CHOGM 2011-Perth, WA

Some images taken today during a protest in Perth during The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting or CHOGM 2011 that is being hosted by Perth in Western Australia this week. A very heavy security operation has been in place with over 3,000 officers from all over Australia deployed. Over a 1000 protesters marched peacefully through the centre of Perth under tight security. The CHOGM Action Network was represented by a variety of causes from refugee rights, anti-corporate greed, Occupy Perth, climate change and human rights issues in commonwealth countries.
















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Foto8 Summershow Finalist

An image from an assignment to Bangladesh earlier this year for Caritas Australia has been selected as a finalist in the Foto8 Summershow 2011 in London. An exhibition at the HOST gallery from 8th July will display the images.

‘The Foto8 Summershow has become a unique opportunity for photographers from all backgrounds and disciplines to participate in the creation of a new aesthetic. An aesthetic that is becoming less formal and harder to define as photographers explore new approaches to their subjects and themes allowing their work to stand out.’

The Caritas campaign about how climate change is affecting this area in the south west of Bangladesh will be launched shortly so I’ll hopefully be able to put some more images and a multimedia presentation they completed here this space…!

Students from Darussunmat Daichil Madrasa in Gabura, south West Bangladesh exercise on the playing field next to the cyclone shelter that doubles as their school. Gabura, which is one of the most climate change affected zones in the world was badly damaged by Cyclone Aila that struck on May 25th 2009. Villagers were washed away by a tidal surge leaving many people homeless and their fields saline. The shelter is a lifeline for many of the residents each cyclone season.© Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Legacy of the Lord’s Resistance Army

Once again it has been almost 4 months since my last post..!! It’s not that I’ve haven’t been busy, quite the opposite in fact, things haven’t stopped since Christmas which now seems like a very long time ago..!

So what’s been happening..? Well, in January I was in Bangladesh completing a project for an Australian NGO on the impact of climate change in the Sundarbans region which was an eye opener. It was my first time in Bangladesh and I really liked the place, Dhaka is crazy whilst the coastal regions are beautiful but facing some very real issues due to climate change compounded with the ever increasing devastating cyclones. I’ll hopefully be putting something on this blog very soon after the stories have been used in their campaigns.

Then I had a commission from The Sunday Times Magazine in London in outback Australia, which again is embargoed until it’s published, hopefully soon, so will be writing something up after that.

Then a few weeks ago I returned to northern Uganda to complete a story about how the north is recovering now that the Lord’s Resistance Army have moved their murderous ways into DRC, south Sudan and the Central African Republic. For me, this was a story close to my heart. I first went and reported on the LRA nearly 10 years ago as a very green photographer but the stories and images I saw there had a huge impact on me and knew I’d like to follow it up in the future. It’s taken some time but I jumped at the chance to go back to what is now thankfully, a peaceful if traumatised region in a beautiful country. This was my fourth visit to Uganda having completed a story on HIV, the LRA and proposing to my wife whilst gorilla trekking so it remains one of my favourite countries..!!

My original story can be found here LRA and I have used a number of these images to introduce the context of the latest story. It was a very short trip, so a real challenge to put a story together but we were well prepared and knew what was needed. The main aim was to produce images for two newspaper journalists to highlight the situation and what the NGO is doing to help there. On top of that, I was asked to produce a multimedia piece so time was the biggest factor. Making sure I had the images needed in the bag, I’d then focus on getting as much video and audio as possible. It was a huge learning curve once again as every assignment is different but next time I’ll make sure I’ll:-

A:- Shoot much, much more B-Roll as this makes editing far more interesting/easier.

B:-Audio, audio and more audio..!..I know audio is the key to a successful project and I need to spend more time learning how to juggle recording ambient, the person being interviewed and the person translating all at the same time.  The sound on the 5D even with a Rode stereo mike is just not usable when compared to recording on a separate recorder, a Tascam in my case. In this case I recorded the translator on the Tascam which sounds good and I hoped to record the sound of the people being interviewed on a Rode mic attached to the camera but the his and weak sound means it is almost impossible to match the two together to get decent audio. The ideal situation would be to record the interview properly then do the translation separately if time wasn’t an issue.

