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East Africa drought pictures uploaded

Hello all,
Pictures from my recent assignment in NE Kenya and Somalia are now online, for anybody interested to see…very sad situation over there, entire populations ressourceless, much to be done. As usual, sorry for the large edit (70) and comments welcome. For the technically minded, it was shot on Leica with 24mm and 35mm lenses.


by [a former member] at 2006-03-27 23:50:00 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) working like mad in Brussels , Belgium | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Bruno, it is great work, another really well done story.  I wonder if you would comment on two things for the benefit of everyone looking in here: first of all, your working method: why the use of film and leicas?  I dont want to turn this into a techie post, but I think it is good for younger photographers to be reminded of the variety of MOs available and, whether for strategic or aesthetic purposes or both, that one can may still have recourse to the older method of shooting.  Second, could you fill us in from your ground level perspective a little more about what is happening in the horn of Africa. You went to Kenya and Somalia - the latter of which is considered by most a no-man’s land, reputedly impossible to travel through -  so what is the extent of the drought, what is being done to alleviate the problem, and are we witnessing here a catastrophic breakdown of the nomadic or rural societies that exist in this area?

by Jon Anderson | 28 Mar 2006 06:03 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
bruno arretes de faire de si belles images . ça me rend  fou… continue encore et encore
j ai fait des images en Angola sur la malnut et les enfants des rues pour MDM tu pourras voir le site

by Stephane Lehr | 28 Mar 2006 07:03 | paris, France | | Report spam→
Bruno….great pictures from a situation where basically all there is to photograph are tired but very beautiful people, dead cattle and desert…!!

I’ve just returned from that region as well…around Marsabit in northern Kenya….bit more of a writing trip than picture stories this time but a fascinating place.

To help answer some of your questions Jon, in most areas north of Marsabit into Ethiopia and Somalia it hasn’t rained substantially for over a year, there is water avaiable in some places but no pasture meaning most pastoralists and their livestock have to walk over 100km between bore holes and decent pasture…this is what’s killing their livestock…exhaustion…The pastoralists are saying this is the worst drought they’ve ever experienced and most have lost well over 75% of their animals..which basically means all their income for food etc..the government and NGO’s in most areas have been very slow to react…the most affected are the very old/young who used to rely on the goats milk as nourishment..now most goats are dead or to weak to milk, as are the mothers….everything depends on the rains coming this April…if not I guess a lot more LS’s will be visiting the region…!!

If you want to read more please look at www.cafod.org.uk for some articles…cheers…

by Richard Wainwright | 28 Mar 2006 07:03 | Jersey, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
connais tu la situation au nord de l ouganda et au sud soudan avec les rebelles ougandais du LRA ????

by Stephane Lehr | 28 Mar 2006 07:03 | paris, France | | Report spam→
Jon, thank you for your comments on the pictures. I agree completely with Richard’s account of the situation there; if the April rains fail, as it is highly possible, the whole region is at a turning point…people are not dying yet of hunger and thirst, but if what little is left from the livestock dies, the situation will worsen in a matter of weeks…already there are worrying signs, outbreaks of measles or polio amongst others…the international community has been very slow to respond and very unadequately in my opinion, eventhough brave efforts are made by WFP, UNICEFMSF, ACF and a few, too few others…
To answer your ‘technical’ question, I chose to work with Leicas because I wanted to travel light, without computer and the need for electricity, because I think old Oskar Barnack hit it right when he designed his cameras, they are SO convenient to use in a hot, dusty and generally unforgiving environment, you can really concentrate on taking the pictures, not worrying about anything else, you can carry 2 cameras around your neck for 10 hours under a blazing sun (45°c +) without the need for a chiropractor every night…and, last but not least, I will keep every single image I shot in a physical, not ‘virtual’ archive… :-)

by [former member] | 28 Mar 2006 08:03 | working like mad in Brussels, Belgium | | Report spam→
Bruno, when I saw that you were travelling in the area, I was really pleased, because I had a read a bit about the drought but there wasnt much info out there, so I knew that this story just had to be told and I knew you would do it justice.  Plus, it is good to hear an on the ground report — these are often equally or more informative than what you get from the "word people."  Thanks Bruno and Richard for telling us what is going on.

