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Author Topic: Seeking a photographer for humanitarian organization...  (Read 3386 times)
Pelao
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« on: June 17, 2010, 10:12:13 PM »
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Hi All

I work for a humanitarian organization. We have a solid group of freelance photographers who are regulars. Growth has meant more work, and we need to expand the team.

If you know anyone who may be qualified, I would appreciate a PM. Some things to note:

1. Although this is a charity, it is paid work
2. Field experience in developing countries much preferred
3. The photographs are used in marketing, and in storytelling around the communities we serve
4. An easy-going nature, with the ability to work within a group, is necessary
5. Cultural  sensitivity is important
6. Willingness to follow a shot list, and to take direction.
7. A portfolio that reveals the ability to express emotion.
8. We would prefer someone located here in Canada

Thanks in advance...
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Rob C
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« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2010, 11:19:34 AM »
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Quote from: Pelao
Hi All

I work for a humanitarian organization. We have a solid group of freelance photographers who are regulars. Growth has meant more work, and we need to expand the team.

If you know anyone who may be qualified, I would appreciate a PM. Some things to note:

1. Although this is a charity, it is paid work
2. Field experience in developing countries much preferred
3. The photographs are used in marketing, and in storytelling around the communities we serve
4. An easy-going nature, with the ability to work within a group, is necessary
5. Cultural  sensitivity is important
6. Willingness to follow a shot list, and to take direction.
7. A portfolio that reveals the ability to express emotion.
8. We would prefer someone located here in Canada

Thanks in advance...


Now, the person you need is an idle-rich; how about Mrs Pitt - if she has time... maybe Mrs Douglas, even.

For pity's sake, hombre, photographers are amongst the lowest paid group of individuals in the western world. You want to perpetuate that?

Rob C
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2010, 01:02:41 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Now, the person you need is an idle-rich; how about Mrs Pitt - if she has time... maybe Mrs Douglas, even.

For pity's sake, hombre, photographers are amongst the lowest paid group of individuals in the western world. You want to perpetuate that?

Rob C
Ahmm...

Quote
1. Although this is a charity, it is paid work
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Slobodan

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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2010, 02:19:54 PM »
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Quote from: Pelao
Hi All

I work for a humanitarian organization. We have a solid group of freelance photographers who are regulars. Growth has meant more work, and we need to expand the team.

If you know anyone who may be qualified, I would appreciate a PM. Some things to note:

1. Although this is a charity, it is paid work
2. Field experience in developing countries much preferred
3. The photographs are used in marketing, and in storytelling around the communities we serve
4. An easy-going nature, with the ability to work within a group, is necessary
5. Cultural  sensitivity is important
6. Willingness to follow a shot list, and to take direction.
7. A portfolio that reveals the ability to express emotion.
8. We would prefer someone located here in Canada

Thanks in advance...
This is a joke... right?
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k bennett
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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2010, 02:51:13 PM »
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This is a joke... right?


Sounds like the OP is describing the qualities of your basic photojournalist. I've known a number of great photographers who did very good work for humanitarian organizations, either as staff photographers or freelancers. While it's not likely to pay at the same level as working for a big multinational corporation, the OP did say it was paid work.

There's not enough negative in the original post to bring out such hostility, is there? If I were not otherwise engaged, this is something that would interest me.
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2010, 03:01:58 PM »
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Quote from: k bennett
Sounds like the OP is describing the qualities of your basic photojournalist. I've known a number of great photographers who did very good work for humanitarian organizations, either as staff photographers or freelancers. While it's not likely to pay at the same level as working for a big multinational corporation, the OP did say it was paid work.

There's not enough negative in the original post to bring out such hostility, is there? If I were not otherwise engaged, this is something that would interest me.



Do yourself a favour: check out the office addresses of some of the world's leading charities and then ask yourself a few leading questions about where the money goes.

On a parallel plane, I bet you a randy fish to a million dollars that this BP disaster in the Gulf is going to make some southern gentlemen extremely rich and some others will lose everything. BP will possibly lose its shirt over this, but the shirt won't die - it will simply find itself in someone else's wardrobe.

Rob C
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RSL
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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2010, 04:10:41 PM »
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Quote from: k bennett
Sounds like the OP is describing the qualities of your basic photojournalist.
K, Maybe a bit more than "basic."  Qualifications 2, 5, and 7 would pretty much describe a Magnum member, though "ability to work within a group," and "willingness to follow a shot list, and to take direction," wouldn't fit the Magnum profile.
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Anders_HK
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2010, 10:54:37 PM »
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Quote from: Pelao
Hi All

I work for a humanitarian organization. We have a solid group of freelance photographers who are regulars. Growth has meant more work, and we need to expand the team.