C:- Invest more time on and other training courses learning Final Cut Pro and Motion to make the project more animated.

Next trip hopefully there will be enough time to do a proper interview with someone who can narrate the history and give context to the story, spend more time shooting b-roll and have a clearer plan how I’m going to collect decent audio..that being a perfect world of course..!

I’ve uploaded the presentation here and also some images in case you don’t have time to watch so any comments please just let me know..genuine feedback is always very welcome..

Legacy of The Lord’s Resistance Army

For over two decades one of Africa’s most violent rebel groups, The Lord’s Resistance Army have been terrorising northern Uganda.

Their initial aim was to defend the rights of the Acholi population but this quickly disappeared as they embarked on a brutal campaign of child abductions, murder, mutilations, rape and looting. Over 30,000 children have been abducted, forced to fight and kill each other and family members which has resulted in over 90% of the population fleeing to live in squalid displaced persons camps.

The LRA finally left Uganda in 2006 heading into Sudan for peace talks leaving an uneasy peace in northern Uganda allowing people to start returning home to their villagers. Lazira is a small village of 350 people in Agago District where people now feel safe enough to return. They fled to Patongo IDP Camp in 2002 at the height of the conflict. Many people were abducted from Lazira village by the LRA and were forced to attack their own people and many other similar villagers all over Uganda. Most have now escaped the LRA and have returned home and are trying to integrate back into the community they once terrorised.

The peace talks however failed and now the LRA are roaming the countryside of the DRC, South Sudan and Central African Republic, continuing their reign of terror on communities there.

Ongom Donsiano (36) who was abducted by the LRA in 1998 from Luziro village in Northern Uganda. He was sent to South Sudan for training and became part of an elite fighting unit. He became a sergeant and then a commander and gave orders for attacks on civilians. He decided to leave the LRA and contacted the Ugandan army giving them information which led them to defeat the LRA in the area surrounding his home village of Luzira. He is now the head of the Luziro Farming Collective.

Odoch David (21) who was abducted in 2000 for 3 years from his home village of Luzira in Northern Uganda. He was taken to Kitgum where he was trained to fight then sent to the frontline and operated in both Uganda and Sudan. He was involved with a large attack on a Ugandan military base in Kitgum. He escaped after being surrounded by government forces and taken to the nearby town of Patongo. He returned home to Luzira where he found out his father was dead and his brother had also been abducted. He now has a wife and 3 children and lives in Luzira village.

Abur Carla (28) who was abducted by the LRA from her home village of Luzira in Northern Uganda in 2001 for 6 years. She was forced to become a fighter, loot and abduct other people. Many abductees were also forced to kill fellow abductees and villagers. She managed to escape in 2007 during a government forces attack and fled to Patongo town. She has now returned to live in Luzira village.

On the road to former Operat IDP camp from Patongo town in a Caritas vehicle during a rain storm.

Patongo IDP Camp on the outskirts of Patongo town which at its height housed over 50,000 people who fled their villages from potential LRA attack. Many people have now resettled back to their original villagers but a number still remain.

Patongo IDP Camp on the outskirts of Patongo town which at its height housed over 50,000 people who fled their villages from potential LRA attack. Many people have now resettled back to their original villagers but a number still remain.

Akidi Mariana (72) in the former Patongo IDP Camp in Northern Uganda where she lived for 5 years having fled her nearby village of Luzira after attacks by the LRA. She lived with six other members of her family in this hut. Pictured with one of her sons Okot Bosco Muleke (27).

Patongo IDP Camp on the outskirts of Patongo town which at its height housed over 50,000 people who fled their villages from potential LRA attack. Many people have now resettled back to their original villagers but a number still remain.

Patongo IDP Camp on the outskirts of Patongo town which at its height housed over 50,000 people who fled their villages from potential LRA attack. Many people have now resettled back to their original villagers but a number still remain.

