The Vanuatu Tourism Organisation (VTO) has just signed up one of its staff for a mentoring program I established this year for emerging photographers in the South Pacific.
Alcina Charlie (pictured on the left) is the first student in the program which is jointly sponsored by the national tourism authority.
Participation is by invitation only.
Alcina has accompanied me on two assignments of Vanuatu already and has shown particular initiative and great promise. It is testament to both the eye she is developing, and her abilities, that I could easily sprinkle several of the pictures she captured from the last shoot we did together into my presentation – and no one would know the difference.
Technologies have advanced and the VTO has invested in a compact camera that can rival most 35mm professional gear which I’ve been teaching Alcina to use. As I’ve written before, 70% of the photographs in a destination’s promotional library can be shot by someone with the right camera, a trained eye and the know-how needed to process the pictures to international standards. Training Pacific islanders to do this, while strengthening the promotional photo libraries of the tourism authorities I work with, is the objective of this mentoring program.
Key training aspects of the program include developing an eye for capturing promotional images, understanding what is required of travel and tourism photographs in the international marketplace, shooting and processing photographs to professional standards and managing a national tourism authority’s photo library. Importantly, a component of the program is also devoted to recording and promoting the host country’s traditional culture and providing assistance to grass-root tourism operators in the country.
Training will be intense when we travel together (field work in the day, revision and homework at night). Outside of that, my office will provide inter-active training modules in specialised areas of travel and tourism photography, quality control templates and remote support to Alcina where required on an on-going basis.
I’d like to think its a worthwhile initiative – credit to everyone in the VTO for embracing it – one which I’m hopeful will be taken up over time and shared by emerging photographers and tourism authorities throughout the region.
…….in the meantime Alcina – given the quality of your shots already – I wouldn’t be standing too close to the edge of that volcano the next time you’re up there with me.