Nat and Susan Tileston started the MY STORY photo project (MSppa) in 2006 with 5 Karen young people on the Thai/Myanmar border. The idea was to give them the tools to document their lives on the border through photography. MSppa has worked in Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, and Mexico.
Between them, they had over 50 years of experience working as professional photographers in New York City and Nova Scotia.
Now retired, they were looking for a way to share their skills and learn about a different culture.
MSppa raised funds, bought entry level digital cameras, talked to community-based border orgaizations and went to work. Photo workshops run for 7 to 10 days, include basic photo skills, shooting assignments, editing photos, and mounting an exhibition of the images at the end of each workshop. Photos are sold with 50% of the proceeds going to the photographer, and 50% going back to the project for the purchase of new cameras.
Over 600 participants have taken the workshops, and several of them have worked for MSppa as photo assistants.
In 2020 Covid put a stop to everything, but we are very happy to be returning to the border in December of 2022!