Tag Archives: photograph

Golfers and gun-handlers

Darkness drops quickly near the equator, making the sunset hour even more precious. You notice it especially if you’re taking photos: wait mere minutes and you miss the best light.

As the sun went down on the outskirts of Mbarara this evening, people were strolling home after Sunday visits; armed and uniformed security guards were heading out to work — and a group of elderly gents were finishing up a round of golf. It’s good to be out of Kampala.

 

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Playing by the rules

Polling station

Polling station

Yesterday there were primary elections in Uganda, ahead of the national poll taking place next February; candidates have apparently been ‘campaigning’ by handing out shoes, soap and other gifts. We were advised to stay at home after 4pm; there’d been some messing around in a nearby town and rumours of teargas.

It was less dramatic here, thankfully. After the polling stations closed, a gang of young lads sped recklessly up and down the highway in a truck, cheering loudly, a dozen of them crammed in or leaning out the window, plus a few lying back across the bonnet. After dark, a small crowd gathered noisily at the town council office across the road, but the sound was of celebration, not protest.

This morning as we were about to get started with class, a bunch of young teenagers in school uniform appeared. Continue reading

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Pig & blankets

My four students, Ugandan volunteers from their early 20s to about 50, arrived more or less on time (on African time) this morning. Susan promptly handed a bundle of blankets over to the boss, who sat at the desk next to us with the sleeping 1-month-old Elijah across her lap the rest of the morning. The shriek of a pig being slaughtered just outside was a bit more distracting, but otherwise things sort of went to plan (photos coming once internet more available).

The level of education, and of confidence, varies widely in the group. Zai has her own business – making peanut butter – and Vincent has two university degrees. The others are shy and unsure, with more of a language barrier too. We’ve got quite a lot to do, in less than two weeks: the idea is to get them started on gathering photos and interviews for the website, while giving them a chance to develop new skills.  Continue reading

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Taking your trash out

I know – another post about rubbish – but only because of this guy, who we saw frantically rooting around for plastic bottles and such, unknown to the driver. Somehow, he retains his balance round corners and over bumps, managing to fill a sackful before he jumps off, at the last moment – before the truck turns off the main road and disappears into the depths of the Dandora dump.

Trash-2 Continue reading

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Making it work

Photo by Lawrence

First timers – photo by Lawrence

New project, new challenges.

Back in Kazo, the school was about 20 yards from my home; here, it takes a good hour and a half bouncing along the roads of some not-so-nice parts of Nairobi. The Kenyans I’m working with have zero experience of cameras (which also makes it a lot of fun), and I’m told we need to pay them something to compensate for a day of lost wages. And we have only four working days to do something meaningful.

At least this time, I’m not too surprised when we don’t start on time, or that attendance is somewhat, well, fluid. And since my expectations are lower – this is a bit of a trial, before a real (and funded!) project comes next year – it’s nice just to see where it goes. They seem to be enjoying it so far. Continue reading

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Keep driving

This is what a photo of  (my) fear looks like – taken from behind a blacked out (still moving) car window.  It’s the edge of the infamous dump in Dandora, a suburb of Nairobi. At 30 acres, it’s one of the world’s largest urban rubbish dumps, and a site of gang violence, pollution and daily desperation.

Dump Continue reading

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No to nostalgia

RainWe finished the film, even with 4+ days without power; our main actor walking off set mid-scene; and people never turning up when they said they would. We screened it on my laptop in a dark classroom on my last evening in Kazo, to about 20 people, and it was kind of special to feel proud of something that I had not done: the guys had done virtually all the actual shooting, acting, editing.

But there’d been too little time (or energy, or electricity) to do all that I could/should have done. I could have done a camera class with the teachers and P2 class, could have helped Eliab with his CV, could have helped Godfrey with his dance website and Joseph with his exam prep, could have helped Shakul and Baker create flickr accounts, could have given Poul more time on my computer to play with Photoshop, could have done more editing with Daniel, could have taught Juliette how to use Excel and Word, could have made that brochure for Ronald, could have done more photo sessions with everyone, especially the latecomers, could have pushed further on the AIDS issue that was always sort of there but never properly discussed. I could have done more for so many good-hearted, courageous people. Maybe I need to come back.

Before the nostalgia sets in, I’d better remember the worst bits. Continue reading

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New Vision and the Thieves

_NewVision of the Thieves

There’s a whole story behind this photo that I don’t have, but what I do know is: this is the Local Council, a one-room building not far from Kazo Playground. The guy sitting down is the ‘Defence’.  The two young men being photographed, by a New Vision journalist, have been taken in (arrested?); their shirts are tied together. At first, I was told they were thieves. Later, someone said they were homeless and caught squatting.I never found out what they really did. Continue reading

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I for Inventive

WATER (1)The P3 class needed a bit more structure, so we started working on a photographic alphabet. This has had the advantage of the kids realising that what they see and try to capture isn’t necessarily what others see in the photo (I for ‘insect’ was a difficult one – bugs aren’t great at being visible; and ‘inside’ wasn’t so obvious either). Continue reading

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(Some) Action

Schedule We have 20 scenes to shoot in a week. After a slow start, I realised that my hands-off approach might be fine for actual filming, but it damn well wasn’t working for planning. We’ll see how my schedule works out.

There’d been a general sense of surprise at how much work was involved, and more interest in taking photos of each other wearing sunglasses. (Is that an age thing, a boy thing, or a Ugandan thing?)  It’s probably going to rain now, they said. We don’t have all the actors. They won’t let us film there. There’s no power.  It’s too expensive to print out the script. Continue reading

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