Robyne Hayes Photography

is creating photography, photovoice, multimedia, painting
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About Robyne Hayes Photography

Photography and Photovoice
This is my 20th year of working within communities that are not my own, starting with serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Samoa. My motivations have never changed – a deep curiosity about people and cultures and striving for a meaningful life. However, the way I approach this work has changed drastically. The most conscientious and impactful role I can take is to reach out to the most marginalized, misrepresented, or invisible members of the community and provide them with a platform to share their own views and vision

Words don’t come easily to me. I value photography because I can use my photographs to share how I see the world and my place in it. As a photographer trained in gender and qualitative research, I combine my artistic passion and my skills in qualitative methods, program evaluation, facilitation, and strategies for protecting vulnerable populations to create a powerful tool for marginalized communities.

It is my goal that by sharing the way I have found my strongest voice, I might help others find their own. I want the participants of my photovoice projects to understand how their voice and their actions have the ability to affect change. 

Your support will fund my current project: 
What Moves You? What Would Move Me?
A Photovoice Project with Youth and Women in Latino Immigrant Farmworker Families
The Agriculture Region near Chico, CA

Amplifying the unique voices of two underserved communities: youth and women in Latino immigrant farmworker families, by creatively telling their stories through a series of photovoice workshops.

In this project, participants are asked to express their points of view by photographing their lives through guided assignments. The tangible outcomes are a series of evocative images and stories that highlight issues that matter most to them. Together, these narratives are used to create pathways for dialogue and action, mobilize change-makers, and understand the needs of the community. The result is a stronger and more resilient community in which all voices are acknowledged. 

One of the most important outcomes of this project will be creating a safe space for the youth and women in the immigrant community to share their stories and build their networks of support. Ideally they will be better able to express their needs, access the services available to them, and share their knowledge with peers outside the group. The unique aspect of this project is that it is a participatory approach, designed so participants drive the discussions and identify what is important to them. The goal is to drastically change the power dynamics between the participants, the organizations they normally work with, and the larger community.

Stronger and more resilient communities happen when everyone’s voices are recognized and all members of the community can advocate effectively for their needs.

Why these stories matter.
Immigrants in the United States are among the most vulnerable populations in our nation; this is particularly true for females and youth. Currently it is estimated that there are 2.5 million farmworkers in the United States. Seventy-six percent of farmworkers in the US are foreign born and seventy-seven percent speak Spanish as their dominant language. Half of these farmworkers are parents, and most of these parents have minor children who reside with them year-round. Farmworker children usually experience compounding challenges due to immigration status, language barriers, and substandard housing conditions.

Women represent roughly 32% of farmworkers. Female farmworkers face significant hurdles that impact their access to health care, legal justice, and education. They are subjected to poor occupational safety and have an increased vulnerability to abuse and violence.

“Vulnerability is the very thing that permits us to connect with each other, to recognize in others the same discomfort they have with themselves and with their place in the world. Vulnerability is the engine of compassion, and can be a superpower, a special vision that allows us to see the quivering, wounded inner world that most of us possess.”
                                                                                 - Nick Cave

Finally, through the sharing of the images and stories, I hope we can contribute to changing the current, national narrative of immigrants. We must move away from the vilification and criminalizing of immigrants to developing better compassion and understanding as a nation. I want to remove the barriers that make people view immigrants as an “us vs. them” dichotomy, and recognize that the only difference between us is the luck of where we were born, or the color of our skin. I want people to see themselves reflected in the stories of the women and youth we work with and how similar we really are.

What your donations mean to me.

Your donations will support:
  • Workshop and Equipment Expenses: 25 cameras, memory cards, printing photographs and workshop materials.
  • Exhibit and Advocacy work: Final printed materials, exhibit hardware including frames, backdrops, flyers and marketing materials, meeting expenses.
  • Travel, meals and lodging. 

Fierce desire to give a voice to the most marginalized: In 2013, through my evaluation work on Child Marriage programs, I realised that there was a lack of voices from the participants - the young married girls - and I knew they had a story to tell. I developed and self-fundraised for an additional Photovoice component to the qualitative analysis. For this Photovoice project, ten young married girls in Ethiopia were given cameras for a week and asked to document their lives. After being taught how to use a camera, they spent a week taking pictures. At the end of this time they shared their photographs and stories with the group. Normally isolated, without friendships or a voice in their homes or community, the photographs provided each of the participants the opportunity to share their stories. The images revealed a beautifully intimate portrait of their lives. I believe it was one of the first Photovoice project to ever work with young married girls.

The participatory aspect of the Photovoice method proved to be a powerful tool for evaluations and advocacy. In 2017, I worked with CARE again to incorporate a Photovoice component to their evaluation of their Tipping Point Program, in Nepal and Bangladesh. And most recently I have volunteered with Project X, a rights-based sex worker organization in Singapore, to use the Photovoice method in conjunction with an analysis of the media landscape to understand the bias towards sex workers. For the Photovoice project I worked directly with the sex worker community to create an exhibit which highlights their actual voices in an effort to humanize them and stand in direct contradiction to the images and stereotypes deliberately perpetuated the local media.

$48 of $2,000 per month
Payment towards the final exhibition! 
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