The new Jon Vidar Photography, South Africa, and Iraq

Feb 22, 2010
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Sunrise outside of Kigali, Rwanda

Before I get to talking about my new adventures, I'd just like to mention a couple things about the new web site. Using MovableType 5 and Photoshelter, I have combined my travel web site and my photography web site into one unified front. You are now able to browse my photography, read my blog, follow my twitter feed, and check out new multimedia pieces all in one handy location. I hope you like it!

I've also had many requests over the years from people wanting to purchase my photos and I have integrated this into the site as well. Every image can now be purchased directly as prints ranging from 4x6 to 20x30. Limited Edition Signed prints of select photos are also available. And finally you can purchase individual use download rights of any image to use as a wallpaper on your computer.

Now on to the good stuff...

So I'm going to South Africa...

For everyone who knows me, you know that I have been extremely lucky over the years. I have worked for incredible people at the USC Libraries who have continually afforded me the flexibility and support for my travels and pursuit of outside interests. Since 2001, I have visited more than 35 countries and worked on summer projects in Turkey, Iraq, Rwanda and Chicago. Well I recently got an offer that I couldn't refuse and have decided to part ways with USC.

A friend of Tory and I, John Bradley, has been traveling around Africa since last summer. He recently began working on a travel guide of South Africa to be completed in time for the World Cup. I cant give you all of the details just yet, but it will be significantly different and more detailed than your average Lonely Planet or Frommers.

To help complete the project on time, he flew out his sister to join him last month. However, they soon realized that it was still too big to tackle on on their own and John has offered to fly both Tory and I out to South Africa, cover all of our expenses, and give us a stipend for the next two months to help complete the guide.

Needless to say, I couldn't say no. This project combines all of my passions: photography, multimedia, travel, storytelling. Everything that I love. I'm very thankful to the USC Libraries for all that they have done for me during my ten years of service, but now I am excited about this new opportunity in my life and looking forward to seeing where it leads me next...

...which to begin with will be Iraq...

The planning for The Tiziano Project -- which seeks to empower communities through self-sustaining journalism -- is coming along stronger than I could ever possibly have hoped. Our team is working incredibly hard to make everything possible for this summer. We have been meeting twice a month and, through marathon 3-4 hour long meetings, have begun a major rebranding of Tiziano and are in the nascent stages of outlining a two-month training program for the summer.

The $25,000 from the Chase Community Giving contest that YOU helped us win is going to go a long way and help a lot of people.

The most expensive part of our budget though is just getting the four-person team to Iraq. Several people including myself, my sister, my dad, Tory and Chris have all donated frequent flyer miles to help with this expense. We now have three out of the four tickets pledged, so if anyone knows someone that would be interested in pitching in for the final ticket please let me know.

We have also put significant effort into rethinking who we are and what we do to better communicate our message. We have identified the following mission and vision statements as well as the four guiding pillars of Tiziano as:

Mission Statement

The Tiziano Project provides community members in conflict, post-conflict, and underreported regions with the equipment, training, and affiliations necessary to report their stories and improve their lives.

Our Vision

The Tiziano Project strives to develop and encourage first-class collaborative journalism on a global scale. We are dedicated to expanding knowledge and access to information worldwide by empowering communities to tell their stories.

Four Pillars:

At The Tiziano Project, we will:

Provide technology and training using experienced journalists and specialists in emerging technologies.
Produce meaningful content and disseminate knowledge on a global scale.
Promote our students and foster job creation in the field of new media.
Pioneer new technologies and collaboration in new media and community journalism.

That's all for now, but stay tuned. I will obviously be taking tons of photos and video and will be updating this site regularly. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay connected as well.

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Sunrise outside of Kigali, Rwanda

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Barbara Forconi | February 23, 2010 1:56 PM | Reply

WOW!! Am so proud of you, as i know your mom is, you've done very well for yourself Jonathan, keep up the good work. Always enjoy your e mails your mom forwards and the pictures are fantastic, have a fun safe trip, do say I worry about you being in Iraq but know the good Lord will take care of you. Just can't get over how fast the time has gone, you were just that little boy playing with Deveri, the little toddler under the big willow tree. take care

Cat Foster | February 23, 2010 10:49 PM | Reply

Congratulations Jon! This is very exciting news! Best of luck to you and Tori.

Lynn | February 24, 2010 5:59 PM | Reply

This is fantastic! And it only proves even more that it's those people working away quietly in the libraries who are leading a revolution! I hope you have a great time.

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