His name is a chosen nameBingwa, from the Swahili word for champion. He is an actor by profession, but most of the time he is Bingwa, the human magnet. Around him, drawn by his radiating warmth and confidence, are the kids he has pulled together in the Venice Dream Team.
Bingwa, in the 1970s was a restless young African American in Oakland, CA. To channel his energy, he tried a stint in community theater and then moved on to Venice, CA, a noisy, funky place, close enough to Los Angeles to have an LA air. Venices beach and bustling boardwalk evoke its turn-of-the-century heyday as The Coney Island of the West. People still go there to have fun. Tourists wander around. Body-builders work out on Muscle Beach. And there were kids looking as if they had nothing to do.
In Venice Bingwa found his mission: putting kids and cameras together in a teamthe Venice Dream Team.
Kids as young as seven join the Team, and they usually stay into their early teens. Even though each kid develops a personal photographic eye, the Team is what each shoots for and works for. Its a Team, Bingwa says. We dont have stars.
The Venice Dream Team is always in motion: travel, take pictures, print and exhibit the photographs, sell themand use the money to travel again.
p h o t o c r e d i t s :
29Jeremy Espinoza Venice, CA
30Jeremy Espinoza Venice, CA
31Jeremy Espinoza Venice, CA
32Jeremy Espinoza Venice, CA
36TeAmir Sweeny New York, NY
37TeAmir Sweeny New York, NY
38TeAmir Sweeny New York, NY