If you know anyone who may be qualified, I would appreciate a PM. Some things to note:

1. Although this is a charity, it is paid work
2. Field experience in developing countries much preferred
3. The photographs are used in marketing, and in storytelling around the communities we serve
4. An easy-going nature, with the ability to work within a group, is necessary
5. Cultural  sensitivity is important
6. Willingness to follow a shot list, and to take direction.
7. A portfolio that reveals the ability to express emotion.
8. We would prefer someone located here in Canada

Thanks in advance...

Hi Pelao,

Please ignore the replies in above that were shameful, they may or may not know what they express themselves to be when making such.

I am expatriate engineer and architect and photography is my serious hobby when living overseas and traveling to different countries. Right now I live in Malaysia which is my country # 10 to live in or 39th to visit. Something I have found is that visits to locals in poor countries is fascinating and it is a pleasure to photograph them. In fact, it can truly touch your life, and if published that of others. More so these people often greet you with a curiousity and genuine kindness and respect, far more than most people do in developed places. In fact, they seem to have values that in material world are overlooked. All it takes is to treat them with genuine respect, kindness, friendliness and genuine interest. The photos attached are from a visit I made one afternoon to a very poor village at Araku near Visakhapatnam, India in early 2008, and very off from the "tourist trail". In the evening after my visit I had the chance to meet a local news reporter who told the story behind their kind smiles. It was a stunning story. As fact about 10-15% of them die in that village each year, due to unclean water and malaria. Things like that hit you deep when you have enjoyed meet them and look at their photos. I do not know if their lives have improved now over two years later. Then again, we should refrain from being stuck that "material world" is the answer. They too have valuable culture and very valuable values.

Photography for humanitarian organization would be a pleasure for anyone who enjoy the pleasure of photography of people. People in such places cannot afford to get photos made of themselves, their family or children. As gratitude, at my visit to the people who showed me this respect and kindness in return, I took the address to their village, and a month after I posted them prints. Only one thing, I wish I could have seen their response when they received them... and more so... I wish they could get clean water.

For those technically inclined, the photos was with my then brand new Leaf Aptus 65 medium format digital back @ 28MP. The large 6x7 sized screen was a pleasure for the the villagers to see their photo on.

Regards
Anders
« Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 10:56:16 PM by Anders_HK » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2010, 03:18:22 AM »
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Anders

Very interesting; I lived in Vizagapatam (Waltair, actually, on the raised ground on the main road to Lawson's Bay) for around seven years as a young boy. I went to St Aloysious school (the only game in town at the time) for some of those years before moving school down south to the Nilgiris and I really don't think I need to apologise to anyone on a short glee trip there for my understanding of reality.

In 1947 India got its Independence. Not far from where stood our house were some ex-military quarters that were left empty after the departure of British forces. About half a mile in the other direction stood a tiny local settlement - nothing more than a group of huts that surrounded a dip in  the landcape that filled with water every monsoon; there they kept their water buffalo. Now, the military buildings of which I wrote were left untouched, abandoned and to rot because the people in the settlement had no interest whatsoever in moving in. Scattered on other hill crests around our place were more long-abandoned villas that had nothing to do with military, and like the military stuff were never touched. You can conclude from that what you like about the culture, the honesty coupled with the lack of incentive of the mindset or anything else. Just don't presume to lecture about the third-world until you really live there, really connect with the people of your own age and understand the ethos. You might believe that directly after the departure of the 'colonial oppressor' a white kid might live in fear? You'd be wrong. The saddest day from those years after Independence came in 1953 on the afternoon we said farewell to the staff at our old home; tears were mutual and flowed freely.

In a nutshell, forget the political posturing and the charity and religious missionary forces at play in your own country; they all want to take hold and exercise control. The publicity they put out is always engineered to suit their agenda, ego-trip and version of reality. What you read and are fed in the 'wealthy' west - a joke in itself there? - is as biased as the homespun party politics that fills your local and national press, the only difference being that you generally see the porkies when they occur in your own backyard.

Ciao

Rob C
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Anders_HK
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2010, 05:29:16 AM »
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Rob,

Very interesting likewise of your story. No need to apologize from your end, there are many sides to reality. Your is from same area and from a complete different eyes and experience and side of life. Very interesting in retrospect to what I experience to my very brief visit. Your story is very fascinating. Indeed, often it seems that west has emposed a "better" or "father attitude" view on "undeveloped" world. Look at Hong Kong. Part of it is good, not all is good. Look at Africa during centuries, and now perhaps the Chinese doing business there are the ones who finally have approached them from a different way. Nope,  not all good, mixed, but... hopefully for long of good. Difficult to say.

