David Jiranek - Project Founder (1958-2003)
David Jiranek had a passion for photography, for adventure, and for working with disadvantaged children. Improbably, he combined all three with Through the Eyes of Children: The Rwanda Project. In 1999, he traveled to Rwanda to document in photographs the horrible genocide of 1994. After arriving in the war-ravaged country, David set to the task of documenting what he saw. The aftermath of war was all around: bombed-out houses, deserted cars and children without parents. He began taking pictures, but soon he realized it would be more difficult than he imagined. The local residents were slow in opening up to him. They were suspicious of his big camera with the telephoto lens. Instead of completing his photo journey, he befriended the children of the Imbabazi Orphanage and taught the children, who had never seen a camera, how to take pictures. David's photography experiment with the orphanage yielded a trove of astonishingly beautiful images created by the children which became the basis for this photography exhibition and others shown in Rwanda's capital city in 2001 and at various galleries in the U.S, and abroad.
In David's own words:
David Jiranek, project founder, was a Broadway producer, a writer, a photographer, and a highly successful businessman. He died in an accident in August 2003 at age 45. David is survived by his wife, two daughters and a dedicated group of friends and family that have continued on with the project in his honor.