Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lots of Photos | 2 More Days of Kickstarter

Photo by Shoot Cameras Not Guns student Aue Mon

2 more days to donate to our Kickstarter campaign!
We've met our goal, and are now working towards our stretch goals!
Help us keep the program going and move towards a more sustainable model.

View all available prints HERE and view a selection below.

Thanks for all your support!

Friday, December 27, 2013


There's only 4 days left in 2013 to donate to Shoot Cameras Not Guns for tax deductions.

And only 4 more days to donate to our Kickstarter Crowd Funding Campaign!

Though donations to us are always tax deductible, this is the only time to get awesome rewards for donating. Check it out!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Almost There! Kickstarter 75% Funded

We're almost there!

Our Kickstarter campaign is 75% funded with 12 days to go.

NOW is your chance to donate to the cause, get a tax deduction for 2013, and get rarely available student prints!

Check it out. Watch it. Donate. Rinse & Repeat.

Monday, December 9, 2013

FREE Event tonight!

Join us tonight at The Ginn Mill in Denver for drinks, good conversation, and supporting Shoot Cameras Not Guns! Ask us any questions about our current Kickstarter, network with local international development and photography professionals.

Tonight only, all profits from the bar go to our organization. 

The Ginn Mill's weekly "Make A Difference Mondays" supports local non-profits and we're the newest addition!

RSVP on Facebook

The Ginn Mill
2041 Larimer Street
Denver, CO 80205


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Diana Sabreen on Walk The Talk with Waylon Lewis

If you missed it live on Monday, you can watch Diana Sabreen's live interview with Elephant Journal here.

Waylon (virtually) sits down with Diana Sabreen, founder of Myanmar/Burman-focused Shoot Cameras Not Guns, and learns how Photojournalism is more powerful than Oppression.

“Shoot Cameras not guns gives the people of Burma the tools and training they need to take back their freedom.” SCNG

See the Elephant Journal blog post HERE.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Live Interview Today on Elephant Journal

Join us today at 1:30pm MST for an interview with Founder and Director of Shoot Cameras Not Guns, Diana Sabreen, LIVE on Elephant Journal!

Here's the info from the Elephant Journal blog:

Live: Shoot Cameras Not Guns {Video} #walkthetalk

Via on Dec 1, 2013
ShootCameras_2Photo credit Shoot Cameras Not Guns
Join us Monday, December 2nd 2013, at 1:30 p.m. MST, for a conversation with Founder and Director of Shoot Cameras Not Guns, Diana Sabreen & Waylon Lewis hosted on Google+
Join us here:
“Shoot Cameras not guns gives the people of Burma the tools and training they need to take back their freedom.” SCNG

Thursday, November 28, 2013


We did it! Kickstarter is launched. In case you haven't signed up for email updates (on the right of this page), I'm posting the letter I just sent out to our email subscribers. Please read below. It's my most honest description about what we do and why. On this Thanksgiving Day, I'm thankful for your interest and your support.

There's a million things I'm thankful for. Friends, family, art, music, living where I live, being the person I am, doing what I do for a living and for fun. And today, like all days, one of the things I'm most grateful for is Freedom of Speech. I can say what I want, to whom I want, and I don't get arrested for it. I can create art, photographs, songs, poems, jokes, and no one comes knocking on my door to take me away. 

For a decade I've been teaching photography to marginalized communities. Populations of people who DO have to worry about disappearing for speaking their truths. People who have been systematically oppressed through violence, poverty, rape, murder and theft. Through images and creation they can take their voices back and work towards personal and political freedom. Through creation they learn a tool to counteract the destruction. There are heard. They are seen. 

We have launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign for Shoot Cameras Not Guns because, to be honest, we can't do this without you. After another few months of teaching in Burma and Thailand, I've come to the harsh realization that this project will only be sustainable if we reach out to our supporters, engage you in our work, and move towards a model that asks others for support through grants, fundraising, and smaller-scale campaigns like this one. This is a time of critical shift for Shoot Cameras Not Guns and your support helps determine the direction we go. 

Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing fundraising campaign. If we meet our modest $5000 goal, we get it all (and anything past it). If we don't meet our goal, we get nothing. To share a secret with you, my personal goal is $15,000. That will allow us to make this thing really take off, move towards a sustainable model, and continue to do this important work. Watch the video. Donate. Get awesome gifts for donating, and feel your pride soar. Send link to friends. Repeat.