As for point two, well I knew you would give this answer, and I really just wanted people to read that and consider the advantages of working in this way.  I do the same for all the same reasons.  Plus, there is an added virtue in the fact that the color is just so rich it is tangible.  I hate to bring up mere "esthetic" considerations in the face of such grave themes, but the fact is, bland pix arent going to get the ideas across, so we are forced to make esthetic decisions, it’s all part of the deal.

While I hope and pray for April rains, I have no doubt more LS members will be travelling to the region soon.  Ojala que llueva.

by Jon Anderson | 28 Mar 2006 10:03 (ed. Mar 28 2006) | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Jon, pardon the pedantry—Ojala que llueva (triggers present subjunctive) ;>)

by [former member] | 28 Mar 2006 10:03 | | Report spam→
YOu’re right.  Typo! But I can change it.  The magic of the internet.  No word is written in stone.

by Jon Anderson | 28 Mar 2006 11:03 (ed. Mar 28 2006) | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Bruno, it’s nice to see the product of your trip – although I wish the DRR thumbnails were a little bigger! It’s funny, the colors up there, everything so orange and red no matter film or digital. The situation is certainly getting worse over here, as a resident of Nairobi I observe the rains few and far between, and the people more desperate for water and pasture.

For Jon, there has been quite a bit of coverage of the drought, at least from the end of meeting people coming in and out who are covering it. What gets published is another story. Global warming coupled with corruption over here makes for a cruel landscape, and one worth talking about just the same.

Esthetic decisions in a situation like this, is of course as a photographer, part of the game – but lest we forget who we are spending time with, see the people who are suffering through this 5-year drought-turned-way of life, as people and not just aesthetic decisions.

The most moving thing I have learned documenting NE Kenya and Somalia is the communities’ steadfast dedication to their livestock. their hope, sometimes sad, that two cattle will again turn into 6, turn into 36, turn into 112. Global warming is changing this earth, and what will these communities do if the rains simply don’t return?

More photos and text from the region are posted here:

Drought in NE Kenya

Food Insecurity in Somalia

“Kenya’s Drought Takes Tragic Toll” Aljazeera.net

by [former member] | 29 Mar 2006 13:03 (ed. Mar 30 2006) | Nairobi, Kenya | | Report spam→
Hey Jennifer, thanks for all that.  I neglected to mention the whole global warming aspect and how that might be affecting things.  I may be nuts, but I believe I am beginning to detect signs of its effects here on my little island. 

Myself, I am particularly interested in what is happening to rural populations around the world in response to globalization and development, which utterly changes their lives; however, natural disasters as a result of man-made climatic changes and so on are also a huge factor.  The loss of these societies is irredeemable.

Btw, Jennifer I liked the WIR collective site and the imagery there.  Excellent initiative.

by Jon Anderson | 29 Mar 2006 14:03 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
On top of the manmade climatic changes, which is much bigger than just the drought in East Africa, we have over here manmade famine. I suppose famine is always manmade to a degree, seeing that there is food in the grocery stores – it’s just a matter of getting it to the right people. And getting the monetary funds for aid to the right people is even tougher. Kibaki and his crew are stealing from Kenya, an already wounded country, as my friend Felix put it today. And speak of Somalia, still without leadership, how can aid efforts be entirely productive?

by [former member] | 29 Mar 2006 15:03 | Nairobi, Kenya | | Report spam→
Nice work Bruno in the aesthetic sense anyway.
Lets hope your images combined with the efforts of the aid agencies divert this potential disaster…but as in the past it will probably be too little too late. Good solid work as a potential life saver instead of multiple suffering. Lets hope as previously mentioned there is not mass media exposure of the worst kind to bring to us the inevitable consequences of drought.


by [former member] | 30 Mar 2006 12:03 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Bruno, who knows if you want my advice but I’ d say take the 5 best pictures, add 10 or 15 2nd best pictures and keep the rest in your archives. 70 pictures is way too much. So many redundancies. You are killing your story by showing so much… I know it is hard… Cheers.

