Knowing You project carried on during the lockdown

A compelling article ‘Supporting communities throughout the lockdown’ by Near Neighbours on the work that the charity supported throughout the ongoing Covid-19 emergency and how the various groups and organisations have found ways of being relationally close to communities and individuals even when they were physically distant.

The article recounts heart-rending examples here of projects supported by the charity that carried on supporting their communities during lockdown overcoming communication, technical and logistical challenges. I am very humbled that the project ‘Knowing You’ is among the project described in the article.
To read about it:  https://www.near-neighbours.org.uk/response-covid

PHOTO ARCHIVE NEWS IS A MEDIA PARTNER OF THE PHOTOJOURNALISM NIGHTS!

Delighted to welcome Photo Archive News as a media partner to the second edition of Photojournalism Nights event on the 27th November at the Elephant West gallery in White City, 18:00-23:00.

As a media partner, Photo Archive News will be promoting the event and will be selecting and publishing a photo essay from the Photojournalism Nights.


Photo: ©Claudia Leisinger

An evening dedicated to photojournalism showcasing meaningful discussions and connections with an impressive line-up of four photojournalists who will present work that portrays issues relating to Belonging, Brexit, European Identity and Marginalisation. We are pleased to present:

• Quetzal Maucci Children of Immigrants

• Claudia Leisinger Europe Revisited

• Sukhy Hullait 100 Days of Brexit

• Pete Boyd It is not about Football

The evening will have photographers presentations, keynotes, and networking till late at the bar and lounge of Elephant West.

About Photo Archive News:
Since 2001, Photo Archive News  reports stock and editorial photo industry news daily. Read by picture editors, art directors, picture researchers, photographers, photo agencies owners and staff and the stock photography industry worldwide, the site includes regular News, Jobs, Listings and Interviews with leading picture library personalities, picture researchers, picture editors and photographers.

Join the event

FREE PHOTOJOURNALISM CLASSES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

If you are aged between 14 and 25, living in Hammersmith and Fulham, come to our free workshops and the opportunity to learn Photojournalism. If you have a passion for telling a story with images, for photography and wish to learn how to cover news, advocate for social change, telling the story of people and communities, these sessions will be perfect for you.   Some of the topics covered: Spaces are limited.

Register

The Workshops are kindly supported by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.   

BLACK LIVES MATTER – LONDON 2020

Text and Photography by Bradley Stearn

©Bradley Stearn
©Bradley Stearn

During the summer of 2020, I decided to commit to a photo project documenting the Black Lives Matter demonstrations around London.
The tragic death of George Floyd in Minnesota on the 25th May triggered the first demonstration in London on the 31st May 2020. I wanted to use this opportunity to hopefully capture a positive change in our country.
I believe that mainstream media are effective at dividing the nation, writing articles that are designed to cause anger, at times it is difficult to find honesty in the writing. I wanted to discover firsthand what the BLM movement was about.

6th June 2020 ©Bradley Stearn

Experiencing the protests, it is clear that there’s a lot of anger and frustration towards racism in the country, and it was insightful to be able to listen to so many passionate speakers sharing their experiences. As a white photographer covering these protests, I quite often had the feeling that maybe I didn’t belong, wondering who I really was to be covering the demonstrations. I now believe that attending the protests has opened my eyes to a lot of things, mainly the fact that just being not racist doesn’t help solve much at all.

A more proactive approach is needed to help create change in the country when it comes to racism. 
Being more inclusive towards other cultures within a work place is one of the many things to think about. I work as camera crew in the film industry, an industry that is notorious for being dominated by white males. I have however seen a lot of positive change towards the diversion of cultures and gender when it comes to crewing up for productions. One organisation that has been set up is The Hue List, a film and TV crewing service for hiring BAME workers in the UK and EU. A wonderful initiative for helping to create a more diverse group of workers in the UK film and tv industries. 

20th June 2020 ©Bradley Stearn


In the process of wanting to be as objective as possible with my project, I also photographed an opposing protest on the 13th June. Far Right and English Defense League supporters turned up in Westminster to counter protest the BLM demonstrations. It didn’t take long to realise that these protesters where basically using this opportunity to have a ‘piss up’ in the park, with little to no agenda to their protesting. Witnessing EDL supporters harassing members of the public, along with aggression towards police and the press, were all things that created a feeling of disgust within me. A placard from a BLM demonstration on Speakers Corner sticks in my mind, ”Racism is not Patriotism”. 

