591 Exhibition: Faces of Salem

 A Community Based Documentary Photography Project
Salem, Oregon is at a crossroads. In our families, neighborhoods, schools and workplaces we find an increasing diversity of languages, customs and beliefs. In the spirit of honoring and shedding light on Salem’s rich and expanding cultural mosaic, a team of documentary photographers emerged this year, to create the exhibit “Faces of Salem", at the Salem Multicultural Institute's "World Beat Gallery". Plus, the local newspaper, the Statesman Journal, created an on-line version of the exhibit to expand the document's impact. 

It is our hope that "Faces of Salem" can inspire other community-based collaborative documentary photography projects. Here on 591PhotographyBlog you'll see 4 images from each of the 10-image photo essays.

To create "Faces of Salem", we held monthly workshops to explain the project, review our progress, and offer each other feedback and support. Some of the photographers engaged with communities that they were drawn toward, such as the photo essays on Sikh, Buddhist, and Multiethnic. We also identified photographers from within their own ethnic communities, such as Russian Old Believer, Marshallese, Jewish, and Guatemalen.

"Faces of Salem" was coordinated by Erin Zysett of the Salem Mulitcultural Institute (www.salemmulticultural.org)
and Phil Decker, a local educator and documentary photographer

     Sikh by Marilyn Johnston

Jewish by Phil Decker


Rhonda Boocock said…
Good to see...excellent series!
mrurbano said…
You have done a great job in this process and it is also my wish that it will inspire others to create similar projects. Thank you all for ypur contribution to 591 Photography and keep on photographing!
Phil Decker said…
A special thanks to Bea Rowland for helping to create this on-line version of "Faces of Salem". Thanks to Ulf for his support and for helping to highlight this collaborative community based project.
br said…
It was a fine pleasure to work with the photos of these photographers. The group made a social commitment to encourage understanding between cultures by way of this exhibition.