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Polaroid Project honors Louisville photographer killed in protests

Published: Oct. 9, 2021 at 4:13 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 9, 2021 at 6:13 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A picture is worth a thousand words, and for one group of kids each shot they take is a shot of inspiration.

“The first time I came here, I didn’t think it was going to be fun,” student Jahari Ramsey said. “I thought it was going to be boring.”

Ramsey is one of the students taking part in the Polaroid Project, distributing free cameras to more than 150 kids in grades K-12.

With each picture, Ramsey said he realizes that just like sports photography can be a hobby too.

“I’ll probably take some pictures of a basketball rim because I like playing basketball,” Ramsey said. “Probably someone taking a jump shot.”

The program was created back in 2020 allowing students to learn about photography, art, expression and activism, emphasizing on social justice and mental health.

A local non-profit with a connection to photography offered up a gift in support. Building Equal Bridges: The Tyler Gerth Foundation presented a check of $10,000 on Saturday for an additional year of the project.

“They have received Polaroid cameras; each student has received a Polaroid camera and they will be able to utilize it throughout the school year, this is a school-year long program,” Brittany Lowen, president of Building Equal Bridges, The Tyler Gerth Foundation said.

Lowen’s brother Gerth was just 27-years-old when he was shot during the social justice protests last summer at Jefferson Square Park.

Gerth was a photographer himself. His family said he always found ways to give back and they are using the foundation to make a difference in the community.

“A piece of Tyler’s journey of self-discovery, and really finding purpose in life, was a trip he took out west with just his camera that really severed as a catalyst in what he wanted to do in his life,” Lowen said.

“I think he’s inspiring and someone I could look up to,” Ramsey said.

Over the school year, the students will be mentored by local photographers and learn more about their cameras.

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