It’s no secret that photography is a powerful medium of expression. So powerful that it’s helping Bernard Viljoen, founder and creator of I Was Shot in Joburg, transform the way vulnerable kids in Johannesburg see the world.
“It started in June of 2009,” Viljoen says, “Using my photographic skills and talent to give of my time and resources to make a positive contribution to and enrich the lives of kids who might otherwise not have had the exposure or the opportunity to develop their own photographic skills and talent”.
He wanted to enable them to see the world through different eyes and teach them to look, see, compose and capture what they see in a way they could be proud of.
The three month project initially focussed on helping kids at Twilight Children, a shelter for former street kids in Hillbrow. Now, four years later, the success of the project has allowed them to move into a permanent space at Arts on Main in the Maboneng Precinct in the Johannesburg CBD.
What makes the project so great is that it fosters photography and skills development projects that are changing live one snap at a time. “I hope I am rebranding perceptions,” says Viljoen, “Firstly my own. Secondly the perceptions of the students or former street children involved and also the perception of the general public”.
“We have turned an idea into a brand,” says Viljoen, “I love South Africa and the only way to make it a better place is contribute positively to my immediate environment”.
The best way to support this amazing work? “Support our product range which makes great corporate and personal gifts – they can visit at Arts on Main, order online or contact me,” Viljoen adds. This is Bernard Viljoen’s story of help. If you would like to help: