Twenty Lakota high school students from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota recently used Carnegie Mellon University's robotic GigaPan camera to document their community.
"GigaPan is a tool that enables people to share their experiences and their environments, helping all of us develop a deeper understanding of other cultures," said Illah Nourbakhsh, associate professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon. "The Lakota people have much to tell and we're happy that GigaPan will help them do it."
During the four-day workshop held as part of National Geographic's second Pine Ridge Photo Camp, National Geographic contributing photographer Lynn Johnson briefed students on photographic vision, equipment and technique. Students were also guided through the process of creating a story through photography and writing.
Nourbakhsh and Dror Yaron from Carnegie Mellon's CREATE Lab instructed the students on the use of GigaPan cameras, which generate panoramic images that can be explored in great detail via computer.
The young photographers explored Pine Ridge and the surrounding areas, documenting their interpretation of the current status of the "Seventh Generation," a group of Lakota destined since the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee to heal the wounds of persecution, dispossession and assimilation suffered by their ancestors.
The camp was presented by National Geographic in partnership with the SuAnne Big Crow Boys and Girls Club and the CREATE Lab in Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute.
National Geographic Photo Camp has provided programs for more than 850 young people in over 40 locations since 2003. This year Photo Camps have been held in Botswana; Jordan; Olympic National Park, Wash.; and at National Marine Sanctuaries near Florida and California.
GigaPan was developed as part of the Global Connection Project, a joint effort of Carnegie Mellon, National Geographic, NASA's Ames Research Center and Google Inc.
Photo: Katie Zacher/National Geographic Photo Camp 2008, Pine Ridge