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Finding Old Shatterhand

My Photo scholarship 2011 entry

Worldwide | Wednesday, 24 August 2011 | flickr photos

A little more than a decade ago, the city of Medellin was still a contender for "the murder capital of the world." Devastated by a raging war between the FARC and Colombian authorities, the poorer communities of the city, located in large part on the hills surrounding Aburrá Valley, had little chance to develop.
I traveled to Colombia this past summer, driven by the same thirst for incessant exploration that has kept me studying science during my undergraduate years. I consider myself a child of two worlds: at my day job, I study the brain. On the weekends, I pick up my camera and search for characters and places that fascinate and inspire me. Both allow me to do what I love best: stay curious, and in awe.
What really struck me about Colombia was its air of undying optimism. A country that has experienced civil war for so long is now lifting itself up through a wave of civic activism. In no other city is this more apparent than in Medellin, with its symbolic Metro system, its progressive campaigns and its recently built cable cars that are changing the face of previously isolated poor neighborhoods. While exploring barrio Santo Domingo, I found myself telling part of a story about a renewed sense of safety and of hope that permeates both Medellin and most of Colombia.
I am applying to the World Nomads scholarship because I have not ever really given myself the chance to be a photographer. To photograph for National Geographic has always been a dream of mine, one that went hand in hand with the promise to myself that I will see the entire world. But for one reason or another, no matter how thrilling the rush of an expedition, how great the joy of making, collecting and editing so many images... I never gathered the courage to start. That, I hope, ends here.

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