PS: are we so sure about the perennity of color neg film???

by [former member] | 30 Mar 2006 20:03 | Phnom Penh, Cambodia | | Report spam→
Hi John!
Of course I care about you opinion…and your work on water has always been one of my favorite photoessays…you are right of course about the edit; I find extremely difficult to ‘choose’ just a few images when I come back from a trip…I need time, to ‘digest’ the images…I am not a very good editor of my work, it is a well advertised fact!! …Colour neg is not Tri-X indeed…but better than scsi drives…Are you passing by Brussels anytime soon?
Une kriek à l’Ultime quand tu veux! A bientôt j’espère.

by [former member] | 30 Mar 2006 22:03 (ed. Mar 30 2006) | working like mad in Brussels, Belgium | | Report spam→
I second John’s criticism… but aside from that it’s amazing work! I can barely figure how hard it is to edit it. So many good images! I remember that Howard Chapnick wrote something like “an experience non-pareil” about editing Nachtwey’s work. I think the same applies here.

It’s been a while since the last time a was so moved by a set of photos (both aesthetically and humanly).

by Daniel Etter | 30 Mar 2006 22:03 | Cologne, Germany | | Report spam→
A man after my own heart! I’m off to very rural Romania tomorrow (right along the Ukraine border) and will be carrying only Leicas and an x-pan. . . So simple! No sensor to get dust on! No battery issues to worry about! I still am having trouble envisioning the day when I will be forced to shoot digital when Kodak stops making film! Best, Davin.

by Davin Ellicson | 31 Mar 2006 08:03 | | Report spam→

I looked at the photos. Some devestatingly powerful pictures in there. I am very troubled seeing those poor animals. It makes me sad. One’s health must really be cherished. Life is not something to be played around with. . . I will stop obsessing and worrying about my trivial probems here in London. You are doing important work. Best, Davin.

by Davin Ellicson | 31 Mar 2006 08:03 | | Report spam→
Bruno, Je préfère les brunes et ce sera en juin. For those who don’t know the Water in Sahel: it’s on my website www.johnvink.com under Africa Water in Sahel. Also check my latest Cambodia The Quest for Land2 story. At least this one is not 20 years old…

by [former member] | 31 Mar 2006 09:03 | Phnom Penh, Cambodia | | Report spam→
Pas de problème pour les brunes, l’offre tient!
Daniel, thank you for your comments…but, having worked alongside Jim in several occasions, I can tell you I don’t deserve this comparison…you haven’t seen MY contact sheets (not the same kind of experience, I assure you!) ;-)
And John, very seriously, I would be interested to know what images in there YOU would choose…(une autre brune pour l’effort)…
Davin, you are right, “Life is not something to be played around with”, I wish the political geniuses who have power and money could understand that simple fact…and Jennifer and Mark, about media exposure, Stern will publish this story next week, it is a great start as they have very good exposure and other magazine publishers usually ‘copy’ their stories…I will keep you posted on details of this publication.

by [former member] | 31 Mar 2006 09:03 | working like mad in Brussels, Belgium | | Report spam→
As i told you, it’s a great work but… i’m agree with John, 70 is too much…;-)..I know it’s easy to say but not to do !! héhé ;-)

by [former member] | 31 Mar 2006 09:03 | | Report spam→
Beste Bruno,
Weeral adembenemend, … Zeer intense en sprekende beelden. Ik vroeg me af of de foto’s worden tentoongesteld, en zo ja waar de expositie gepland werd.
It’s this kind of concerned photography that confronts the viewer wih the actual problem, the images are so intens because poverty sickness and very sad situations are still shown in a beautifull way, its that contrast that is so confronting. …
all the best to you,

by Dries Anthoni | 31 Mar 2006 11:03 | Antwerp, Belgium | | Report spam→
Dries, bedankt. You can see a publication of this story today in Zeno (De Morgen, very nice lay-out as usual). No precise plans for an exhibition yet, but there maybe something cooking for next November in Paris, I will keep you posted.

by [former member] | 01 Apr 2006 08:04 | working like mad in Brussels, Belgium | | Report spam→

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Jon Anderson, Photographer & Writer Jon Anderson
Photographer & Writer
Ocala Florida , United States
Stephane Lehr, Photojournalist Stephane Lehr
Paris , France
Richard Wainwright, Photojournalist Richard Wainwright
Perth , Australia
Daniel Etter, Photographer / Writer Daniel Etter
Photographer / Writer
Istanbul , Turkey
Davin Ellicson, Photographer Davin Ellicson
New York , United States
Dries Anthoni, Photographer Dries Anthoni
Bangkok , Thailand


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