Just a glee visit cannot reveal all of lives and history of any place. However, it is far better to make such than to sit in armchair in west and make remarks of places far away. As a photographer, it is a true experience to get off the track and experience and photograph people that live traditional lives. And I speak of visiting people where guides do not take tourists. The life of such people may have been and have been shaped from complete different direction than western way. It simply touches lives, even if only glee visit per say. And it can also cause us to react, or important to think.

A visit such as I did is like a photo, a mere glimpse, but an interesting one.

Regards
Anders
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2010, 07:00:42 AM »
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Quote from: Anders_HK
As a photographer, it is a true experience to get off the track and experience and photograph people that live traditional lives. And I speak of visiting people where guides do not take tourists. The life of such people may have been and have been shaped from complete different direction than western way. It simply touches lives, even if only glee visit per say. And it can also cause us to react, or important to think.

A visit such as I did is like a photo, a mere glimpse, but an interesting one.

Regards
Anders
I'm starting to develop what may turn into a troubling attitude about such things.  I've lived in Asia most of my adult life, over 23+ years to date.  I've been most everywhere from the ship breaking yards in India to the long necked villages of northern Thailand.  It is indeed good to enrich ones lives with more knowledge and to experience more of the world.

The troubled attitude:  When I first glanced at your thumbnails and like most images I see of the region I feel a bit offended.  When we go to the zoo we photograph the great apes and tigers and lemurs and show them because they are unusual, different.. so we photograph them in their cages and gawk at the images.  I'm offended when we do this with people no matter how different their culture is from ours.  These are humans and if the most we can come up with that makes them interesting is their difference in looks then I feel offended.

IMO.. it's not enough to show the common pictures we see of these people that only show their differences in appearance.  Tour bus loads of tourists do that.  We have a greater responsibility to these places we visit.  With animals I greatly prefer photographing them running and playing or tracking their next meal.. the natural things they do in the course of being 'wild animals' which encompasses more than their appearance.   An eagle flying or catching a fish or fighting in mid-air does justice to the eagle.  A picture showing only an eagle.. does nothing.

We need to show these people interacting, living, laughing, suffering.. and bring in much more than a centered picture of someone who looks different than us.

I understand the depth of my time in Asia has led me to think differently than my fellow westerners about many things.. and perhaps its over the top to actually feel offended about such pictures.  It just seemed an appropriate time to vent..
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Chris_T
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« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2010, 07:32:10 AM »
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Quote from: Pelao
5. Cultural sensitivity is important
7. A portfolio that reveals the ability to express emotion.

You may have better luck finding this kind of photographers elsewhere. Based on the submissions in the critiques forum, the majority of LL photographers' goal is to capture "beauty" above anything else.

Try:

http://socialdocumentary.net/

http://blog.photoshelter.com/2010/05/photo...-with-ngos.html
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Rob C
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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2010, 11:19:31 AM »
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Quote from: Steve Weldon
The troubled attitude:  When I first glanced at your thumbnails and like most images I see of the region I feel a bit offended.  When we go to the zoo we photograph the great apes and tigers and lemurs and show them because they are unusual, different.. so we photograph them in their cages and gawk at the images.  I'm offended when we do this with people no matter how different their culture is from ours.  These are humans and if the most we can come up with that makes them interesting is their difference in looks then I feel offended.

I understand the depth of my time in Asia has led me to think differently than my fellow westerners about many things.. and perhaps its over the top to actually feel offended about such pictures.  It just seemed an appropriate time to vent..



No, I think you are on the money. What burned me up even more was the mention of the type of equipment used. Once upon a time the deal was to offer the natives a polaroid... or even a string of worthless beads before polas were invented. Let's buy Manhattan! Somehow, pushing that sort of pay-packet into somebody' face feels even more offensive to me than it might otherwise have been. But let's not pick on one guy - how many others do exactly the same thing and turn it into commerce? I was thumbing through more of my old French PHOTO magazines after lunch (No 226, July '86) and I came across pictures by Salgado of the famine in the Sahel. Breaks your heart, it does, but what changed since? Salgado gets more famous. Period. Sort of reminds me of the little Afghan girl with green eyes...

I don't think it isn't even that simple and easy any more; I suspect there is far more awareness and cuteness behind the smiles these days, more an idea of what's being done, both to and by.

However, that said, I also know that I suspect ever more the motivation of those who feel drawn to participate in the pictorial exposure of misery.

