Foreign Assignments

AOP Awards Finalist-Public Vote

I’m just recovering after a very busy few weeks with the Amnesty International Human Rights Festival which went exceptionally well this year. For me the highlights were meeting Moazzam Begg, a British former prisoner of Guantanamo Bay who spoke eloquently about his experience in captivity. Then there were two photographers Teru Kuwayama and Balazs Gardi who not only gave an amazing presentation of their work in Pakistan and Afghanistan but who were also incredibly nice guys. Just talking to them was both inspiring and educational and personally helped me with which direction I want to take my work in the near future..more of that later..!!

For now though I received some good news that one of my Mongolia pictures has been selected for the Association of Photographers AOP Open Awards exhibition in London. This is an image I’m particularly proud of as for me it encapsulates the extremely difficult conditions these boys and others live in whilst the world just continues around them oblivious and indifferent to their situation. If you feel moved by this image then you can vote for it in the Public Choice Award. My image is on Page 7. Details of which are below.

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Munkhbat (15) & Altangeret (15) have lived down this manhole in Unur district of Ulaan Baatar for over 3 years. Violence is commonplace and their manhole has been petrol bombed by rival street children 3 times in the last few years.

Munkhbat (15) & Altangeret (15) have lived down this manhole in Unur district of Ulaan Baatar for over 3 years. Violence is commonplace and their manhole has been petrol bombed by rival street children 3 times in the last few years.

The exhibition runs from July 29th so if your in London pop in to have a look at all the entries.

 

Thanks..Rich…

Gaia Photos

I’ve recently been accepted into a photo collective called Gaia Photos. Its aim is to bring photojournalists working around the world together and provide a platform for the public and professional photo buyers to see their latest work. It’s not a traditional photo agency where pictures can be bought and sold but more of an online showcase of everyones work. 

It’s a very new venture but some excellent photographers have signed up already so hopefully it will grow in reputation and lead to some interesting contacts and commissions..fingers crossed..!!

In case your wondering “Gaia” was the name of the primal Greek goddess of the Earth…hope that helps..!

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Unseen-British Press Photographers’ Association (BPPA)

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I just received my copy of the new BPPA book Unseen through the post today and it looks great. I probably would say that because I’ve quite a few pictures in it..!! To be a bit more objective here is a review someone else has written..

” The latest BPPA publication is “UNSEEN”, a stylish cloth-bound collection of work which has either been unpublished, or so heavily altered as to be unreconisable from the original image!  It contains some astonishing pictures, many uplifting, many sad, but all demanding to be appreciated, and a credit to the imagination, tenacity and often bravery of the talented photographers who document our lives in the 21st century.”

These sort of projects take an immense amount of organising so well done to all involved. Copies can be bought from Fixation or Amazon.

Below are some of the pictures I have in there from past assignments.

 

There were chaotic and emotional scenes as tens of thousands of Palestinians converge on the town of Ramallah for the funeral of Yasser Arafat. November 2004.

There were chaotic and emotional scenes as tens of thousands of Palestinians converge on the town of Ramallah for the funeral of Yasser Arafat. November 2004.

 

Refugees displaced in a territorial dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia attend a funeral of one of their own, March 2002.

Refugees displaced in a territorial dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia attend a funeral of one of their own, March 2002.

 

A lone motorcyclist surveys the damage along a road behind the Lhok Nga mosque in Banda Aceh, Indonesia following the Boxing Day Tsunami. The mosque was the only building to survive in this area. January 2005.

A lone motorcyclist surveys the damage along a road behind the Lhok Nga mosque in Banda Aceh, Indonesia following the Boxing Day Tsunami. The mosque was the only building to survive in this area. January 2005.

 

Farchana camp in Eastern Chad, home to over 18,000 Sudanese refugees-80 per cent of them woman and children-  who fled Darfur. March 2007.

Farchana camp in Eastern Chad, home to over 18,000 Sudanese refugees-80 per cent of them woman and children- who fled Darfur. March 2007.

Photo of the Day-Polio Eradication

One of the pictures from the recent assignment to India has been chosen as Photo of the Day by the editors of a New York based photography magazine PDN. Photo District News (PDN) is an award-winning monthly magazine for the professional photographer and has been covering the professional photographic industry for over two decades so it’s a great platform for more publicity on the polio eradication program.

To view the online magazine please click here PDN

 

A vaccinator gives polio drops to a child on a train in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India on February 1, 2009. During the NID throughout India, over 172 million children under five were given their life-saving drops of polio vaccine. The World is now 99.8% polio free following a 20-year eradication campaign let by Rotary International.

A vaccinator gives polio drops to a child on a train in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India on February 1, 2009. During the NID throughout India, over 172 million children under five were given their life-saving drops of polio vaccine. The World is now 99.8% polio free following a 20-year eradication campaign let by Rotary International.

Nominee in the International Color Awards

I just found out I am a nominee in the Masters of Color Photography competition in the Professional Photojournalism section. I had completely forgotten I’d entered it about 6 months ago so it was a nice surprise to get the news..!! I generally judge the quality of a competition by who else enters and whose work I have respect for and there are many other very good photographers nominated so I’m more than happy to be amongst them. The rest of the winners and nominees can be found here. International Color Awards.