We are wrapping up work with our students in Burma (Myanmar). We are exhibiting their work internationally so that you can see it, learn from it, be thankful for your own freedoms, and empower others to find theirs. We just learned that one of our students was recently imprisoned for participating in a peaceful protest against land-grabbing, the ever increasing practice of the government taking people's land for their own use, or to sell to (mostly foreign) business. This is the new Myanmar you've heard so much about. The one that tourists are flocking to and businesses are investing in. 

We have a lot of work to do. When we meet our goal, we can complete this year's work and bring it to you. When we blow past our goal, we can create more programming for at-risk youth in the United States, journalists and activists in Burma and those who have fled to Thailand, and those in need of a voice all over this small world we call home. 

I am thankful for my voice. I am thankful for YOUR voice. I am thankful for the rights I take advantage of every day, and those that I forget that I even have. Help me share our good fortune. 
Wishing you a very happy and healthy holiday season. 
Go create. 

Diana Sabreen
Founder & Director
Shoot Cameras Not Guns

Beers for Burma

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Kickstarter Rewards!

Kickstarter donors of $25 or up get to choose from awesome student photos.

Here are some samples of what's available.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Kickstarter Launching Soon!

We'll soon be launching a Kickstarter fundraising campaign, allowing a rare opportunity for supporters to purchase prints of student photos! We'll also be creating a photo book of student work and offering workshops by SCNG teachers. Yay!

Keep updated by our mailing list (sign up to the right), Facebook and Twitter so you don't miss out!

Here are some beautiful photos that will be available for campaign contributors...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"A Portrait of Yangon" Up Through April 28th l Yangon, Burma

If you didn't make it to the opening party, you can still come see the student work!
Photographers are activists and journalists based in Yangon.
The exhibit will run through the 28th of April.
Gallery is open 9am-5pm every day.
Check out the book release party on the night of the 28th!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Yangon Show this Friday! l Yangon, Burma (Myanmar)

We're pleased to present the first ever Shoot Cameras Not Guns Photographers exhibit in Yangon, Burma (Myanmar)!!
This is an opportunity that we have been working towards for years. 
Public gatherings, art, and truthful dialogue are becoming more accepted and legal in Burma. We're excited and honored to be an active part in both the change, and the results.
Come by if you're in town!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chiang Mai Documentary Arts Festival l Chiang Mai, Thailand

Hong Sar speaks on the Burma Photographers Panel.
What an inspiring conference!
One week of documentary arts was not enough for us.  That's right, Shoot Cameras Not Guns combined teaching and learning for a full week in Chiang Mai.  The second annual Chiang Mai Documentary Arts Festival (CDAF) was a jam-packed week of documentaries, gallery shows, talks, workshops, discussions and networking.  
Many of the finest filmmakers, photojournalists and human rights activists working in Southeast Asia were in attendance. 
Ian gets an explanation of one of Ryan's prints, won in the silent auction!
The week started with a panel on photojournalism in Burma. One of Diana's first students, Hong Sar, was on the panel, a very proud moment for them both! We were treated to amazing documentaries every day, and top-notch workshops as well.  Ian was particularly excited by the DSLR film making workshop taught by the conference organizer, Ryan Libre.  

Photographer and DAA founder Ryan Libre thanks guests for attending CDAF.
We were able to teach a photo workshop in conjunction with the festival too, and introduced many new colleagues to our organization and programs. 

Lucie Awards founder Hossein Farmani auctions of a 1000 Baht bill to warm up bidders for the silent auction!
We were also lucky enough to get to know most of the presenters and attendees over the course of the week. It looks like we will be able to use what we learned at the conference right away, and hope to be collaborating with some of our new colleagues very soon.  Special thanks to Documentary Arts Asia (DAA) for putting on the festival!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hong Sar's video of photo class in Chiang Mai

Our friend, Hong Sar, taught with us the second day at the Best Friends Library in Chiang Mai. He also shot and edited this video of the class. A great teacher, and a great photographer and videographer.
Thanks to Hong Sar for putting this together! Visit Hong Sar's website too:

Towards the end of the video you see the kids moving lights around in the air. This is an activity we did called "light painting" or "light graffiti." We use a darker room, and long exposure to create drawings or paintings in the air. The kids love it and it helps them understand the concepts of exposure and light capture in photography.

