The stories of exiled Congolese entrepreneurs Patrick, Alex, Mimy and Chantale finally made it into Vice, also appearing in the UK print edition of the magazine (with my trip supported by One World Media’s production fund). It’s perhaps an unusual destination for an article about refugee lives in Africa; sitting next to headlines like ‘People’s stories on the last time they faked an orgasm’ and ‘We went on a tour of London’s worst-rated nightclubs’. But the Canadian-American outlet, which is squarely aimed at younger audiences and embraces the provocative and politically incorrect, isn’t only about sex, crime and entertainment. News is now their fastest growing division, according to Creative Review, in which Vice’s CEO was quoted earlier this year saying they tapped into a “big white space…. there was a perception that Gen Y didn’t really care about news which is obviously not true, so that will continue to grow.” Here’s hoping.
It’s not quite world-changing stuff, but you have to start somewhere, I guess.
I started with pugs. And learned a lot of unexpected, and probably not very useful, stuff along the way, like the fact that the crease on a pug’s forehead is supposed to be the Chinese character for “prince”, and that the pet cemetery at Hyde Park has three monkeys buried in it.
The LCC summer course in documentary photography, led by the endlessly energetic Anders Birger, gets you out shooting and putting together a photo story within two weeks. Sounds like plenty of time, but the hours just seem to evaporate. Before you know it you’re cramming in bits of text and agonising over which last image will make the cut. In a way, that’s the crucial bit. Which photos – and they might not be the most beautiful or the most technically perfect – tell the story you want to tell? And is it a story people can relate to? Will they care? Still mulling those things over – in the meantime, here’s my pug-inspired picture parade. Continue reading “And now, something a little different…”
Obama, Putin & co. came to my homeland, County Fermanagh, this week. It turned out to be one of the most peaceful G8 meetings ever, despite (or because of?) the anxieties of hosting such a high-security event in a region with such a, well, troublesome history of keeping the peace.
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I just watched McCullin, the new documentary about the photojournalist and (though he hated the title) war reporter, Don McCullin. He talks about the absurdity of photographing people’s most tragic and terrible moments; about the struggle to reconcile a desire to follow the action – to the point of becoming a “war junkie” – with a deep humanitarian compassion; about the huge doubts as to whether all of it was worth it – did his pictures ever actually change anything?
McCullin also worked in Northern Ireland – and what struck me there was his comment on how absurd it was that he could fly to Belfast, drive up to Derry and check in to a hotel, and know that at a certain hour of the afternoon, things would kick off. It was like a “football match”, he says; or like a theatre where “you knew the plot”. Easy work for a photojournalist. What’s sad – among much sadness in this film – is that strands of this predictable violence have carried on till now, among some of NI’s youngest people.