15. Wendy Ewald

In this episode, Wendy Ewald shares her Photographic Memory: an image taken on large format Polaroid film, by an Indigenous Mexican boy named Sebastián Gómez Hernández titled ‘The Devil is Spying on the Girls’.

For more than 40 years, Wendy has put cameras in the hands of children to help them look at their lives, their families and their communities, specifically encouraging them to make images of their fantasies and dreams.

Wendy has worked in countries all over the world from South Africa to Saudi Arabia, and India to Israel. Her projects are long term and immersive – living in the community and also creating her own series if images during the program. Wendy often asks the collaborators to alter her photos by drawing or writing on them adding to the storytelling of the culture. Her work isn’t directly political but it promotes inclusion, celebrates diversity and encourages open-mindedness.

Website: wendyewald.com

Instagram: @wendytewald


05:26: Wendy’s Photographic Memory by Sebastián Gómez Hernández “The Devil Is Spying On The Girls”, Mexico 1991

01:16: Wendy’s project, and latterly, book: Portraits and Dreams from when she started working in the Appalachian Mountains in 1975. Where she asked children to bring to life their dreams, fears, and lives through photography

02:09: Towards a Promised Land – a project, and book, based in Margate – Wendy worked with children, who escaped their war torn countries, over 18 months interviewing them about their past and present lives whilst teaching them to make their own photographs.

16:55: This Is Where I Live – project from 2010-2013.

18:07: Learning Through Photography project in Tanzania – 2007 – on going

24:30 – Wendy talks about her project in Chicago over lockdown; Towards A Common Cause

25:20: The PBS Documentary on Portraits and Dreams revisited

34:14: The Best Part of Me – book by Wendy Ewald

Further Reading