiving volunteers.
c. Community. Have a good working relationship with the local community, demonstrating a significant impact with the work you do.
(Place: Ghana (Bright Generation Community Foundation), Photo by: Rachael Santillan)

6. How would you define yourself standing out from other Photography initiatives?
PWB is unique in that we produce original content that both documents narratives of the inspiring work in all aspects of sustainable development all around the world and also donates the images to the causes we document for their own use. In doing so we honour the everyday heroes who are making the world a better place and we are also contributing to a more positive, empowering discourse about the Global South. We aim not only to inspire but educate our readers about the world we live in as mass media tends to tell a very narrow story in this regard. In addition we provide opportunities to photographers who wish to volunteer their time and talent to a worthy cause.
(Place: Peru @lacasadepanchita, Photo by: Jessie Chaney @jesschaneyphoto)

7. What is your target to promote via Instagram?
Storytelling is a big part of our social media practice. People like stories, and though our main component is visual storytelling through the photographs and videos, the information we put in the description is important. It can elevate a stunning photograph to a post that encourages people to get involved or raise awareness.

8. The storytelling concept is creative and interesting; do you select your photos based on it?
Yes. We receive a wide array of images to choose from upon project completion and we select images for our magazine.
(Place: Kenya, Photo by: Art Zaratsyan)

9. What are your future plans and goals?
PWB aims to tell as many stories as possible, which means we hope to increase our magazine publication to a quarterly publication by next year and we will be hosting many more workshops abroad for those beginning in photo-documentary.
(Place: Sumatra, Indonesia Photo by: Gita Defoe @gitafionaphoto)

10. How do you see yourself growing in terms of raising awareness on social media and other photography platforms?
Our goal on social media is to share the stories of amazing organizations that are changing the lives of people and animals through conservation, education, and innovation. The organizations we work with are often small and don’t have the resources to attract global attention. Without access to a large audience, it can be difficult for them to share their stories and initiatives, so we try to help amplify their work. We share fantastic work from photographers and videographers who volunteer for us with stories from the trip and the information shared with us through the organization. We try to teach people about the work being done around the world and the issues that are being tackled. We encourage people to get involved for future projects and if an organization captures their interest, to help them out or support them in numerous ways.

Looking through their photos by various photographers encourages us to feel compassion towards humanity. Their organization is an eye opener to various causes and organizations who have and are doing amazing work in serving humanity. Mahatma Gandhi had once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” We can try in our own way to take this as a motivation to be creative and find our purpose to serve others.
(Place: Ecuador, Photo by: James Kao)


Article contributed by Simran Nanwani @simirani – a passionate photographer and writer. She captures moments through her camera and iPhone. She is a freelance writer and contributor for INK361. She enjoys sharing her work through captivating moments found in daily living. To know more find her online at


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