Victoria German
Victoria photographing on the Moscow River
HollyAnne and Victoria look at and discuss the other winners

A lucky extension of the FotoFest 2012 Biennial - Russia was an overseas trip for Houston high school student Victoria German and her teacher HollyAnne Giffin, This was the first trip to Russia for both Victoria and HollyAnne, and Victoria's first trip abroad.

They were in Moscow, thanks to FotoFest and FotoCh, a Moscow-based charity using photography to aid in the rehabilitation of children with disabilities, orphans and the needy. FotoCh co-founders Julia Chupova and Vlad Utyanskiy showed Victoria and HollyAnne around Moscow - the art, architecture and culture of the city including the Kremlin, Gorky Park and the Pushkin Museum.

Victoria, starting her senior year at the Chinquapin School in Houston, is a student of FotoFest’s Literacy Through Photography (LTP) program. She won an award in a FotoCh sponsored contest, after an online Skype exchange between Chinquapin students in Houston and students in Moscow, last April.

An aspiring veterinarian, Victoria won the award for an image of seagulls on the Texas gulf coast, at dusk.


St. Basil's Cathedral  
(left to right) FotoCh co-founder Julia Chupova, Chinquapin teacher HollyAnne Griffin, Victoria German
Red Square, Moscow HollyAnne and Victoria at St Basil's Catherdral

More photographs from the trip are available here.

FotoFest's Literacy Through Photography has had a relationship with the Chinquapin School for many years, and a special partnership since 2008. For the last two years, LTP strategies have been utilized in multiple subject areas and classes throughout the school, including art, history, English and Spanish. As part of the partnership, FotoFest helped built a darkroom at Chinquapin, with the help of LTP cohort teacher and artist Ben DeSoto. Nearly every student that has graduated from Chinquapin during this time has participated in the LTP program.

Chinquapin is a small private college preparatory school located in Highlands, TX. The school was established in 1969 as a boy’s boarding school for lower income students in the greater Houston area with the goal of giving kids who may slip through the cracks of public school an opportunity to excel academically. Now, Chinquapin offers a rigorous educational experience for both boys and girls in 6th-12th grade with partial boarding for boys 7th-12th grade.

FotoCh is a charitable organization based in Moscow that works with professional and amateur volunteer photographers to use photographs to aide in the rehabilitation of children with varying degrees of disability, as well as orphans and children in impoverished circumstances. Working with experienced teachers and volunteers, large companies and charitable organizations, they provide courses in photography to children in orphanages and boarding schools.


St. Basil's Cathedral At Kolomenskoye, a former royal estate


Vinod Hopson, FotoFest Press
713.223.5522 ext 26 |