The nominated picture was taken a while ago on assignment to Afghanistan to cover the Presidential Elections and remains one of my most memorable trips. Kabul is a pretty amazing place to work and seeing people voting for the first time to regain their country after decades of war was a privilege. The rest of the assignment pictures can be found here. Afghanistan

 

Internally-displaced people living in the ruins of West Kabul just before the historic Presidential Elections on  October 9 2004.

Internally-displaced people living in the ruins of West Kabul just before the historic Presidential Elections on October 9 2004.

Polio Eradication Multimedia

My world in the last week has pretty much been 24 inch with an Apple sign at the bottom..!! Thinking of how the whole story will fit together, what images match the hours of audio and speaking to yourself trying to narrate the story from 10am till 4am every day/night turns your world into a quite surreal place.! Once it’s finished though it all seems worthwhile so please find below the latest multimedia presentation about polio eradication in India.

So far the response from the story has been great with offers from the Rotary International HQ in America to pay for a traveling exhibition to raise funds and awareness which is the whole reason for doing these stories. If you feel your organisation can help in any way with the polio campaign please get in touch with me at [email protected] .

Please click on the picture below to redirect you..

Rich…

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Mongolia Multimedia Part 2

The last part of the Mongolia assignment and it’s a story I feel very close to. On assignment you meet some incredibly inspiring people. No matter what they’re going through they are always open, welcoming and happy for you to enter their world..albeit for a short time. With all the bad press about teenagers at the moment, maybe they should all see what conditions their equals are coping with in other parts of the world. Munkhbat (15) & Altangeret (15) are two incredible young men who are wise way beyond their years. What impressed me most was their resilience to the huge pressure to give up on life. Many street children start drinking cheap vodka from a young age. I met one 17 year old just out of rehab. These boys however still believe in a future. Forced to leave school despite high grades, had their mothers not abandoned them they would undoubtably have become a great success. With the help of a local charity the aim is support them in their futures if possible. Please feel free to ask any questions and comments about the story..Rich….

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Mongolia Multimedia Part 1

It’s been a while since I last put a multimedia presentation together so it was pretty much a case of relearning everything again..! This is Part 1 of 2 from Mongolia with the 2nd hopefully being completed in the next few days. Whilst they take a long time to put together hopefully the extra effort is worth it. Capturing audio, storytelling and taking pictures all at the same time, often in difficult conditions is a challenge but ultimately worthwhile. 

I hope you enjoy this and I’ll keep you posted when the next one is complete….

Rich…

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Jaipur Foot

After another long night I’ve managed to put together the second story from India. It is linked to the polio story in many ways as a large number of patients receiving treatment at Jaipur Foot are polio survivors. The founder Mr D.R Mehta says the number of polio survivors seeking treatment has declined in the past few years but they are still fitting about 30,000 people a year with calipers and tricycles.

The link to the photo story is Jaipur Foot

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Polio eradication story uploaded

The Rotary Clubs of Jersey had a launch night of their polio eradication campaign last week at Government House in Jersey. This is the first step for the Rotary Clubs in Jersey to start raising money and awareness for the international effort to eradicate polio. The pictures we took on our recent visit to India are hopefully going to be used around the world to promote this endevour. Bill Gates recently donated over $255 million dollars to the campaign with the challenge for Rotary to raise $200 million by 2012 so the outlook is positive.

I’ve uploaded some pictures onto my website some please feel free to have a look there. I’m also working on a multimedia presentation so when that is finished I’ll let you know..

The link to the polio picture story is Polio Eradication

Rich….

 

India Assignment 4

The final day shooting today and back at the limb centre. Despite the fact hundreds of people turn up everyday, each with their own tragic stories having suffered from polio or traumatic limb amputations, the centre has an incredibly positive atmosphere. For many it is the end of a long journey from all parts of India having heard about the service the centre provides. For all it will mean a life changing moment. Many patients haven’t been able to walk properly for years as they enter through the gates in the morning then stroll out at the end of the day on new limbs.

 

The reception area where patients are fitted with new limbs. The translation of the centre's name means 'Society in name of Bhagwan Mahaveer to help Disabled in Society.'

The reception area where patients are fitted with new limbs. The translation of the centre's name means 'Society in name of Bhagwan Mahaveer to help Disabled in Society.'

 

Patients wait in line to be assessed by D. R Mahta the founder of the Jaipur Limb Centre

Patients wait in line to be assessed by D. R Mahta the founder of the Jaipur Limb Centre

 

Rajneesh Pandy (24) is from Nalanda in Bihar state northern India, one of the most polio affected regions. He caught polio when he was one and has remained unemployed despite going through school. Following his 27 hour train journey he hopes to return with a tricycle which will enable him to set up a mobile shop selling ciggarettes, biscuits and sweets.

Rajneesh Pandy (24) is from Nalanda in Bihar state northern India, one of the most polio affected regions. He caught polio when he was one and has remained unemployed despite going through school. Following his 27 hour train journey he hopes to return with a tricycle which will enable him to set up a mobile shop selling cigarettes, biscuits and sweets.