Someone else mentioned the quest here for beauty. Thank God for that and that it even exists within the fine mess that's humanity. Or that some can even raise their eyes to see it.

But I think I'm out of this conversation: it has depresed me more than I was even when it began. Maybe that's because as I throw out old magazines I know I'm throwing out bits of my life with them.

Rob C
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« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2010, 12:49:22 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Sort of reminds me of the little Afghan girl with green eyes...
Rob C

Rob, and Steve, I agree with the idea that tourist pictures of the locals are insulting. Most tourists don't grasp the fact that except for clothing and accoutrements people all over the world are human and very much the same. I remember seeing my own dad's double walking down a street in Bangkok. Only difference was that in Bangkok his eyes had epicanthic folds. But pictures of individual people often are far from insulting, and Steve McCurry's green-eyed kid is one of those. You get a transcendental jolt when you see that picture, and it doesn't go away. Same thing with this kid I shot in Can Tho, Vietnam in 1965. Mine's not as good as Steve's but it works pretty much the same way.

[attachment=22690:The_Frown.jpg]
« Last Edit: June 20, 2010, 02:06:56 PM by RSL » Logged

Pelao
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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2010, 01:44:45 PM »
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Quote from: Chris_T
You may have better luck finding this kind of photographers elsewhere. Based on the submissions in the critiques forum, the majority of LL photographers' goal is to capture "beauty" above anything else.

Try:

http://socialdocumentary.net/

http://blog.photoshelter.com/2010/05/photo...-with-ngos.html

Chris,
Thanks. Basically I agree, but since LL is a place I frequent I thought it was worth a try. Some really sad responses, but also a few really great PMs with new contacts.

As I mentioned in the original post, this is paid work, and many of our freelancers have found this work an opportunity to really push their careers forward. It's certainly not a simple task. Our work is very long term, involving working with communities to help overcome specific barriers and build on inherent strengths. There are strict guidelines around dignity, respect and identity. This is essential, but can cramp the style of some.

The other branch is Emergency Relief, but not all of our photographers can or want to handle this. Apart from the physical demands and risks, it can be much more disturbing than even the raw poverty we deal with regularly. Haiti is an example. We had more than 300 staff there before the quake, most of them locals, working in long-term development. All of our staff survived, but most lost family, and almost all lost their homes. Yet they carried on, and our photographers and videographers recorded much of their work, and the personal nature of the initial helplessness. They came back humbled and awed by the strength humanity can display in shocking circumstances.

Thanks again.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2010, 01:45:38 PM by Pelao » Logged
Anders_HK
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« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2010, 09:07:21 PM »
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Quote from: Steve Weldon
The troubled attitude:  When I first glanced at your thumbnails and like most images I see of the region I feel a bit offended.  When we go to the zoo we photograph the great apes and tigers and lemurs and show them because they are unusual, different.. so we photograph them in their cages and gawk at the images.  I'm offended when we do this with people no matter how different their culture is from ours.  These are humans and if the most we can come up with that makes them interesting is their difference in looks then I feel offended.

IMO.. it's not enough to show the common pictures we see of these people that only show their differences in appearance.  Tour bus loads of tourists do that.  We have a greater responsibility to these places we visit.

I understand the depth of my time in Asia has led me to think differently than my fellow westerners about many things.. and perhaps its over the top to actually feel offended about such pictures.  It just seemed an appropriate time to vent..

@ Steve

Frankly, if the images offend you then in all respect it might in your end, or perhaps is it a good evocation of feelings rather? These photos are my personal and were shot with respect and interaction with the people, however if this is your reaction perhaps merely means that they reached you in some ways. These people touched me and visiting people living traditional lives frequent do, or local munks etc. I do enjoy to photograph people living natural lives, simply because they have much character to their faces. I did so with respect for them, and nope I have not made a dime on these images and do not plan to. It was far from photographing monkeys in a cage, but if that is your view that is your view and reaction. Frankly, when photographing animals I even feel respect inside and do it with trying establish eye contact for a "sort of" acceptance. I respected those people in the village and I showed that also on my visit, which should be obvious of what I wrote. I believe my images are not same as tourists, but perhaps their lives are different enough to strike you, or perhaps you have seen too many poor beggars around Asia to feel respect for poor, I dont know frank? Like you living overseas has made me change in how I view, but in respect to many people, and especially those at the lower end of what is referred to "material" life, however suffice not to write bashing on LL. While I have been in Asia only 8 years and all across here I have lived different countries in near 18. And no, if you go where tourist go you will not get these images, those will be ones far more of a show and display, not of real. At such time my camera tend to not make a shot. Exception was perhaps the floating market in BKK, however... sad to only see nearly only tourist there, but I visited early to be able get some interaction and not scores of tourists in photos. However, that is also a unfortunate or not development; culture and traditional lives being "developed" to a level of display. It touches life to see the real instead.