6th June 2020 ©Bradley Stearn
©Bradley Stearn

I think one of the more eventful days was the 6th June. BLM protesters peacefully marched down Whitehall to the gates of Downing Street. In a dramatic turn of weather, a thunder storm opened up and torrential rain poured down on London in an almost disorientating fashion. This created chaos on the street, riling up protesters as a select group of people began throwing projectiles and smoke grenades towards Metropolitan police and Downing Street. In a turn of events this led to mounted police officers attempting to control the crowds of protesters.

20th June 2020 ©Bradley Stearn

A young protester then pushed his bike into one of the horses, causing the horse to spook and for a police officer to sustain serious injuries. These events all got majorly criticized, with opinions stating that the Met police acted too heavily in this scenario. It was a combination of people turning up to purposefully cause trouble and the police making some bad decisions controlling that. Leading to the BLM movement as a whole receiving backlash from the media for the events that happened that day. 

6th June 2020 ©Bradley Stearn
20th June 2020 ©Bradley Stearn

Bradley Stearn
@BradleyStearnPhoto
Bradleystearn@outlook.com​
+44 (0) 7557383595

All photographs ©Bradley Stearn

Photojournalism Nights 11th Edition

24th March 2021, 6:30pm ONLINE

Photojournalist Hub eleventh edition of the Photojournalism Nights presents an amazing line-up of photographers: Barbara TraverBrian OngoroHannah Kozak.

A Ugandan security officer asks for social distancing as truck drivers wait in line to go through the Uganda’s immigration office in Malaba, a border town with Kenya, in Uganda, on April 29, 2020.©Brian Ongoro
©Hannah Kozak
©Barbara Traver

Barbara Traver, is a photographer based in Spain. She studied at the Espai d’art fotogràfic school (Valencia, Spain) and completed a master’s degree in production and photographic projects at the same centre together with the University of Valencia. That same year, Barbara won a scholarship to study in Madrid (Spain) at the EFTI school, where she took a course in contemporary photography and another in photojournalism and documentary photography. She has self-published two photo-books, exhibited in various national and international venues, and given several lectures where she delves into visual education and bringing photography to all audiences. Barbara is also the founder of @iphotograp.her , a collective of women photographers around the world.

Brian Ongoro, is a photojournalist based in Kisumu, Kenya majoring on documentary, editorial and commercial photography. He has carried out assignments for media houses, news agencies and non-governmental organisations. Brian’s work is known for covering East Africa and has been published nationally and internationally, including BBC, Al Jazeera, Guardian, CNN, Bloomberg, Le Monde. Brian is a contributor of AFP photo.

Hannah Kozak, is a photographer based in Los Angeles, California, who was born to a Polish father and a Guatemalan mother. At the age of ten, she was given a Kodak Brownie camera by her father, Sol, a survivor of eight Nazi forced labour camps and began instinctively capturing images that felt honest and real. While working in a camera store at the age of twenty, Hannah’s life changed when she met a successful stunt woman who became her mentor and helped her start a career in stunts. For over twenty-five years, Hannah followed a career in the film industry capturing images of far away lands, however after decades of standing in for someone else, Hannah has turned the camera on herself documenting subjects that touches her emotionally, including her painful and deeply touching relationship with her mother, powerfully captured in ‘He Threw the Last Punch Too Hard’ photo book and photo story.

The Photojournalism Nights is an event that promotes committed and courageous photojournalism and engages the public to social justice and human rights.

To join: HERE

Injustices & Inequalities: Covid-19 – Edition 8

The current Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected communities and people who were already marginalised, discriminated, and at the throng of continuous injustices and inequalities. We are bringing together stories, investigations from around the world to highlight and advocate and create the important exposure to leverage and bring about positive changes.
In the 8th edition of the Journal on “Injustice & Inequalities: Covid-19”, we present the work of four great photographers Nic Madge, Victoria Herranz, Zula Rabikowska and Valeria Luongo, who present and share realities being effected by the ever changing society during the pandemic from the tremendous challenges of the refugees and impoverished populations in Sicily, the documentation of the social impact of the pandemic on the people of St Albans in the UK , the vulnerabilities of the elders in Italy, and the enormous human rights strike on the right of abortion for women in Poland.
The pandemic has widened social inequalities and injustices and this journal is sharing realities, issues and disparities that we need to see, reflect upon and action.

Photo editor: Cinzia D’Ambrosi

PANDEMIC PORTRAITS

The People of St Albans in the Time of Covid

NIC MADGE

Living through the Covid pandemic is the biggest challenge faced by the people of St Albans for over seventy years. It is also history in the making. December, when St Albans was only in Tier 2, feels like history. The impact of the virus has changed so rapidly that December 2020 is indeed history. Future generations will study the pandemic and analyse how it changed the social, economic and political fabric of this country.