A mother and child in the village of Luzira in Northern Uganda. The village was abandoned and people fled mostly to Patongo IDP Camp nearby following attacks by the LRA. They stared to resettle back in Luzira from 2007.

Akidi Mariana (72) outside her home in the village of Luzira in Northern Uganda. She resettled back home in 2007 having lived with her family in Patongo IDP Camp for 5 years having fled attacks by the LRA.

Borders and Barriers-The Belfast Peacelines-Multimedia-V2

(This is the latest version of the multimedia with a few image, transition and caption changes)

It’s taken some time but I’ve finally put together a multimedia presentation from my recent assignment to Belfast as part of the Borders and Barriers project.

It was my first time shooting video, using a lavalier mic and making pictures which was hard work but very enjoyable. Juggling all three is a real challenge and you need time and space to achieve that. I was fairly realistic about what I could produce in 10 days and am quite happy with the outcome and now I’m more experienced with the technical side I’m looking forward to the next assignment.

Much more time consuming however was learning Final Cut Pro 7 when I returned..!! It’s a monster of a program but worth every minute of training on I’ve only scratched the surface on its use but wanted to put together a small presentation to see how it worked and looked. There are some changes I know I’d like to make already but this is a work in progress and needs a return trip to Belfast to complete but any comments or suggestions on any aspect of the film would be appreciated.

Do you think it needs subtitles, is the music too loud, cuts to quick, pictures up for long enough and more importantly, was it engaging and informative…? Any comments like this would be really helpful for the future. Hope you enjoy it and speak to you soon….


The Belfast Peacelines-V2 from Richard Wainwright on Vimeo.

Reportage Photo Festival 2010-Sydney

Reportage Photo Festival in Sydney, one of the best documentary photography festivals in the southern hemisphere is almost upon us with the opening night on November 11th. The official program has just been published which shows a very strong selection of extended photo essays over two Projection Nights at The National Arts School in East Sydney. There are also talks and exhibitions including Reportage’s Retrospective and Stephen Dupont’s images from Afghanistan which will be excellent.

This is one of the few forums that extended photo essays can be viewed and there are some great stories being told over the nights. I’m very happy that my images from Mongolia will be shown on Projection Night 2, November 13. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to show not only images about the two boys who live underground but also images that surround this issue. I’ve combined the two picture stories which can be found on my website so if your interested have a quick look there.

I’m going to be in town for most of the weekend so will hopefully catch up with lots of people there for a few beers..!!

Munkhbat and Altangeret (both 15) have lived in this manhole together for over three years under the streets of Ulaanbaatar, the coldest capital city in the world. They were forced into this situation by divorced and deceased parents but they still hope and strive for a better future.

Yasser Arafat’s Funeral-2004

The great thing about updating your website and portfolio is that it’s a great excuse to look back over all your old images and sometimes discover new ones. It’s also a great excuse for a bit of reminiscing and covering Yasser Arafat’s funeral in Ramallah in 2004 is without doubt one of my favourite assignments. When I started at my newspaper I actually said to my then picture editor that I had no holidays booked but should Arafat die I will going to the funeral no matter what.

A few years later he was good to his word and after a phone call at 8.30am informing me Arafat had died I was on the next plane out of Jersey at 10am. First stop was London, Zurich then onto Tel Aviv arriving at 5.30am the next morning and straight down to the Israeli GPO where the whose who of photojournalism where all looking equally tired and anxious to get to Ramallah. Nobody knew exactly what was happening but the latest rumour was the funeral was to be held later that afternoon. I teamed up with other photographers who I’d met on the plane and had worked with in Afghanistan just a few weeks before. Hiring a Palestinian taxi at an exorbitant rate we wound our way around the back roads, trying to avoid the many Israeli roadblocks. What should have been a straight 15 drive turned into a 90 minute circus. Eventually reaching the Qalandiya checkpoint then a long walk into Ramallah and the Muqata, Arafat’s home for years where he had been held under siege before he fell ill and left for Paris.

