You can see more of my images at www.chrisboyd.ca
It has been a long time since I blogged any of my international work. So this will be a bit of a catch up edition I guess. Some of the shooting I’ve done this last year has been very different then in previous years. I was also asked to do a lot of interviews, to get stories to go with the photos. I’d like to share some of them with you as well. This year I had the incredible fortune of working with Tearfund, an international humanitarian organization based out of London England.
First set I would like to share are some images from some recent trips to the UK, the first was for field work. Collecting samples for my masters, the other was just for travel sake. I extended a photo trip and did some travel in North Ireland and England.
This next set is from my time in Malawi.
10- This incredibly strong young girl, just 15 years old, was a victim of repeated rape. She was continuously brought out to the fields by a known assailant. She is now a part of a growing support network, shown standing behind her all wearing the “silent no more” tee shirt. Silent no more is a campaign to speak out against violence against women. You can sign a pledge here, http://www.wewillspeakout.org/pledge/
^If you for whatever reason feel compelled to steal any of my images, which I implore you not to do (I will take action take whatever action I can against you), please respect this image in particular and contact me before you duplicate/copy/manipulate or do anything with this image in particular.^
13- A young girl sits by her violently ill mother. Her father, who refused to take her and her mother to the hospital when they became ill, stole everything everything from the family leaving not even a bed mat for them to sleep on. Her brother Gilbert, age 12, dropped out of school to become the “man” man of the house. He does his best selling peanuts to provide whatever income he can to help his family. Mama Theresa and her organisation, Somebody Cares, after our house visit returned with some supplies and the funds needed to get Gilbert back in school. The woman in the background is a volunteer with Somebody Cares.
17- This woman is a part of Village savings loan group. The first group, Takumana 1, has 25 members, 19 women and 6 men. They save money between them and then loan it out within the group. The first group was trained by tearfund and then they trained the second group, Takumana 2.
19- Chitera health centre- Government health clinic A young woman gets a small drop of blood taken for am HIV test. This is standard procedure for all pregnant women. The second image is when she hears her results.
^The young women hears good news and wipes away a tear a relief.
Prior to travelling to Malawi I was working for a week in Russia. I was shooting for a program for recovering addicts. They have an intense program that begins at a farm where the addicts detox and through counselling attempting to regain control of their lives. After graduating the program their are optional follow up programs. One of which involves a work placement of sorts. One in particular is a plastic recycling plant.
22- This man, throughout my whole time in Russia, would be very helpful, and cooperative with this project. It was also great that his work station was by a big window and came complete with billowing steam.
23- Vladimir – After his new home burned down he tried to live with other people but that didn’t work out and he turned to the streets.. While homeless he struggled with alcohol. He joined the centre September 4 2011.
24-Nastya- She spent 6 years struggling with fast drugs/ heroin/ etc. and had several bad health issues related to that. After completing her own process, she came back as a volunteer to help other. She has been 2 years clean and in good health.
28- An integral part of the program, and Russian culture as a whole, is the Banya or Sauna. My experience with the Banya, was certainly an interesting one. I should preface the story by saying, I was the only one who spoke English, so an explanation on the process, which would have been very helpful, was not given. You start in a room adjacent to the one shown below. It’s a small change room, with a kitchen table in the middle. On the table are some bottles of kvass, (a russian drink similar to root beer), tomatoes, lettuce, rolled ham and other finger foods. When I entered the building (the 3rd picture down) there were 6-8 men sitting and eating, and another just joining in. Everyone is of course naked. The few men I came in with disrobe as well exchanging pleasantries. Nothing teaches you to look a man in the eyes like a Russian Banya. After some snacks I go into the room shown below to see the small pool being filled with a hose and buckets of water laid out on the bench with ladles. When I walked into the small sauna (second image) I was assaulted by the heat. I looked at the thermometer that read 80+ degrees Celsius and then started a timer on my watch so I wouldn’t stay in any more then 5 mins. I would like to add sitting on 80 degree wood… straight up uncomfortable. After my first 5 mins I step back into the room with the pool and notice the men going up to buckets and ladling the water over their heads to cool off. So I do the same. The first was too hot, then next was a bit cooler and the next a bit cooler still. So, extrapolating, I go to the bucket and pour it over my head. I should add I was getting some odd looks whilst trying the other buckets. This is because each man took a bucket from the pile and some cold water from the tap and then warmed the water with the boiling water in the last bucket until it was a temperature they were comfortable with. Each man had a bucket to himself. I of course didn’t figure this out until after I poured the bucket of boiling water over my head. After recovering amidst the laughter I returned to the sauna for another 5 min session. Towards the end most of the men returned to the room with the snacks and took some outside where we sat to cool off while getting eaten by flies.