As a photographer living in St Albans, I am working with St Albans Museums, The Herts Advertiser, St Albans BID, local community groups and businesses to record the way in which we are surviving the pandemic. I am doing that by making portraits of people, mainly in the Market Place, but also elsewhere in town, as they go about their daily lives; shopping; working; exercising etc. I am taking photographs of people both wearing and not wearing their Covid-safety masks. I am asking everyone photographed to write a few words about the pandemic and how it has affected them. I am producing the portraits as digital diptychs – portraits of each person with and without a mask, side by side, with a short caption beneath. The portraits reflect the vitality and diversity of St Albans.

In return for participation in the project, I am emailing a free portrait to everyone photographed.

As well as photographing in the Market Place, when able to do so, I have collaborated with local community groups and charities to photograph their members, including Open Door (housing for homeless people), Passport to Leisure, The Daylight Club (both giving support to young adults with disabilities) and the Sopwell Community Trust (which inter alia delivers food boxes to vulnerable people).

The captions enable the people of St Albans to express themselves; to reveal their experiences, both bad and good; and to mention their hopes and fears. The project has shown that, although St Albans is a relatively affluent city, there are huge disparities in the way in which the pandemic has affected people. The lives of some have been devastated. Others have hardly been touched. The comments included in the captions are very varied and provide a real insight into the effect of the pandemic. They show great public strength and resilience, but private pain and angst.

I hope the project will run for a year, with images and comments divided into monthly chapters so that we can see how experiences and attitudes change over time. Clothing will reflect the changing seasons and perhaps even evolving moods. The portraits with captions will enter the archives of St Albans Museums so that future generations of Albanians will be able to see what we look like and read our short comments about the pandemic. They will also be exhibited in the Museum + Gallery when it re-opens, hopefully on May 17th (after lockdown) until September 30th. They will also be preserved in the British Library digital archives and be exhibited on the Photojournalism Hub website. And, after completion of the project, the diptychs will be available to be exhibited elsewhere either (i) as one multi-media presentation; (ii) a series of monthly multi-media presentations; or (iii) as traditional photographic prints.

But I don’t want this just to be a dry historical record. I want this to be an immediate, ongoing, inter-active project involving all the communities of St Albans. I am uploading a monthly collection of diptychs with a soundtrack onto YouTube. Here are hyperlinks to the monthly editions for October, November, December 2020, January and February 2021. I am also making the images immediately available via Instagram and Facebook (including the All Things St Albans; St Albans Past and Present; St Albans People and Isolation Arts Café Facebook groups), web-sites, digital screens in local businesses and the local press. For example, Ashtons, estate agents in London Road, are displaying some of the images on their street facing digital wall and including them in their newsletter. Some have been reproduced in the Herts Advertiser, My Local News and on the BBC website.

Weather permitting, I will be standing outside the old Town Hall which houses the St Albans Museum + Gallery a couple of days a week. If you wish to be photographed, please email me at nicmadge@ntlworld.com to agree a mutually convenient time and date.

I am very conscious of Covid-safety issues and ensure that social distancing is maintained at all times. I provide hand-sanitiser. All photographs are taken in the open air.

Nic Madge
I am a photographer who lives in St Albans. I have recently completed an M.A. in Documentary Photography and Photo-journalism at the University of the Arts, London. Previously, I have published photo-books and had solo exhibitions of my portraits/street photography at the British Museum and the Swiss Cottage Gallery, as well as several joint exhibitions.

nicmadge@ntlworld.com
https://www.nicmadge.co.uk/PANDEMIC_PORTRAITS.php

Instagram: @nicmadge

ABORTION PROTESTS IN POLAND

ZULA RABIKOWSKA

Protesters take to the streets to show their rejection of the government’s ban of abortion in October 2020.
Heavily armed police getting ready to respond to the abortion ban protesters in Cracow, Poland October 2020.

Zula Rabikowska
https://zulara.co.uk/
Instagram: zula.ra

IN THE SICILIAN BOAT

Victoria Herranz

Palermo, the capital of Sicily, and the collateral consequences of the pandemic.
In a broken land, punished economic and socially, without jobs, with a high rate of exodus and migration, the situation has been aggravated because COVID-19 lockdown.
Now, Palermo is face to face with a known enemy: the hunger, the fear, the death. Different organizations and social movement have joined forces to improve quality of life for all citizens. It doesn’t matter where you were born, the color of your skin, your faith. You are sicilian now. And we’re in the same boat… Frontiers begin to open three mouths after lockdown. But the pain of hit, in this wounded land, will last a long time. Beyond the crisis, the Mafia and the pandemic Palermo resists.