 

Polio patients and amputees leave the assessment centre to go for their limb fittings.

Polio patients and amputees leave the assessment centre to go for their limb fittings.

 

A prosthetic foot being being checked for accuracy before being finally shaped and fitted.

A prosthetic foot being being checked for accuracy before being finally shaped and fitted.

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Technicians fit a new limb to a double amputee patient.

 

Many polio victims end up on the streets. Unable to find employment they sometimes resort to begging. Anpurna (35) caught polio soon after birth and her parents died when she was two. She and her husband came to Jaipur as they were told a tourist was better for begging.

Many polio victims end up on the streets. Unable to find employment they sometimes resort to begging. Anpurna (35) caught polio soon after birth and her parents died when she was two. She and her husband came to Jaipur as they were told a tourist centre was better for begging.

India Assignment 3

The aim of the second part of the polio eradication story is to show what effect polio has on people and what will happen if the eradication program fails.

There over 350,0000 polio survivors in India, many with crippling limb deformities. The Jaipur Limb Centre is seen as a centre of hope for their future. An incredibly uplifting place, hundreds of people with all manner of limb trauma, polio and other debilitating injuries arrive every morning. They are all seen personally by the founder D.R Mehta, a tall, energetic 70 year old ex civil servant who saw an inadequacy in this area of health care for the poor following a life threatening car crash. Since founding the centre in 1975, over 1 million people have had their lives transformed by making them mobile, regaining self respect and their human dignity.

Within hours of reaching the centre, they are sized, fitted and taught how to walk again on their new artificial limbs. Polio survivors are given tricycles which can be seen all over India being used as tea shops or telephone booths making them financially independent, sometimes for the first time in their lives. 

The pics below are black and white as I feel that fits the situation but will look at that again after another edit. The last working day tomorrow then back home to prepare for the Jersey Rotary launch evening at Government House on March 3rd. I’ll try and post again but please feel free to check back for further updates and the full stories from both India and Mongolia in the next few weeks..

 

Founder of the Jaipur Limb Centre D.R Mahta talking to Pinod (36), a polio survivor. Since setting up the centre in 1975, over 1 million polio and limb trauma patients have been treated, usually from the poorest sections of Indian society.

Founder of the Jaipur Limb Centre D.R Mehta talking to Pinod (36), a polio survivor. Since setting up the centre in 1975, over 1 million polio and limb trauma patients have been treated, usually from the poorest sections of Indian society.

 

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.

A double amputee in the overnight dormitary awaiting treatment the next mrning. Every day hundreds of patients from all over India turn up for treatment and not everyone can be seen that day.

A double amputee in the overnight dormitory awaiting treatment the next morning. Every day hundreds of patients from all over India turn up for treatment and not everyone can be seen that day.

 

Gajanand (35) caught polio as a child and suffered severe leg paralysis. He lives in Mumbai and travelled over 1,100km to Jaipur to receive a Tricycle to help him work. When he arrived with his wife and 2 children they had just 20 rupees left (about 30 pence).

Gajanand (35) caught polio as a child and suffered severe leg paralysis. He lives in Mumbai and travelled over 1,100km to Jaipur to receive a Tricycle to help him work. When he arrived with his wife and 2 children they had just 20 rupees left (about 30 pence).

 

Gajanand gives his daughter Pooja (5) some water whilst they wait to be seen by technical staff.

Gajanand gives his daughter Pooja (5) some water whilst they wait to be seen by technical staff.

Gajanand (35), his wife Radha (30) with Pooja (5) & Sonu (2) come from a very poor backgrond in Mumbai. Radha earns some money by making tea but Gajanand  hopes to make money selling cigarettes and other goods once he becomes mobile with his tricycle.

Gajanand (35), his wife Radha (30) with Pooja (5) & Sonu (2) come from a very poor background in Mumbai. Radha earns some money by making tea but Gajanand hopes to make money selling cigarettes and other goods once he becomes mobile with his tricycle.

 

Gajanand waits outside the office dealing with the tricycles all day.

Gajanand waits outside the office dealing with the tricycles all day.

 

Gajanand (35), his wife Radha (30) with Pooja (5) & Sonu (2) come from a very poor backgrond in Mumbai. Radha earns some money by making tea but Gajanand hopes to make money selling cigarettes and other goods once he becomes mobile with his tricycle.

Gajanand (35), his wife Radha (30) with Pooja (5) & Sonu (2) come from a very poor backgrond in Mumbai. Radha earns some money by making tea but Gajanand hopes to make money selling cigarettes and other goods once he becomes mobile with his tricycle.

 

 

Gajanand tests out his new tricycle with the aid of his youngest daughter Sunu (2) pushing behind. The family will be given clothes, a small business start up kit and a train ticket back to their home in Mumbai to hopefully have a fresh start in life.

Gajanand tests out his new tricycle with the aid of his youngest daughter Sunu (2) pushing behind. The family will be given clothes, a small business start up kit and a train ticket back to their home in Mumbai to hopefully have a fresh start in life.