With multiple immigrant communities in Pico Union (LA), the photo workshops brought together the diverse cultures and ethnic groups from the area in new ways.

These were participants from separate backgrounds with a sense of dissociation from one another. The camera was a handy tool to glean tremendous insight of someone’s feelings and circumstances.

Empathy does not come about by just imagining what the other person is going through.  With English as the mother tongue for most, the partners had to engage with one another not only taking mindful portraits, but also sharing their background, story, circumstances as much as they felt comfortable doing.

In the final session, each participant was handed his / her partner’s photo and was asked to re-tell the story he had heard over four sessions in the first person. By allowing participants to actively listen to the other’s narrative, and then to walk in each other’s shoes by taking on another’s story are amazing tools to connect person to person across the divide.

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