The decision of compulsory isolation aggravated the situation of a place economically damaged,
with a high rate of unemployment, immigration and exodus.©Victoria Herranz
It is estimated then during the emergency request for food aid increased by 20-30% across the
country, with the most critical situation in the South.©Victoria Herranz

Many families in a very delicate situation met face to face with the hunger.©Victoria Herranz

Palermo began to undergo collateral consequences when the Italian government decreed the national lockdown. Only activities considered essential could continued their work in a very limited way.©Victoria Herranz

On 8 March, the Association of Chinese Merchants of Palermo distributed some 3000 free masks
to the local population.©Victoria Herranz
Before the official lockdown, the Chinese community of Palermo decided to suspend
all commercial activity and retreats to isolate themselves voluntarily.©Victoria Herranz

Victoria Herranz
http://www.victoriaherranz.com/
Instagram: victoria_herranz

LATER LIFE

Valeria Luongo


Rome, December 2020 – January 2021

What does it mean to give up a year of your life when you are elderly and considered among the most vulnerable group in society?

Since the beginning of the Covid 19 epidemic in Italy, the country in Europe with the oldest population, people over 65 at a higher risk of infection have been asked to take a very different sacrifice to the young in society; to potentially spend the final years of their life in quarantine. Old people have been constantly fearful of becoming new victims. Even those who would still otherwise be mentally, socially and physically active found themselves completely isolated from their youngest relatives or friends.

I photographed and asked old people, all over 65 and under 100, to talk about their first covid year, to imagine their future and that of society and to reflect about later life in times of pandemic. They shared an insight about the passing of time, the challenges and hope for the future. As the members of society with the most life experience it was interesting to hear what they had to say about the current crisis that sees them at the center of it.

Agostino e Bernardo, 68 and 72, retired butchers.

“I still prefer the poverty of my childhood to what we have now.
It was a more honest, healthy environment. Today we can count on big
industries but inequalities are stronger than ever”.

Flavio, 93, retired engineer

“The world is changing in a radical way. I was part of it: I was born
within the change, I saw its development and I can still see it going
further. The world will become more homogenous and I am really
positive about this process”.

Antonietta, 77, retired administrative assistant

“If there weren’t books, cinema, radio I would have got ill. How could
we live without the arts? Knowledge is so necessary to survive hard
times. In these past months this has been my window to the world”.

Amleto, 94, retired paint shop owner

“The crisis started as soon as we abandoned the land.
We are not walking on the right path: we need to take a step back and
start again from there. The land is the base of life”.

Valeria Luongo
Documentary Photographer and Filmmaker
valerialuongo.com
@va.luo


Injustices & Inequalities: Covid-19 – Edition8

PHOTO EDITOR
Cinzia D’Ambrosi


@cinziadambrosi

The Damaging Impact of Locust Plagues on Pastoralist Communities in Kenya.

By Laura James

Key Facts on the 2020 Locust Plagues:

  • The Desert Locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world and a single swarm covering one square kilometre can contain up to 80 million locusts. (FAO)
  • One mega-swarm of locusts detected in 2020 in Kenya covered 240,000 hectares of land, an area the size of Luxembourg. (FAO)
  • At their peak earlier in early 2020, swarms were eating 1.8m tonnes of vegetation a day across 350 sq km the FAO says. (BBC)
  • It was predicted more than 25 million people in east Africa would experience food insecurity in 2020 with the locust infestations compounding the situation. (International Observatory Human Rights)

Georgina Smith is a photojournalist based in Nairobi, Kenya and recently appeared as a guest speaker at one of the Photojournalism Nights online events. At the event she spoke of the impact climate change induced locust plagues are having on pastoralist communities in the County of Isiolo, Kenya. Having grown up in a rural area of Zambia, Georgina has lived in close proximity to the natural environment herself, which is one of the reasons for her investigating this story. Below Georgina answers my questions regarding the locust plagues and highlights how the local pastoralist communities living on the ‘front lines’ of climate change are suffering human rights abuses.

Moses Lomooria, 34, cattle herder, a father of 6. He is also a peace ambassador in his community. He holds dead locusts found near his animals. ©Georgina Smith.

