Basil on Charity

That bread which you keep belongs to the hungry; that coat which you preserve in your wardrobe, to the naked; those shoes which are rotting in your possession, to the shoeless; that gold which you have hidden in the ground, to the needy. Wherefore, as often as you were able to help others, and refused, so often did you do them wrong.

— Basil of Caesarea (329 – 379)

“All Talk and No Action on Darfur” – BBC

Five years on the Darfur conflict continues to languish. Why, interests me. One thought is the conflict lacks a compelling contrast and antagonist to draw attention to the story. With words like “genocide” it sticks in the back of the brain, but against other conflicts it seems not to arouse the emotions of injustice as readily… and so it languishes in the minds eye.

The BBC reports on why the West has been loathe to intervene in Darfur…

RED Rwanda – cloud timelapse

While I’m getting my edit suite set up, and data moved around & backed up ready for a six-week edit session, Jesse‘s been playing a bit with some of the footage from Rwanda. This one’s just too cool not to post. Click the image to see a 1K cloud timelapse (down-res’ed from 2K, processed in RedCine and After Effects).

There’s also a few RED frame grabs from our shoot in Rwanda posted here if you’re interested.

Photo Essay – The Bulembu Story

Bulembu Cableway

Bulembu went from a sleepy hollow of Swazi homesteads to a major mining operation – producing one-third of Swaziland’s GDP – to a near-ghost town in the space of several decades. Now it’s in the midst of another transformation. To tell the story, I’ve put together a photo essay from my recent assignment: “The Bulembu Story” (There are a few dozen photos, so it may take a minute or two to load).

Gallery – Portraits of Bulembu

Maria Portrait

My recent assignment in Swaziland was a 2009 calendar on Bulembu. The concept was to photograph people involved in transformation, telling their story in a single frame. I approached this primarily through wide-angle portraits of the characters in context, attempting to include hints of past, present, and future as much as possible. I made extensive use of my new lighting rig to control tone and contrast.

Click the image to view a few selects from my portraits in Bulembu.

N.B. I’ll be posting a photo essay about the town after I get back from some R&R on the mountain this weekend.

Wallpaper – Bulembu Moonrise

I took this photo a few nights ago, waiting for dinner out on the lodge porch. The clouds were billowing over a nearby hillside. When the crescent moon began to peek over the horizon, I grabbed my camera, tripod and telephoto and snapped this long exposure. I’ve created it as a wallpaper for you to enjoy (right-click to save): Bulembu Moonrise Wallpaper

Heading Back from Bulembu

7 days, 4000 photos, 8 more flights and many interesting stories later, I’m headed back to Vancouver. I think I’d call the trip to Bulembu, Swaziland a photographic success. I feel like I was able to get to know the story and the people, and capture them well.

The photographs are destined primarily for a calendar, which is a unique challenge. I was trying to capture multiple layers in each shot: the images need to be beautiful and truthful, and they need to be something people will hang on their wall. Bulembu is a broken community in the midst of redefining itself. There is extensive history as well as big ambitions for the future, with a lot of problems to overcome. The challenge is for each image to tell all that while being something you can look at for a month.

I’ve posted a wallpaper of one shot that I like. I’ve also got two galleries ready to go… at the moment I’m in Nairobi, where the bandwidth is minimal. I’ll upload them when I’m back in Vancouver.

Just two more long flights, and then a little R&R before diving into the todos that have been piling up for six weeks…

In Bulembu

Just a few minutes to make a quick post… Kelly and I have arrived safely into Bulembu. I’ve been busy shooting since then… we’re now about to begin photography day 3. This place presents some unique photographic challenges – the usual transport and scheduling issues, the spread out nature of the town, and the high grade of image required for a calendar.

I’ll post more as I can, and perhaps a gallery of images shot so far. (Internet is faster here, but only available during the day when I’m working.) For now here’s a photo from the night we arrived.