Friday, February 15, 2013

First Sangklahburi workshop finished!


*Note: Some specific names of individuals and organizations are not included, to protect them as they carry out sensitive journalism inside Burma (Myanmar).

Our first week-long workshop has finished, and it was a great success! For the last week we had 20 students learning about photography mechanics, shooting photo essays, and learning about photojournalism ethics.

Our students are all from Mon State inside Burma, and are in Sangklahburi, Thai side of the border, participating in a variety of capacity-building classes and workshops hosted by the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM.) The students represented 6 different NGOs that are working on behalf of the Mon people in their homeland, and on behalf of Mon refugees residing in the border area. These nationless people have fled violence and oppression over the last 25 years.

The students were all enthusiastic and worked hard to learn the skills and professional practices that we taught. In turn, we learned more about the Mon people, the dynamic political situation within Monland, and what life is like for short-term and long-term refugees stuck in the border region.

Despite language hurdles we were able to help every last student put together and present a photo essay with well-composed photos and captions; and about half of them were able to publish their essays on their brand new blogs. This was a very exciting thing for individuals who have been working to tell the world their stories for years, and who now feel like they can in a meaningful way.

A very big "Thank you!" to Aue Mon, a former student of Diana's from 2006 who is now helping run HURFOM. He coordinated our workshop before we arrived in Thailand, and served as a translator throughout the entire week of class, while participating in all of the class activities as a student as well! We could have not done this workshop without his help, and for that we are very grateful.

As is sometimes the case, many of the rewards of teaching come after the final class has ended. For us this was the case our last night in Sangklahburi. Our students hosted a dinner party because we are moving on to the Chiang MaiDocumentary Arts Festival, and one of their english teachers, Ben, is moving on as well. We had a wonderful traditional Mon dinner, followed by some impromptu singing, dancing and even improv comedy on the part of two of our more outgoing students. Diana and I were coaxed up on stage at one point, where we entertained our students with our dancing, singing and beat-boxing skills to a song that neither of us knew, and that seemed to last for ever. As we sat there recovering, watching the unbridled merriment, Diana pointed out to me that what we were witnessing was even more amazing when you consider that a party like this would literally be illegal in their homeland, just 30 kilometers to the west over the Thai/Burma border. With this idea, my smile deepened as I watched our students take photo after photo of each other capturing their temporary reality forever.         

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Shoot Cameras Not Guns has arrived in Thailand!

We arrived safely in Thailand two weeks ago, and everything is going well so far!  As with most international travel, there has been a good deal of physical and cultural adjustment.  The frigid mountains of Colorado have been replaced by sweltering, crowded streets of Bangkok.  The smooth and simple transportation of the States has given way to logistical challenges, round-about routes and (mostly) safe-enough conveyance.  Ubiquitous American English and constant global media onslaught at home has calmed to simple speech, and murmurs of dozens of foreign conversations all around. We have finally leapt over the final technological hurdles so that we can stay digitally connected to friends, supporters and collaborators here and abroad.  Our minds are calming, our hearts are opening, and we're itching to get our show on the road!  
        We have spent our days here in Bangkok reconnecting with students, colleagues & old friends that Diana knows from her first voyage here 7 years ago when Shoot Cameras Not Guns was created.  They are very excited to have Diana and the project back in their "neighborhood"  and are looking forward to working with SCNG in its expanded form.  We have also been preparing, scheduling and finalizing details of the first round of workshops that we will be teaching along the Thai/ Burma border soon.  
Five levels of electronics at Pantip Plaza in Bangkok!
     Our first workshops will be in Sangkluburi, where the project was born. February 4-8 we will be teaching photography and photojournalism to NGO workers and journalists from Burma (Myanmar) for HURFOM (Human Rights Foundation of Mon-land).  
Immediately following our first stint in Sangklaburi we will be traveling to Chiang Mai and teaching workshops as part of the Chiang Mai Documentary Arts Festival (February 8th- 14th.)  During these workshops we will be working with migrant workers, and expanding our connections to the human rights community in the region.
     We are very excited to be underway, and happy to report that our entry phase has been positive, productive and invigorating!  

Ian getting familiar with the flashy and blinky aspects of Bangkok