How is climate change linked to the locust plagues in Kenya?

‘With the story that I was working on for the locust invasion most people are saying there was a climate (change) link. This is because the increased heavy rainfall meant that there was more breading going on in the locus populations, so that combined with some other things meant that there was this huge influx of locusts coming into Kenya from other parts of Africa such as Yemen and Somalia. When they arrived in Kenya last year (2019) it was the worst outbreak for 70 years. Most people had never seen them in that many numbers before, so it was quite a shock for people.’ 

What was your motivation for investigating this story?

‘I think it was the fact that at the beginning of 2020 and the end of 2019 there were all these news reports coming in about this invasion and that it was the worst one in 70 years. So that was the broad news story, but I really wanted to dig into it and find out who specifically was being affected as I knew in those areas there are pastoralist communities and they are very vulnerable communities anyways. They really are hit by so many different things; the impact of climate change in a normal year, by so many other elements and the weather. They are very close to the environment and so anything that happens they feel the impacts first.

The plagues also have impacts with regards to security and conflict, because once the food runs out for the animals, those herders have to take their animals to different pastures and perhaps trespass on other lands. So I was interested to show how these communities are struggling with those multiple impacts, and this was the time Covid had just hit so that was another thing. There was all these layers of challenges that they were facing.’

Samburu herders bring home their herds in the evening, in Samburu East sub-county, Samburu county. ©Georgina Smith.

Is the locust plague causing food insecurity there?

‘Yes, so the issue was that the locusts were eating the food for the animals and in this area the community is very dependent on the animals. So if the animals die, which they did, they don’t have meat, milk and they don’t have income as they often rely on the animals for income as well. This created a triple effect in the sense that they basically lost everything. Also, some of the people we spoke to said some of the pesticides that were being sprayed (to kill the locusts) also killed some of the animals, but that hasn’t been verified. In any case the animals were being wiped out so the communities were being put in a very difficult situation.’

Leshidungule, a 30-year old Samburu pastoralist, who narrated how the locusts wiped out animal pasture. ©Georgina Smith.
Young members of 40-year-old Turkana herder Erupe Lobun’s family keep back baby goats in an acacia-thorn cattle pen, so they do not suckle too much. Lack of pasture means their mothers do not have enough milk. ©Georgina Smith.

What type of practices were they putting in place to try and resolve the issue? 

‘So they (the communities) were working with FAO the government to try and spray the locust swarms to stop them from spreading. That was the main effort that was happening. Yet, at the beginning of the pandemic there were some issues around the logistics of getting all of the equipment in place. But then as the pandemic went on that was less of an issue. So that was basically how they were trying to control it, and this was in July 2020. So that was the situation at that time.’

FAO control operations for the vast areas of Samburu, Isiolo, Laikipia and Meru, sprayers are alerted to tackle the desert locusts. ©Georgina Smith.

You mentioned earlier that the communities were having to trespass on land, did this cause conflict?

‘Well we didn’t see anything, but one of the people we spoke with who was a peace-broker as it were, said that she had worked with the communities to try and resolve conflict so it was definitely tense. But I haven’t seen anything as a result of that yet, but I could be wrong as I wasn’t there to see it.’

Josephine Ekiru, peace-building coordinator, Northern Rangelands Trust. She warns of conflict among pastoralist groups due to lack of pasture. ©Georgina Smith.

 Will you be following up with the communities in the future?

‘Yes I think so, I haven’t done anything yet but I hope that it is something I can go back to and revisit as the locust plague is still a big problem at the moment and they didn’t manage to get rid of all of them. They come back once the seasons change so it is this constant cycle. Right now other people are following up with it.’

Is there anything you’d like to add about the communities and the impact this is having on their human rights?

‘I think something to add is that in general the poorest communities are the ones who are dependent on the land and are the ones who face the biggest impacts with regards to climate change. We all see the impact of climate change around the world but it’s the people who are living with the environment, on the front lines, who see these first. I’m sure there are things we can learn from these communities about how we can manage our natural resources and land better so that we don’t make these challenges worse.’

From left, two Samburu warriors talk to thirty two year old Tiampati Leletit. who lost 80 of his goats when the locusts arrived. Now he has an empty pen, since he gave his four remaining goats to a neighbor to look after. ©Georgina Smith.
Locusts. ©Georgina Smith.

Get in Touch

Georgina Smith

Photojournalist
Georgina@shutterinspired.com
http://georginasmith.org/
IG: georgina_smith_photo

Laura James
Writer
Laura@photojournalismhub.org