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Through a Child's Eyes

August 28, 1994|ADRIENNE M. JOHNSON

It was like magic. Jim Hubbard gave a group of Native American youths cameras, and suddenly everything seemed possible. With the push of a button, they could capture the things they found beautiful or funny or truthful. Those simple point-and-shoot cameras put a whole world in their hands.

The photographs they took make up "Shooting Back From the Reservation: Another Dimension" (New Press). The work is the second collection from Shooting Back, an organization Hubbard founded in 1989 that's dedicated to increasing the self-esteem of children with limited opportunities.

The Pulitzer-Prize nominee says he's seen even the shyest kids respond to photography. "At first they're astonished at what they've done," Hubbard says. "Then they realize they have control so they hunt for pictures. And then they get ideas, they want to do books of their work. So it's a catalyst for thinking of grander things."

Shooting Back began when Hubbard rounded up volunteers to work with homeless kids. That project produced a book, a documentary and national recognition.

Since then, donations have helped set up two educational centers--in Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. Hubbard also helps other groups set up programs around the world. And he is preparing for a third project with Hmong children in California.

Meanwhile, some of the Native American photographs are being exhibited in galleries across the country. And the book awaits a chance to transport readers into a world of children's hopeful visions. As R.J., a 10-year-old Hualapai says, "When I pick up a camera, it feels like I'm going to a different dimension. The future."

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