The atmosphere was actually quite festive and more of a celebration of life than a state in mourning. As we got closer and the arrival time getting nearer the tension in the air was palpable and increasing by the minute. Thousands of Palestinians from all over the West Bank wanted to get as close as possible and started scaling the walls of the compound and clinging onto any object with a view. When the two Egyptian Air Force helicopters finally appeared, almost at once everyone started whistling and cheering. With dust being blown everywhere from the downwash and the pushing and shoving in the heat it became electric. There where hundreds of armed men from all the militias and PA who started firing pistols, Ak47’s and all sorts of weaponry into the air adding to the deafening noise. Bullet casing flew and burnt people as they dropped down their shirts. A number of people fell off the top of high buildings and died as the crowds shoved forward for their first view of Arafat’s coffin.

If things were crazy before, the moment the coffin was brought out all hell let loose. Soldiers lost control of the crowd despite firing into the air and what was to be a dignified occasion attended by the great and the good of Palestine ended up being a funeral for the people as thousands of men and woman surged forward to the coffin. You couldn’t walk in the crush, you more like swam with the crowd, trying to get pictures but finding it difficult to even raise your arms.

As the coffin eventually found is way to the final resting place the generally good natured crowd turned into a bit of an embarrassing scrum around the grave. Mourners and photographers jostled for position trying to see into the grave which some people very nearly fell into. Not journalism’s most dignified moment but everyone, photogs and mourners just wanted that picture of Arafat’s final resting place.

As the sun started to set the crowd started slowing dispersing and we made our way back to Jerusalem to file and get some well deserved beers in. All in all a crazy but amazing day and one of the many days why I love being a photojournalist. Looking at the news that night on TV it looked even more chaotic than actually being there which is generally the case anyway but it was a real privilege to witness a great moment in Middle Eastern history.

Anyway, enough waffling on, below are some of the images I took that day. I decided to show them in mono as the light was very harsh and I just think it suits this story anyway….

Borders & Barriers-Cyprus-The Buffer Zone

Finally back in Perth after a very busy 6 weeks away working on 3 assignments in Palestine, Cyprus and Liberia which was exhausting but amazing. My project in Cyprus was cut short by a week after Cafod asked me to go to Liberia for a job at the last minute so I hope to return soon to complete this.  I’ll be posting some images from Liberia in the next few days.

These images from Cyprus continue the theme of my long term project about Borders and Barriers around the world that separates communities. The main focus of the story is the divided capital of Nicosia where the so called ‘Green Line’ or ‘Buffer Zone’ was drawn in 1974 during the height of hostilities. In some sections the buffer zone between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots is only a few meters wide. Greek and Turkish troops agreed to pull back from these inflammatory positions in 1989 and the zone is patrolled by UN Peacekeepers who have been in Cyprus since 1964, making it one of their longest running missions.

Nicosia is quite a surreal place. It has a look and feel of any other thriving Mediterranean city and via a number of checkpoints it’s easy for Greeks, Turks and tourist alike to cross over to either side. Running through the centre however is the Buffer Zone, a no mans land where homes and shops have been left abandoned and decaying since 1974. If you approach the dividing line on either side you’re likely to come across armed Greek or Turkish soldiers in bunkers and lookout posts. Dead end streets lined with concrete filled painted oil barrels with signs strictly prohibiting photography mark the border. It has a look and feel of a nation at war but the line has been peaceful for years. Walk just 10 meters back from the line and you can be sipping a beer in a neon clad café just like any other tourist spot in the world.

I was very lucky to get access there as very few people are allowed to enter and even UN troops aren’t permitted to take pictures. This eerie, derelict, bullet ridden strip of former shops and homes is a fascinating place. I hope to return to finish off the project by interviewing people who had to flee either side of the green line during the war.

A UN peacekeeping soldier patrols the narrowest section of the UN controlled Buffer Zone or the Green Line in the divided city of Nicosia on the island of Cyprus. Since 1974, abandoned shop fronts and houses just metres apart have became the front line between the Greek-Cypriot southern region and the Turkish-Cypriot northern region. Soldiers have now pulled back from these positions to help relieve the tension between both sides. Highly restricted and inaccessible to all but UN personnel, the decaying buildings have remained untouched and left to ruin for over three decades.

