“Entering the Ozarks…a place I can’t touch with words…stopped to photograph……never afraid of the stranger…my smile never died.” ~ Cherel Ito
From the photographic journeys that Cherel Ito took through Mississippi, Louisiana and the Ozark Mountains in the 1970s, one has to surmise that her mission was to reveal and educate about the plight of poverty that existed in that region. The images in her book, Through the Lens of Her Camera, www.cherelitobook.com are evidence of that.
The photographs that Cherel took of people in the Ozarks back in the 1970s would still be reflective of today’s economic and emotional struggles, due to the high percentage of hunger and other poor living conditions. Sad but true, decades later, poor opportunity for commerce still exists in this area of the United States. The dream of having good economic development, decent paying jobs and hope for prosperity has never been fulfilled for many in the Ozark mountain region.
In an era whereby we, as a country, are so willing to send relief resources abroad, there are poverty stricken areas in our own country that are in dire need of help, too. There is a non-profit organization whose motto is Transforming Hunger into Hope™ . The organization distributes 8.5 million pounds of food annually. The Ozark Food Harvest www.ozarksfoodharvest.org serves more than 28 Ozark counties and approximately 155,000 individuals yearly. Ninety-five percent of the dollars donated goes to food distribution programs, and only five percent goes toward administrative fees. For those who are not geographically close by to this area to donate food, there is a way that you can still help! For information, please visit http://bit.ly/f15rzI.
Photographer Cherel Ito throughout her photographic journeys, in the United States and abroad, was committed to discovering and telling the truths of people and the microcosms in which they lived, through biographies captured through the lens of her camera.