Quote from: Rob C
What burned me up even more was the mention of the type of equipment used. Once upon a time the deal was to offer the natives a polaroid... or even a string of worthless beads before polas were invented. Let's buy Manhattan! Somehow, pushing that sort of pay-packet into somebody' face feels even more offensive to me than it might otherwise have been.

@ Rob,

In respect I really believe you got my mention of equipment backwards. Do you think any of those people cared if I used MFDB or the cheapest DSLR or a Holga?    Actually, apart from the one drunk man that I did not post not a single one asked me for a dime. Respect. My addition of gear was a last minute addition to my post and for the B.S. people who only think too much of gear. That equipment is my personal and was big $$ sacrifice to me, in the end it is a mere tool and I use it because it yields quality on technical side, end far more enjoyment than DSLR to me and for portraits far better image quality than anything else in my bag. Should we hide our what some label fancy camera in closet when visit poor people? To me, it was my tool of choice for image, nothing else. However, well worth to mention is that the Leaf has a big 6cm by 7cm display that frank worked very well for the people in the village to view their image instantly. That itself was a sheer enjoyment to view. Why? Because of their excitement when seeing themselves. As far as camera else I think they do not know and simply do not have opinion.

-----------------

@ General

Actually, Steve McCurry's green-eyed to me is one that magnificent invoke emotion. Is it not the point of how the photos are used?

My visit to that village was out of interest, and photographing them brought me knowledge, feeling and impact. Is it of this or sitting infront of computer bashing and complaining @LL that is of worth?

Regards
Anders
« Last Edit: June 19, 2010, 09:13:40 PM by Anders_HK » Logged
Steve Weldon
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« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2010, 09:14:25 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Breaks your heart, it does, but what changed since? Salgado gets more famous. Period. Sort of reminds me of the little Afghan girl with green eyes...
I think this works better if our expectations are realistic.  I do a fair amount of work for NGO's in the area and I've taken on much on my own.  I know I won't change the world or even a country.. but I have changed the lives of individuals and once even a small village.

Images invoke emotion, and emotion plays on our impulses.  Giving is most often impulsive.  The better the work the more zeros on the check.  That's the business aspect of this sort of work.

The personal toll can be much different.  Its difficult to return 'home' knowing people are still living in these conditions, and the personal contacts you make.. the little girl who needed medical care, the smart student wanting to study medicine, or the long food lines at the refugee camps.. the images don't easily go away.  And I won't let them go away.

I sometimes take interested individuals inside Mae La or to visit the orphanages adjacent to the main camps.  Its best described as a "life experience", something that will forever change the way you interpret life.  No matter how good the images, and believe me I'm done my best to make the most compelling images possible.. nothing prepares you for the real thing.  Its no longer only visual, but you now have the sounds and smell and the touch of the little girls hand as she held yours during your tour of the camp.  One evening along the Moei River we sat on the Thai side with the children around us with this look in their eyes that could only come from our listening to the mortars and machine gun fire rattling on. on the other side of this small river.. as they understood it was their families and relatives being eradicated.  A small fire surrounded by 30-40 pairs of the most foreboding eyes you've ever seen.

To far too many people it's about having that vacation picture of "different looking" people..  To a few of us its about much more.  I wish I was capable of explaining this better.. or why 'zoo' pictures of the locals offend me.. I can only encourage you to come see for yourself.  Its not the $50,000 Leaf camera that's making a difference..  someone who can 'see' will be more effective with charcoal and a sketchpad..
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« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2010, 09:15:53 AM »
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Quote from: Anders_HK
@ Steve

Frankly, if the images offend you then in all respect it might in your end,
Indeed it may.  I apologize.  It was not my intention to offend.
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2010, 09:48:19 AM »
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Quote from: Steve Weldon
To a few of us its about much more.  I wish I was capable of explaining this better.

You've explained it quite well ... you have a very high opinion of yourself and think you are better than most people.
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« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2010, 10:06:39 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
You've explained it quite well ... you have a very high opinion of yourself and think you are better than most people.
I suppose the smart thing to do would be ignore this.. but I cannot.  It saddens me.  It saddens me because it's not an uncommon reaction.  It should be, but it isn't.  There are a myriad of reasons you would have this reaction so it would be futile to guess.
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