Cement filled oil barrels block off streets to the buffer zone from the Greek side.

Brick walls with viewing ports mostly form the barrier on the Turkish side.

Sand bags fill windows of a building on the front line on the Greek side of the buffer zone. The bullet holes reveal the intensity of the fighting that took place in this area.

With no one allowed into the buffer zone except UN peacekeepers the building have fallen into disrepair and nature allowed to take over

With no one allowed into the buffer zone except UN peacekeepers the buildings have fallen into disrepair and nature allowed to take over.

Shop front, barbed wire and oil barrels form the barrier between the two sides.

UN installed barriers have to be clearly marked. Any changes to how the buffer zone is demarcated is hotly contested by both sides

Many people living in the area fled during the fighting and have never returned to their homes. Personal possessions still remain in a virtual time warp from 1973.

Many people living in the area fled during the fighting and have never returned to their homes. Personal possessions still remain in a virtual time warp from 1974.

Ageing clothes, bottles, furniture and personal possessions from the 1970's still remain in many of the homes

Access to the buffer zone is strictly prohobitied and overseen by both Greek and Turkish troops. No photography is allowed along the wall and few people walk near the line.

Access to the buffer zone is strictly prohibited. Both Greek and Turkish troops either side of the zone keep watch and UN peacekeepers patrol the centre.

The Buffer Zone from the Greek side marked by painted oil barrels and observation posts.

Whilst industrial businesses operate close to the line few people live within the immediate area. Abandoned and war damaged houses are found all along the Greek side of the zone.

UN watch towers can be seen all along the buffer zone but since a decrease in hostilities not all are manned these days.

A street with shops and apartments suddenly comes to a stop by the buffer zone wall on the Turkish side.

A customer in the northern Turkish part of Cyprus enjoys a beer just meters from the buffer zone with the Ledra Street crossing seen behind. Since 2003 it has been possible for both Greeks and Turks to cross the buffer zone at designated crossing points and visit either side of the Island. Tourists can pass through after showing their passports. Either side of the buffer zone life and commerce continues as normal adding a surreal atmosphere to the place.

The buffer zone extends over 180km across the Island and whilst only a few meters apart in Nicosia it can be a few kilometers wide in other parts. Nicosia International airport was a scene of heavy fighting and was declared a United Nations Protected Area in 1974. It has remained unused since then and is now home to roosts of pigeons.

The departure lounge covered in pigeon droppings. With a thriving tourist industry the airport was modern for its time before closing during fighting in 1974.

Passport control booths remain unused since 1974.

Passport control booths remain unused since 1974.

UN peacekeepers from Slovakia maintain watch in the southern sector of the buffer zone. Whilst there is no physical barrier in this section entry is strictly prohibited without prior permission.

UN peacekeepers patrol the buffer zone in the southern sector. Farmers are allowed onto the land with prior permission. There are over 10,000 people allowed to live and work within the zone. Many tourists and hunters enter the zone illegally, mostly by mistake.

A UN peacekeeper looks out over the buffer zone towards the northern Turkish side of the Cyprus.

Borders & Barriers-Israeli Separation Barrier

Just arrived back in Jordan from  assignment in Israel and Palestine. This is the first part of a long term project about physical borders and barriers around the world that separate communities due to conflict, illegal immigration or territorial issues.

I’ll be processing and editing when I’m back in Perth so below is just a quick view of what I’ve been working on. I’ll be writing a more comprehensive report and publish a fuller story in a few weeks. I’m off to Cyprus in a few days to continue the story there so will post again when I hopefully start shooting pictures on phase two of the project.

A Palestinian woman walks past a mural of the late Yasser Arafat painted on the separation wall at the Qalandiya checkpoint near the West Bank town of Ramallah.

The separation wall which works its way into the centre of Bethlehem.

After queuing up since 4am Palestinians clamber to get into the checkpoint at Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem to get through to work in Jerusalem.