I’m brewing a blog of the effect a camera can have, how it changes things, and I don’t mean for the better. I’ve experienced it a lot in the past, people going after their photo without consideration for the effect on local peoples self worth. This can often have an ostracising effect, in particular when experienced repeatedly over a long time. I’m not sure exactly how I want to approach the issue, but hopefully it won’t be long before it’s in print form.
So as you may or may not know I`m back at what I truly love about photography again. I`m nearing the end of my five weeks here in Senegal, NWA and I thought I would blog a small update on what I`ve been doing. I tried hard to keep it to just five shots, so of course large sections of what I`m doing are out. Notably the birds. I have been shooting a lot of birds but wanted this to be more on the important stuff.
I also have been putting together a lot of ideas while here on projects for when I get back. I will definitely, shortly after my return, be writing an article on the power of a camera, before the picture is taken. It`s amazing to me how much the mere presence of a camera changes a situation and even the entire culture. People here, more then anywhere else I`ve been, feel incredibly taken advantage of by foreigners (and rightfully so) with respect to their picture. In speaking with people on the street I`ve heard people say “Oh you just want our picture to go home and laugh at the poor Africans”or the idea that I will go home and sell this pictures to make a lot of money. First thing I have to do is explain that I`m here “Benevole”and won`t be making any money off my shots, and explain my work. It`s not hard to see where the idea comes from, what with foreigners driving and snapping shots out their windows and walking and clicking like they are in a zoo. Which brings me to my next project when I get home, I think we all need to have a brief discussion on camera etiquette, so I will be blogging my thoughts on that and my practices, policies and experiences.
Another idea, and perhaps my most ambitious, is to have a small summer street exhibit of my work relating to people in developing nations with an opportunity to donate to people/projects in the area.
Anyways I’d love to hear your thoughts, but for now… that’s enough typing.
This ladies name is Binta, she works at the school for the deaf (www.ecoledessourds.com -all my shots so far). She is always smiles even if she’s working in pain from her motorcycle accident. (note her arm)
So I saw this guy washing his feet in the street and I thought it would make an excellent picture, so when I approached and asked if that was ok, he told me no. He told me how people come and take the poor Africans photos, go home and sell it or laugh at it. I explained to him why I was here and that I was making no money from this; and I told him, I’m not interested in creating a sob story, I’m not after tears. I want to show how life in Senegal really is. How in many ways people here have gotten things far more right here then we have in the west. Although poverty is a major issue in Africa, it is only one chapter in the story.
I have been doing a lot of shooting in schools. Schools in Dakar, schools on the periphery of Dakar, and schools further inland. This was shot at a school on the periphery of Dakar. I just really liked how the light was hitting this kid as they looked out.
This is my friend Micah’s grandfather who we visited in his village. This is where I would live if I was Senegalese.
This was shot at a school further inland. It’s kinda amazing how well behaved these students are. If you say a simple bonjour, they all stand in unison and repeat hello sir, good day. Even getting close with a wide angle wouldn’t distract these kids in their learning. I really doubt you’d be able to do something like this back here without distracting the kids.
Ok so I said five, but I lied. This one in bonus…
This is a dear friend’s sponsor child who I was blessed to visit. Her name is Marlene Sarr. Her dad runs a shelter out of where they are staying and is very involved in the community. It took a lot of time and energy to get a smile out of this kid. She knew I wanted her picture but she wasn’t going to give me it without a large game of cat and mouse, which she was completely in charge of.
So as mentioned in the previous post I spent time in PNG, but I also spent time in a bunch of other countries. Here are more samples.
Mayan ruins, Belize
Australia (this was the first excursion with the vice president of the Australian parrot society
If any of you have emailed me in the past two months you hopefully received my away notice.
I Left St. John’s May 6th and didn’t get back home until July 4th. I was in Florida, Grand Cayman, Belize, Honduras, Mexico, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Washington and British Colombia.
I was in Papua New Guinea for the majority of the time, around a month. I was working with a couple organizations on the ground there. During which I spent 5 days flying around PNG with over 20hrs fly time in a bell jetranger helicopter, flying over the highlands/lowlands/coast/and islands. Through these 5 days I was pitching and ditching into remote areas all over the country. I ended up traveling PNG by plane/heli/road/banana boat/ and foot.
More photos are sure to come both to the blog website and probably even facebook, but for now… here is a small sample.
Although the translation of this village name is “man eater” the name was given to them by a near by tribe, and the locals insist that isn’t their name. Instead they call themselves “we have nothing”
I’ve decided helicopter is the best way to travel.
Sitting in the ring of fire, tectonics highly texture the land.
The blue bird of paradise.
This is Legs, the pet python.
Although traditional dress is not common place anymore I was fortunate to see it in a couple places.
Papua New Guinea is a very misunderstood land, very rich in culture and natural beauty. To date, PNG is the most spectacular country I’ve ever seen.
Special thanks to:
Bev Preater and Gavin Jones,
bush helicopter pilots dedicating their lives to improving the lives of PNG.