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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
Please click on the picture below to redirect you..
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….
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….
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 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..
It’s that time of year when the air is filled with the sounds and smells of clipping, cutting, hairspray, tension and other unmentionables. That goes for both the dogs and their owners who preen and prune themselves equally for their big show day of the year. Competition is intense, dog envy is abound.
This is the third year I’ve been assigned this job. Maybe because the picture desk knows I’m allergic to dogs…maybe because deep down I actually enjoy them and they can be quite good fun and picture rich…Release the hounds….!!
Justin a Lhasa Apso (3) takes his view on the World. (JEP)
Delphi the English Spaniel getting her toe hair cut. Detail is everything.
Onyx (8) a Pekingese is fluffed up by Pat Dale. (JEP)
Final preparations for the Toy Poodle. (JEP)
Oliver an English Spaniel having his tail hair cut perfectly straight by Lynn Ozane. (JEP)
Onyx (8) a Pekingese rests inbetween showing.
Monkey the Whippet stands on the shoulders of Rachel le Masurier to check out the competition. (JEP)
Shiloh the Bulldog psyches himself up in wings before performing. (JEP)
A wire haired Dachshund is judged by Mrs Cartledge with owner Lisa Goodall. (JEP)
My first week back at the Jersey Evening Post and straight into a World Class boxing match. As with working on most regional newspapers, the variety of jobs your assigned in any one day always makes it challenging. One minute your doing sport, then a feature picture story then everything else from business portraits to news. I’m still ploughing through editing my work from Mongolia and India so this post will be short on words. The hope is to expand on how and why I took a particular picture but when short of time I’ll just let the pictures do the talking themselves..which is the general idea of a press photography anyway..!!
Boxing at the Hotel de France, Jersey. IBF Light Heavyweight World Title Eliminator. Clinton Woods (Blue shorts) from Sheffield was fighting to regain the right to fight for another title. His opponent Elvir Muriqi from Kosovo put up an impressive 12 round contest. (JEP)
Woods and Muriqi slug it out in the fifth round. (JEP)
Boxing at the Hotel de France, Jersey. IBF Light Heavyweight World Title Eliminator. Clinton Woods (Blue shorts) from Sheffield v Elvir Muriqi (Red Shorts) from Kosovo. (JEP)
After 12 rounds Clinton Woods celebrates winning on points whilst a dejected Elvir Muriqi looks on. (JEP)
Peter Lucas Investment Strategist with RBC Wealth Management. (JEP)
Penny Henderson a chiropractor from Active Chiropractic Clinic who won a Patient Partnership Quality Award. (JEP)
Chris Searson MD of Capita Fiduciary Group. (JEP)
Aimee Ollivier (21) now a qualified staff nurse but finding it difficult to get a job at the hospital. (JEP)
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.'
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 cigarettes, biscuits and sweets.
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.
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 centre was better for begging.
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 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 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 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 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 (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.
I’ve just arrived in Jaipur, Rajestan and it’s the first time I’ve had access to the internet so apologies for the delay in posting. The last week has been an incredible experience of Indian Rotary hospitality, long days and witnessing one the biggest medical logistical challenges happening in the world today. The full story and set of pictures will be posted when I’ve had time to edit upon my return to Jersey next week but below are some images from the last few days.
As explained in the previous post the aim of this trip is to report on the final push to eradicate Polio from the world and the work Rotary International is doing to make that possible. India is the most affected country and the story starts in Saharanpur, a city of over a million in the state of Uttar Pradesh, one of the poorest and most Polio affected regions. India held a National Immunisation Day on Sunday the 1st Feb and in Saharanpur alone, over 51,000 children under 5 were immunised that day. There were over 2,000 booths around the city manned by Rotary volunteers, Indian Government workers, WHO & UNICEF staff. The following 5 days involved ‘mop up’ operations where vaccinators visited every household in the district making sure each child received their 2 drops of polio vaccine. By the end of the week more than 110,000 children in Saharanpur will have received their drops. A massive logistical undertaking and amazing to believe that this takes place in every city, town and village throughout India with over 175 million children nationwide being vaccinated.
From here we will be visiting the Jaipur Limb Centre where people who have suffered paralysis from Polio come to seek assistance with surgical operations, calipers and tricycle bikes to help them continue live their lives. i’ll keep you posted…
The day before the National Immunisation Day (NID) posters, banners and street rallies are held around the city of Saharanpur to announce the polio vaccination day.
Children line up at a school to receive their polio drops. Over 110,000 children under 5 will be vaccinated in Saharanpur alone over the next week. Over 175 million will be vaccinated nationwide.
A young girl receives her polio drops. Each child is given 2 drops.
The left little finger is painted with a purple dye indicating they have been vaccinated.
On the NID over 2,000 booths are set up around the city. There are also hundreds of vaccinators on railway station platforms and bus stations to catch any children traveling that day.
Vaccinators during the mop up days visit every house with children to ensure 100% coverage is attained.
Every household with a child is marked during the mop up days showing either all children have been vaccinated or there is still some missing. Here this housing complex has multiple families, with a P indicating all have been vaccinated and an X showing some children still need to be seen.
A girl from the Muslim community looks out from her house to talk to a mop up team. Some members of this community have put up resistance to the polio eradication scheme believing the drops make children infertile.
I arrived back on time from Mongolia, downloaded and backed up all the pictures and I’m now preparing to go to India this afternoon. It’s very unusual to have two foreign assignments almost back to back but this one was dictated by a specific date. It’s going to be quite tiring but I’m certainly ‘in the zone’ from the Mongolia trip and ready for another challenge.
Eradicating Polio: The Last Hurdle
The story is for Rotary Jersey and their part of the international effort to eradicate Polio. India is one of just four countries now endemic with Polio (Pakistan, Afghanistan & Nigeria being the others). The Rotary polio eradication campaign, Polio Plus, started over 20 years ago and the aim now is to give the final push to free the world completely of Polio. It has been a huge logistical and financial undertaking that so far has been a massive success. If you want to learn more about the situation have a look at this website:- http://www.rotary.org/en/serviceAndFellowship/Polio/Pages/ridefault.aspx
With just under 1,700 cases being reported worldwide in 2008 down from 350,000 in 1988, over 99% of the job has been completed but as the Rotary mission statement quotes, it is not over just yet. ” As long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, children everywhere remain at risk. The stakes are that high.”
I’ll hopefully start blogging and posting some images in the next few days. The main NID or National Immunisation Day is Sunday February 1st when over 172 million children under 5 will be vaccinated throughout India. A quite mind boggling statistic…!!