Imaginário Coletivo, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children and teenagers living in impoverished areas of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, through the art of photography, is the brainchild of Jorge Quintão.
In 2012, Quintão was introduced to Natália Menhem, organizer of TEDxBeloHorizonte. Enchanted with the project, Menhem asked Quintão if he would organize an exhibition of the students’ work at the event, and give a short talk on the impact of the project on the local community.
The experience was transformative for Quintãom, who said event attendees’ reactions to the project were more moving than he could have imagined. “Tears fell … It was very quick, but very magical,” he wrote in an email. “We have a great affection for the people and friends met at TEDxBeloHorizonte. It was one of the most important events we participated in since the creation of the project.”
In the days, weeks and months following the event, Quintãom witnessed his community galvanize around Imaginário Coletivo. “Since [TEDxBeloHorizonte], the project has grown and more people have joined the team,” he said.
The culmination of this great growth came when Menhem invited Quintãom to have the students of Imaginário Coletivo be the official event photographers of TEDxBeloHorizonte 2014. “We were very happy to attend the event again and even more happy to bring some of our young photographers, “ Quintãom said. “It was great to see our friends, who received us in a very loving way.”
“The responsibility was huge, but with much hard work and joy, our young photographers managed to do photo coverage of the event in an outstanding way,” Quintãom said. There were two days of lots of clicks and we split into two classes, totaling 10 young people to photograph the event.”
The experience was a meaningful one for Quintãom and his team of students — one they will not forget. “We are very grateful for the opportunity to participate in such an interesting event,” he wrote, “… composed of dreamers that, together, create an opportunity to change the world!”