You dancin’?


Here’s the first in an occasional series of unpublished images from a recent Conde Nast Traveller piece on Sao Tome and Principe.

I’d just finished a portrait down the road when I heard some music and drifted into a bar (as you do). I found a sound system and a few people swaying to the music between the tables. This elegant woman was dancing the afternoon away.

A thousand stories.



Sao Tome and Principe - Airport - Paula, a local woman dances at the White House bar near the airport, Sao Tome and Principe
Sao Tome and Principe – Airport – Paula, a local woman dances at the White House bar

Tearsheet – Eating Pests


Here’s a recent tearsheet for the German Magazine, Effilee of an article that I wrote and photographed about a particular response to non-native invasive (alien) species – Muntjac Deer, Grey Squirrel and American Crayfish… the German headline has it best – something like, “Who is a stranger here is eaten”. Less sensationally, the piece explores the environmental fallout of introduced species and a discussion about both ‘speciesism’ and, the realization that we now live in an age that may come to be known as the Anthrocene.

Many thanks to the very excellent Crayfish Bob, Fergus Drennan (aka Fergus the Forager) and Mike Robinson





pest02 pest03 pest04

Burundi – slipping back

I read with great regret a small piece from the Economist that tells of a ‘souring mood’ in the tiny African country, Burundi. It seems that opposition forces have again taken to the hills after around three hundred of their number have been killed since July and dozens arrested. Much of this goes back to the 2010 election which, despite the International community declaring reasonably fair was greeted by anger from the forces opposing President Nkurunziza. I worked several times in Burundi during the last twelve years – assignments ranged from looking at the so-called Regroupment camps where the Tutsi government corralled Hutu peasants ‘for their own safety’ in appalling conditions (as part of a global series called The Politics of Hunger) to looking at the steps to reconciliation with the Bashingantahe councils. I also photographed and wrote about the extraordinary Marguerite Barankitse, The Angel of Burundi who adopted children of all tribes amidst the terrible violence of the Civil War. I fear that her heroism and devotion will be called on again.

On Monday, The Forces for National Liberation (FNL) leader Agathon Rwasa, whom Burundian authorities believe is hiding along with fellow combatants in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, called on Nkurunziza to step down. Reuters are reporting this as a declaration of war. I sincerely hope that they are wrong.



Burundi – Bujambura – President Buyoya speaks at May Day rally


Burundi – Buhonga – A Hutu child carries water in a tin up a steep hill in Buhonga Regroupment camp


Burundi – Buhonga – A malnourished Hutu peasant woman receives treatment at a medical centre. She is part of the ethnic Hutu population that has been internally exiled from their land by the Tutsi military in order to cut aid to Hutu rebels.


Burundi – Buhonga – A peasant cultivates land in Buhonga Regroupment Camp watched by a soldier. He is part of the ethnic Hutu population that has been internally exiled from their land by the Tutsi military in order to cut aid to Hutu rebels.


Burundi – Buhonga – Hutu peasant family cultivates a small patch of land within their regroupment camp


Burundi – Ruyigi – A counsel of the Bashingantahe (roughly meaning ‘wisemen’) meet to settle a dispute in their commune. The Bashingantahe, a traditional court system, have been successfully resolving disputes concerning the civil war and issues of forgiveness and acceptance.

Action Aid Photos of the Year

India - Delhi - A homeless cycle rickshaw driver dresses at a parking lot next to the Yamuna River where he sleeps


I’m delighted to say that this image has just been chosen as one of Action Aid’s images of the Year. The full set is here.






World Homeless Day

This post is a little late as World Homeless Day was on Monday 10/10/11 and although several kind people (Laurence Watts, Justin Leighton, Panos and Duckrabbit) Tweeted some of my work but I was away and so missed the opportunity to write something.