A schoolboy gets lost in the crowd as people try and push through the checkpoint in Qalandiya. The wall separated many children from their homes and schools and now have to speand hours each day going through the daunting checkpoint procedure to get to school.

A schoolboy gets lost in the crowd as people try and push through the checkpoint in Qalandiya. The wall separated many children from their homes and schools and they now have to spend hours each day going through the daunting checkpoint procedure to get to school.

As the checkpoint is finally opened at 6am, Palestinian workers surge forward, crushing everyone within the cage at Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem.

A Palestinian worker sits exhausted on a bus waiting to take him to work in Jerusalem after queueing up at Rachel's Tomb checkpoint in Bethlehem for over 3 hours from 4am.

The separation wall between Palestine and Israel in Ar Ram near Ramallah looking into the Jerusalem region of Atarot.

A farmer waits for the agricultural gate at Attil to be opened by IDF soldiers.

IDF soldiers open North Gate, an agricultural access gate on the separation barrier in the village of Jayyus. The gate is opened 3 times a day for about 30 minutes each to give farmers access to their land they have been separated from.

IDF soldiers open North Gate, an agricultural access gate on the separation barrier in the village of Jayyus. The gate is opened 3 times a day for about 30 minutes to give farmers access to their land they have been separated from. They are effectively trapped their until the soldiers turn up again to open the gate and let them back to their village.

IDF soldiers close the Attil agricultural gate in the separation barrier near the West bank town of Tulkarm. through the Separation Barrier outside the West Bank town Tulkarm. Many of the farmers have lost the majority of their land to the barrier and have to apply for permits to cross the barrier to work.

IDF soldiers close the Attil agricultural gate in the separation barrier near the West bank town of Tulkarm. Many of the farmers have lost the majority of their land to the barrier and have to apply for permits to cross the barrier to work. Permits are often refused for no reason resulting in wasted crops and income difficulties for the farmers.

Teenagers play by the separation barrier walling off Aida Refugee Camp near Bethlehem.

Protesters make their way to the separation barrier in Nil'in.

Protesters throw stones over the separation wall at Israeli soldiers who reply with volleys of tear gas and live fire during the regular Friday protest in the village of Nil'in to demonstrate against land confiscation and the separation wall running through their land.

Residents and protesters try and escape clouds of tear gas fired by IDF soldiers in the village of Nil'in whilst demonstrating against land confiscation and the separation barrier.

The separation wall between Palestine and Israel in Abu Dis near Jerusalem.

The separation wall winds its way around Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem.

Thousands of workers from the Qalqiliya area arrive before 4am to pass through the checkpoint to go to work in Israel.

An Israeli check point at Qalqiliya. Thousands of workers from the area arrive at the checkpoint before 4am to pass through the checkpoint to go to work in Israel.

An Israeli check point at Qalqiliya. Thousands of workers from the area arrive at the checkpoint before 4am to pass through the checkpoint to go to work in Israel.

Palestinian taxis, buses and cars queue up at Qalandiya checkpoint to get through to Jerusalem to work. This process can take hours with no guarantee they will be allowed through.

The separation wall and Israeli watchtower in a residential area of the West Bank town of Dahiyat near Ramallah.

A protester flies the Palestinian flag at the start of the regular protest n the village of Nil'in to demonstrate against land confiscation and the separation wall.

Magnum Workshop Fremantle

FotoFreo Magnum Workshop Fremantle

It’s been a challenging, intense and thought provoking week and thoroughly worthwhile. If I ever doubted the effectiveness of photography workshops that skepticism has certainly been laid to rest. My tutor, Magnum photographer Bruno Barbey, managed in 5 days to make me completely reconsider how I shoot, edit and sequence photo stories in a very subtle way. It was an education watching him edit everyones work, showing us how just changing a few images, making each image lead and flow into each other can really make a story.

Having the opportunity to sit down and have an indepth discussion with Bruno about my portfolio was invaluable and I would have been happy if that was all I learnt from the week..!!

