Meet the teacher who's trying to turn gunshots into camera shots.

His movement is a step away from gun violence and a step toward peace.

This teacher found a brilliant way way to respond to gun violence ... through a camera lens.

Photo by Yasin Osman/#ShootForPeace; all images used with permission.

Yasin Osman has lived in the crime-rattled neighborhood of Regent Park in Toronto, Canada, all his life and is thus all too familiar with gun violence. He's seen friends shot before his eyes and says most locals have had at least one friend or relative shot dead.



As Yasin grew up, he also grew tired of hearing the same gun-related stories over and over again. He wanted to find a way to change the conversation from one of fear and hate into one of art and creativity.

Yasin began a project called #ShootForPeace — an idea born out of a weekly excursion he took with kids from the neighborhood, several cameras, and the goal of teaching how to take great photos.

Photo courtesy of Yasin Osman.

As a local early childhood educator and professional photographer, Yasin was the perfect person to lead this charge.

The project started because of a conversation he had with the kids about Instagram, Yasin told Upworthy. 

"A few of the kids were asking me about my Instagram photos one day. They had very specific questions like 'How do you blur the background?' and 'How do you take a photo of a moving car?'" he explained. 

"What sparked the idea for #ShootForPeace was because of how interested they were in the technical aspect of photography."

He formed a photography group made of 12 kids between the ages of 8 and 16 and started small — photographing Regent Park — but they quickly branched out to the surrounding neighborhoods, areas many of the kids had never even seen.

Photo by 16-year-old Ali Shali.

"The first week we had class, kids couldn't wait to get their hands on the cameras. They wanted to shoot everything, especially the CN tower. It was very inspiring," recalled Yasin.

The idea was to get the kids to see "shooting" as a creative outlet rather than a destructive one.

Photo by 10-year-old Adam Elisar.

The classes are simple enough — they usually meet on Sundays and head to a predetermined spot where Yasin gives the kids a photography challenge. 

Photo by 12-year-old Mutada Abdelkarim.

Not only is Yasin seeing the kids' enthusiasm for photography grow, he's noticing they're becoming truly gifted "shooters." 

For example, Mumu (short for Mutada), one of his youngest students, came to class not even knowing how to turn on a camera and would often take photos with the lens cap still on. Now, he's schooling some of the class' most esteemed photography mentors.

According to Yasin, when Charlie Lindsay (a well-known NBA photographer) came by one of the classes, he tried to explain to Mumu how to photograph a ball in mid-air without a blur only to be startled by Mumu interrupting him, "[you change the] shutter speed!" 

"Charlie's face was priceless," Yasin recalls. "He looked over at me and said, 'How old are these kids and how are they shooting on manual already?'"

Yasin just laughed and told him the kids were geniuses. 

The best thing about the class is that it's just as rewarding for Yasin as the teacher as it is for his students.

When you finally get the shot you've been waiting for so patiently. #ShootForPeace - see the rest on snapchat: riceandbananas

A video posted by Toronto | #ShootForPeace (@yescene) on

"My favorite thing is seeing the joy on their faces when they take a shot that they like and how eager they are to show one another. They remind me every Sunday why I love photography," said Yasin.

If this sounds like a project you'd like to bring to your own neighborhood, Yasin has some sound advice:

"Talk to the kids. Don’t start anything until you consult them and ask them what they’re interested in," he says.

Photo by Yasin Osman.

Yasin fervently believes #ShootForPeace belongs to his students just as much  — if not more — than to himself. 

Their ideas about how the class should be run are vital to its success, he said, and giving them ownership over the class means they'll give it their all when they show up, and the beautiful shots will keep on coming.

Photo by 13-year-old Houzayfa Zene.

More
Photo by Toni Hukkanen on Unsplash

Are looks more important than the ability to get through a long work day without ending up with eyes so dry and painful you wish you could pop tem out of your face? Many employers in Japan don't permit their female employees to wear glasses while at work. Big shocker, male employees are totally allowed to sport a pair of frames. The logic behind it (if you can call it that) is that women come off as "cold" and "unfeminine" and – horror of all horrors – "too intelligent."

Women are given excuses as to why they can't wear glasses to work. Airline workers are told it's a safety thing. Beauty industry workers are told they need to see makeup clearly. But men apparently don't have the same safety issues as women, because they're allowed to wear their glasses square on the face. Hospitality staff, waitresses, receptionists at department stores, and nurses at beauty clinics are some of the women who are told to pop in contacts while they're on the clock.

Keep Reading Show less
via The Guardian / YouTube

Beluga whales are affectionately known as sea canaries for their song-like vocalizations, and their name is the Russian word for "white."

They are sociable animals that live, hunt, and migrate together in pods, ranging from a few individuals to hundreds of whales. However, they are naturally reticent to interact with humans, although some solitary belugas are known to approach boats.

Once such beluga that's believed to live in Norwegian waters is so comfortable among humans that it played fetch with a rugby ball.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

No reward comes without risk - or in the case of Vilnius - risqué. The capitol city of Lithuania has a population of 570,000 and regularly makes lists as an underrated and inexpensive European destination. Lonely Planet called it a "hidden gem" of Europe. In 2016, it was rated the third cheapest destination for a bachelor party in Europe by FairFX. And you've probably never heard of it. In August of 2018, the city started running racy ads to increase tourism, calling it the "G-spot of Europe." The ad features a woman grabbing a map of Europe, clutching the spot where Vilnius is located. "Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it – it's amazing," reads the caption.

VILNIUS - THE G-SPOT OF EUROPE youtu.be

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The truth doesn't hurt for an elementary school teacher in California who's gone viral for teaching her class an empowering remix of one of Lizzo's hit songs.

Ms. Mallari — who teaches at Los Medanos Elementary School in Pittsburg, east of San Francisco — took the singer's song, "Truth Hurts," and reworked the lyrics to teach her students how to be great.

Lizzo's song made history this year for being the longest running number one single from a female rap artist. The catchy original lyrics are about boy problems, but Mallari's remix teaches her students about fairness, helping each other out, and embracing their own greatness.

Keep Reading Show less
popular