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Sept. 3: Carnegie Mellon's GigaPan To Help Lakota Teens Document Community at National Geographic Photo Camp


Byron Spice                  
For National Geographic:
Ann Barrett

Carnegie Mellon's GigaPan To Help Lakota Teens
Document Community at National Geographic Photo Camp

photocampPITTSBURGH—Twenty Lakota high school students from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota will learn how Carnegie Mellon University's GigaPan robotic camera can help them document their community next week during National Geographic's second Pine Ridge Photo Camp.
The teenagers, all members of the prophesied "Seventh Generation" of Lakota people, will photograph, edit and design a portrait of the Oglala Lakota Native American Tribe during the four-day photo camp, which begins Sunday, Sept. 6. The camp is presented by National Geographic in partnership with the SuAnne Big Crow Boys and Girls Club and the CREATE (Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment) Lab in Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute.
During the four-day workshop, National Geographic contributing photographer Lynn Johnson will brief students on photographic vision, equipment and technique, while guiding them through the process of creating a story through photography and writing. The young photographers will explore 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.
Illah Nourbakhsh and Dror Yaron from the CREATE Lab will instruct the students on the use of GigaPan robotic cameras, which generate panoramic images that can be explored via computer. 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.
"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 Nourbakhsh, associate professor of robotics. "The Lakota people have much to tell and we're happy that GigaPan will help them do it."
"We hope that Photo Camp 2009 will provide students with a unique lens on the world and help spotlight their role in improving the lives of the Lakota people and helping rebuild the Lakota Nation," said Terry Garcia, National Geographic's executive vice president for Mission Programs. "We are honored to participate in this endeavor."
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. Visit for more information.


Photo Credit: Katie Zacher/National Geographic
Photo Camp 2008, Pine Ridge