Would I attend another workshop..absolutely..with the right tutors. Everyone agreed it was a unique opportunity to really indulge and focus on your work, to shoot stories very different to what your used to shooting and completely absorb yourself in all things photography.

My original story idea was to report on newly arrived refugees in Perth and whilst all the agencies involved (ASeTTSMMRC & FMCWA) were very supportive there just wasn’t enough time to arrange meetings with people and cover it in as much depth as I’d like to. I did manage to meet a number of people who were both keen to have their story heard and be photographed so this will now turn into a long term project. To keep shooting, I then decided to try out street photography and play with the amazing light. I’ve never really done this sort of work before but it was great fun and the light really is incredible in Perth.

In addition to the workshop, the main festival FotoFreo 2010 and the Fringe exhibitions were opened on Friday night so with over 100 shows to see it’s going to be another busy week. There have also been some insightful seminars about blogging, book publishing and the photojournalism/art debate. I also had a very constructive portfolio review on Monday and have made some great contacts so it’s been a very productive time. I would highly recommend visiting FotoFreo when it returns in 2012.

Many thanks Bruno Barby and to all the staff and sponsors at FotoFreo, and Magnum for organising the workshop and granting me the scholarship.

Below are some of the images taken during the 5 days:-

Rwanda Assignment for CAFOD

This assignment was quite unexpected and arranged at fairly short notice which made it all the more exciting. It was also my first assignment travelling from Australia so quite unusual to be checking in at Perth airport and flying to Bangkok then Kigali rather than just going back to London and Jersey..!!

The aim of the trip was to give photographic coverage to 3 of the UK’s largest regional newspapers, the Manchester Evening News, the Liverpool Echo and the Yorkshire Post. Each had a journalist on the trip with the intention of reporting on CAFOD funded projects in Rwanda in time for fund raising events during Lent.

I’d been to Rwanda once before but only very briefly stopping overnight on the way to the Congo so it was a great opportunity to go back and have a closer look. These days, virtually everyone knows Rwanda due to the genocide back in 1994 and it was the ongoing repercussions of this horrific event our reporting was to be based on. As a bit of background, over one million ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutus were tortured and murdered during a 100 day rampage by the Hutu dominant government and its supporters. Neighbors, friends and even family members turned on each other. Children lost their families, women were beaten, raped and saw their families cut down in front of them.

During our days there we interviewed a number of woman and orphans and they all spoke of the isolation they felt once the killing was over. With no one to turn to and no one to share their experiences with, the words, “I felt there was nothing to live for”, “I wanted to die” were repeated time and time again. With CAFOD’s support, local NGO, Avega East encouraged those with similar stories and living near each other to join together in associations. As well as providing trauma counseling on an individual and group basis, the charity provides small loans so the survivors can take control of their lives once again.

Below are a few of the pictures taken during the trip. I’ll also be posting links to the articles written by the journalists. For further information about this and the rest of CAFOD’s work please click here.

The Liverpool Echo-Online article

Names on the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre.

A view over Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Now peaceful and one of the safest cities in Africa.

Joselyne Ingabire (43) in her garden at home in Rwamagana. During the genocide her husband and family were killed and she was raped and became pregnant and caught HIV. She is now a volunteer counsellor with NGO Avega East.

Odette Mukambayiha who was raped and widowed during the genocide and now lives in Nyagasambu Village where Avega East paid for 35 houses for genocide widows

Collette Musabwasoni (47) lost her husband and five children in the genocide. She nows lives in Nyagasambu Village where Avega East paid for 35 houses for genocide widows. She runs a food stall business paid for by micro credit.

Widows tending their banana plantation in Nyagasambu Village where Avega East paid for 35 houses for genocide widows. They are assisted by micro credit programs enabling them to grow bananas to both eat and sell.

Kiramuruzi sector Abishyize Hawiwe Cooperative who are helped by Avega East to grow bananas. L-R Mukabutare Theopiste & Mukamutara Phelomene carrying bananas.

Magnum Workshop Scholarship

I’ve just heard some great news..!