The work here is from an ongoing piece about Delhi and it’s people – where some 100000 people just happen to be homeless. I’m always cautious these days about doing another story about the homeless – you know the nameless victims staring up at the camera but  the sheer scale of Delhi’s problem is so significant, so enormous it became inevitable. The work was an assignment from ActionAid (thanks to Laurence who believed in my proposal) and was made through the invaluable assistance of Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan from whom I must thank the wonderful Paramjeet Kaur and Prakash, my invaluable guide and I hope now, friend. I tried very hard to make work that showed people as individuals coping in very difficult circumstances but one that is surprisingly easy to fall into. Normal, ordinary people in difficult situations. These are just three of my current favourite images – you can see a larger set via my archive or the Panos site.


India - New Delhi - Patti Das and his child Khrisha on a piece of waste ground beneath a flyover near Okhla station. New Delhi, India.


India - New Delhi - A mother picks at her child's hair for fleas as a train passes behind them on a piece of waste ground where they live beneath a flyover near Okhla station. New Delhi, India


India - New Delhi - A homeless mother, hugged by her small child, cooks breakfast by the railway tracks where her family live. Okhla, New Delhi, India

Ten glorious years…


According to General Stanley McChrystal, America’s war in Afghanistan began with a “frighteningly simplistic” view of the country.

An illegal, arrogant, NeoCon invasion was premised on a basic misunderstanding?

No shit

As our colonial masters in the White House might say.


Afghanistan - Kabul - A woman begs on the street

Other lives, other rooms

I am woken every morning at dawn by the sounds of men breaking down buildings by hand. New Delhi, because of its absurd land prices is constantly being broken and rebuilt again by thousands of unskilled labourers working for a pittance. All day, every day.

This is the view of the house opposite. A view into other lives, other rooms.


India - New Delhi - Men construct a new house room by room

Verve Photo

I’m delighted to be the subject of a post at the rather excellent Verve Photo that features my work on capoeira in Brazil.

I must admit I was a little surprised to be included in such a blog that prides itself on showcasing ‘the new breed of documentary photographers’ as I seem (or feel) like I have already been around the block more than once, but no matter. Geoffrey Hiller was utterly charming and I was very pleased that he chose an image from a series that showcases work that isn’t necessarily dark and serious.

Many thanks to Geoffrey and I reproduce the short interview below.


“The story was on Capoeira, the martial art/dance once the (banned) preserve of African slaves, now a national symbol of Brazil. It was shot on assignment for a car magazine – Lexus – with whom I’ve photographed and written travel pieces on and off for nearly a decade. My fixer had arranged for five models – all expert Capoeiristas, and the idea was that in addition to photographing some Capoeira classes in the city, we’d make the main images on Copacabana and Leblon beaches. I remember it rained for a couple of days so I had to shoot the beach twice before I was happy. Initially I shot with two portable strobes but that felt too ‘fashioney’ so I went back to a much simpler set-up – shooting at dusk with available light and couple of fixed lenses: a much more traditional reportage feel. I’d worked in Brazil only once before in 1999 as part of a five country reportage about the Politics of Hunger. I’d shot a piece with the Landless Peasant’s Union (the MST) on squatted land in the far north: the Capoeira story was far removed from that and some of the images have formed the basis of a lifestyle folio that sees me work on ‘lighter’ stories away from pieces in Africa and Asia that I am perhaps more known for. A good balance, I think.”


Archives – rediscovered images 1

I’m currently going through a rather time consuming process with a really excellent editor, to upgrade my website and portfolios (more about this another time). The project involved going back over many of my stories and looking beyond the initial edit to images that were discarded or forgotten. Unfortunately, many of my originals have been lost or damaged over the years but I seem to have made some interesting discoveries: pictures that I’d forgotten about or simply overlooked. During the next weeks, I thought I might post some significant finds. I start with an image from a story in Mauritania about the wind and the desert.

Mauritania - Chinguetti - A sad woman in a house in Chinguetti.

I remember photographing this woman in a house and her looking terribly forlorn, distant and sad. I never could find out why. My notebook tells me that I was with her and her husband for only ten minutes. Sometimes, perhaps its better not to know…