Summer Internship Series: Photography in Peru

Julia Tallant ’20
Intern, FairMail, Huanchaco, PeruJulia tallant exploring photography in peru

I am Julia Tallant, and I am a sophomore Studio Art and Spanish double major. This past summer I was lucky enough to be able to intern with a fair trade photography company in Huanchaco, Peru, where I spent about 3.5 months living and working.

The basis of the company I interned for (FairMail) was to provide underprivileged Peruvian teenagers with DSLR cameras and to train them to take photos for greeting cards, and the teenagers receive 60% of the profits to use for their education, housing, and healthcare.

I was responsible for teaching photography classes 3 times a week and offering make up lessons for the kids who couldn’t make it. I created presentations introducing different themes and topics for each week. My favorite topic was our three-week unit on animals during which we had puppies in class every day. I would also give suggestions to the kids on how they could improve their photos and make them more appealing to potential customers, and I also selected the photos to be sent to my bosses in Europe so that they could select the final greeting cards.

I spent my final week with the bi-annual FairMail photography trip. Four of the teenagers with the best conduct were selected to go on the trip to a city in northern Peru with me, one of the owners of FairMail, a volunteer, and two tourists. The purpose of these trips is to give the kids more opportunities to take photos that can be become greeting cards and to also give them the opportunity to get to know different parts of their country. During that week, I taught them about the Principles of Design, which are fundamental guidelines for creating a successful work of art that I learned a lot about in my Denison art classes.

I was very lucky to work with talented instructors and a dedicated staff at FairMail. My first month and a half at FairMail, I co-taught the classes with my fellow instructor, Viky Bo. After she left, I realized how much work went into planning the lessons alone, and I am very grateful for her sharing that workload with me as I was starting out my internship. The two managers of the FairMail team, Angeles Acevedo Bobadilla and Anidela Rios Pizan, provided me with a lot of support throughout my internship, especially when it came to the more technical side with computers and what not, and I am very grateful for their patience and friendship. The two owners of FairMail, Peter Den Hond and Janneke Smeulders, answered a lot of my questions before I arrived to Peru and helped me a lot during the photography trip, and I am grateful for their support and suggestions on how to improve my teaching.

My summer with FairMail has helped me realize how much I want to work in a creative field, especially one that is Spanish-speaking. Additionally, working with a company that puts bettering community it works with first and seeing the positive effects it has had on the community has inspired also challenged me to consider the field of International Development, which is something I had never thought about before I went to Peru. Overall, I think that this internship has challenged me to think about where I want to be in the future and helped me gain skills that I know I will use for the rest of my life.