I’ve been awarded a scholarship to attend a 5 day Magnum Workshop Fremantle which is headlining this years FotoFreo 2010: The City of Fremantle Festival of Photography. This is an incredibly exciting opportunity and really couldn’t have come at a better time in my career having just turned freelance.

I submitted the Mongolia story as part of my application but the written statements took quite some time to prepare. I’ve always been interested to know how other photographers gained grants or scholarships so I’ve copied my entry below. I’m certainly not saying this is a model application by any means but it may give other photographers an indication to what is needed. Every admission guideline and photographers history is different but hopefully this will give you an idea of what could be included in your statement.

What I have had reinforced is that you never stop learning. Moving into a freelance environment brings many new challenges from setting up your own computer system to branding and business knowledge. Then there is marketing and developing your own personal style. Each newspaper has its own house style but when you become freelance you can really start putting your own signature to your work that evolves over the years. The Magnum course will give me the opportunity to concentrate my mind and give me more focus and direction which is invaluable.

I’ll keep you posted with any new updates….

How will this opportunity benefit your career ?

This course starts just at the time of an exciting and major changing point in my photojournalism career.  I have recently left my job of 8 years with a UK newspaper and I am about to embark on a freelance career, which I hope will bring greater freedom, creativity and meaning to my work. I am also about to undertake my first long term project. The opportunity this course offers to receive guidance and advice about the dynamics, evolution and creative changes of how a long term project evolves would be invaluable to me.

I thoroughly enjoyed and learnt a great deal working for the Jersey Evening Post, however my true passion is documentary photography and reporting on humanitarian issues. During my time at the paper I used all my holiday time and unpaid leave to go on self assigned and commissioned projects.

Whilst I have had a very positive response to my work and received a number of accolades I feel I have much more potential to fill. My commitment to photojournalism is as strong as the day I started and I believe I would greatly benefit from receiving advice about refining my style, being taught stronger editing skills and having the opportunity to learn new camera and technical skills.

The chance to interact with such established photographers, seeing and learning how they work, operate and conduct themselves would be invaluable as well as being able to discuss and debate contemporary photography practice with other photographers.

This would be my first formal training environment since leaving university and I would relish the intensity and opportunity that this course offers.




Nominee-Black and White Spider Awards

Once again, it’s been awhile but believe me, behind the scenes I’ve been very busy..!!

I haven’t actually shot many pictures which is a bit frustrating but as many of you know, a lot of time is spent sorting out computer systems, archives, marketing, research and everything else that goes into creating a new business and organising foreign assignments so thankfully getting out there and doing what you are supposed to and love doing is just around the corner.

Good progress is being made and I’ll hopefully be posting about some very exciting new projects coming up in the near future so watch this space…!!

As for now, I thought I’d let you know that an image from a shoot I did last year for Rotary Jersey has been awarded Nominee status in the 5th Annual black and White Spider Awards. I’m certainly more of a color shooter and this was my first black and white project I’ve shot in quite some time so it was a pleasant surprise for it to be recognised. The picture was part of a series I did at Jaipur Foot in India. You can see the whole series and text here but basically Jaipur Foot is an incredibly inspiring Ngo set up by the highly energetic and dedicated D.R Mehta. Every day, hundred of people from all over India travel to Jaipur to receive artificial limbs and polio survivors are given tricycles or calipers. All of these services are given for free and it’s literally a lifeline for thousands of Indians who from here can start making a life for themselves with their new found mobility. I only had two days there after shooting the polio eradication story but found the atmosphere positively infectious. In a matter of hours you saw peoples lives transformed.

The image below was shot in the fitting centre where people wait for the limbs to be made. The guy on the left lost his leg in a train accident (most amputations are caused by train incidents) and on the right is an army officer with his new artificial limb next to him. What I liked is the fact all limbs and fittings are completed in an open room so patients can see exactly what is happening. You can see on their faces they are apprehensive but by having everything open the whole process is hopefully demystified.

A Jaipur artificial limb stands between two amputees waiting for a limb fitting.

A Jaipur artificial limb stands between two amputees waiting for a limb fitting.