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Seeing for Ourselves (SFO) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2010 by George Carrano and based in Bay Shore, New York and Cape Elizabeth, Maine.  As Seeing for Ourselves started up, George took on Jonathan Fisher as the Associate Director and Storyteller along with Chelsea Davis as the Associate Director and Instructor. The tiny nonprofit has been punching above its weight ever since. George continues to serve as Executive Director, while Chelsea departed SFO in 2021 to take a position with the  NYC agency with which we partnered on our second project.

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Founder George Carrano
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Storyteller Jonathan Fisher

The origins of George's interest in participatory photography extend back to 2002, when he stumbled onto an exhibit in a London church basement.  He staged an exhibit of his own of this style of photography back in New York City in 2004. World-famous photojournalist Philip Jones Griffiths visited the show and encouraged George to found a nonprofit devoted to the practice.  George would in the interim go on to mount an exhibit of Griffiths' own works.

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We equip and train marginalized individuals to take control of their own public narrative by documenting their lives photographically. We deliver a twelve-week college-level course in the art of visual storytelling, combine the output with a backstory about the topic at hand, and promote the resultant story in a book, film, or other media. The practice is known as "participatory photography." Areas of practice to-date include public housing, criminal justice, and climate change.

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Former Instructor Chelsea Davis
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Social Media Volunteer Nuzat Choudhury

Notable fans, supporters, and sponsors
of Seeing for Ourselves programming

"Unbroken" gallery exhibit
of participatory photography
"Project Lives" book
"In a Whole New Way"
film and companion book
"My Climate Future"
The New York Times
Philip Jones Griffiths

"50 Years on the Frontlines" gallery exhibit
of Philip Jones Griffiths photography
The New York Times
Paul Newman
Susan Sarandon
Martin Sheen

The New York Times
National Public Radio
The New York Review of Books
Refinery 29
New York
Vogue Italy
NY1-TV New York
WPIX-TV New York
New York City
Former President Jimmy Carter
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray
Noam Chomsky

Palo Alto Weekly
The Cape Courier (Cape Elizabeth, ME)
The Statesman (Stony Brook, NY)
The Islip Bulletin (NY)
National Endowment for the Arts
New York City
American Probation and Parole Association
International Community Justice Association
The Council of State Governments Justice Center
Successful Reentry
Avenues for Justice
Over 200 Film Festivals the World Over
US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

US Senator Angus King (I-ME)
NYS Senator Phil Boyle (R)
ME Representative Rebecca Millet (D)
DA Jonathan Sahrbeck, Cumberland County, ME (I)
Noam Chomsky
John McEnroe

Montel Williams

The Cape Courier (Cape Elizabeth, ME)
Press Herald
The Statesman (Stony Brook, NY)

Climate Change Resources

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