PictureAid - the past
PictureAid started out as an ambition, a dream and a burning idea. Can one man and his camera be able to make an actual change in developing countries and the societies he visits? Kristian Harby from the small and idylic town of Naeroset in Norway was under the impression that he could.. In 2010, at the age of 25, he quit his job and gave everything he had to give life to his dream. He named it PictureAid. His dream would soon develop into a concept that provides organizations, companies and individuals a choice in decorating their walls - a choice of photography art that is not only inspiring and beautiful to look at, but also makes an actual difference in the lifes of those captured. "Capture the moment - and give back"
A Interview with founder Kristian Harby, made by our friends at Itera Networks:
Man on fire
Every time Itera Networks closes a great deal with a customer, they celebrate through buying a new picture from PictureAid to their office. I met the man behind PictureAid. A man so enthusiastic that he sets both himself and the people he meets on fire. Ironically, it was a fire that really shot Kristian Harby’s idea off from its ramp two years ago. PictureAid’s purpose is uncomplicated: With every picture sold – education is given back to a child in need. Kristian’s ambition is that the idea of PictureAid spreads globally, and that young, passionate photographers, like himself, share children’s histories of hopes, dreams and joy. Kristian Harby from Næroset wants to change the world one picture at a time.
- This is not a charitable organization. It is meant as a project based on social entrepreneurship. My initial idea came from the desire to be able to give something back to the people, societies and destinies I am privileged enough to meet and capture on my camera around the world. The profit from these fantastic and touching experiences does not need to end up as merely the feeling of looking at great pictures, or maybe hanging one up on your living room wall. There must be a way to close the circle and return profit to the ones who bestowed these impressions upon you in the first place.
The rest of the concept fell into place when it occurred to me how much money is hung on office walls around the world every year – based on tips from interior designers or just the need to have something to decorate the large white walls with. What do these decorations really mean to the people looking at them every day? I wanted to give them wall decorations that can mean something to them. They can look at them and know that through buying this picture they are making a difference and at the same time it tells them a story and represents a window out to the world that surrounds us. I want them to see stories that emanate joy and hope, not sadness or poverty, says Kristian Harby.
Kristian had carried the idea of PictureAid around with him for quite a while when he one day decided to quit his job and go to Africa to start his mission. He was a 26 year old man with a huge dream, a few savings and (according to him) a generous amount of naïve guts. His Mac was full of pictures from his last trip, and everything he had worked on for the last months in preparation for blowing life into his dream. Two days prior to his take off for Africa his apartment went up in flames. Inside it was his Mac, and he had no backup. He cursed his stupidity, and he cursed even more when he saw the fireman who had risked his own safety to enter the burning apartment to fetch it, lose the grip and drop it from the top of the ladder. But the neighbors and the firemen weren’t the only ones witnessing this young man’s reaction and complete despair. The media were also there, and they wanted to tell the story of the man with the Mac and the giant dream. See the film about “the fire that took so much but ended up giving so much more back” (in Norwegian). The fire ended up giving Kristian and PictureAid publicity estimated to a value of approximately 2 million NOK. The insurance money helped him survive for just long enough to start off PictureAid properly and the “surgeons” at Ibas were able to recover almost all of the pictures on his Mac…
At this point PictureAid has established bases through the national Red Cross in Lesotho and a local children’s home in Johannesburg. Kristian wants local resources to administrate PictureAid’s bases and at the same time be able to generate employment for the society around the children who receive help. His dream is to have a map of the world on PictureAid’s homepage which, in time, will show an enormous web of connections going to all the locations where PictureAid has planted its roots, to all the edges of the planet – making a world of difference.