Off to a slow crawl

I’m behind on my blogging. I know. I have an excuse; I’ve just arrived in Tanzania, where I’ll be for the next few months. The internet is so slow here it takes me all day to do what I could do back in the States in an hour. I’ve spent the last several hours trying to upload these photographs, something I think I’ll only be able to do monthly from now on. I’ve been on the internet since 9 this morning attempting to pay bills and answer emails. My online banking took about 20 minutes just to sign in while the guys next to me in the internet cafe took up all my bandwidth laughing hysterically over old episodes of Tom & Jerry. The very second the page finally loaded, the power went out. Things take longer in Africa, where urgency is seldom found either in an internet connection or[…]

Read More

Motor City, West Africa

On Monday I had a few hours of time on my own to explore the city of Bamenda, in the North West Highlands of Cameroon. Away from the steamy jungles of the South and Center, the North West has a cooler climate than the rest of the country, which contributed to my desire to get out of my hotel room and explore the city. I came to Cameroon expecting to practice my French each place I went, but found that Pigeon English was more widely spoken in this region than any other language. I never really got a grasp on it. In the North West, the motor bike is king- the quickest and cheapest form of transportation around the city and a must-have for any young bachelor looking to find a date for the evening. I found a driver with whom I could communicate and we agreed upon a price[…]

Read More

Touchdown Cameroon

After 32 hours of travel since leaving Richmond, I’ve arrived in Cameroon. It’s my first foray into West Africa and my first time back on the Continent since April. The landscape and flora are similar, but I was hit with a wall of hot, thick, damp air upon disembarking from the plane. Humidity of this magnitude is something I’ve never experienced in Africa before. The East, the South, the center are all blessed with mostly agreeable climates. The latest U2 album (to be released next week) has made for an unbelievable soundtrack through the clouds, above the Sahara, and over the green hills of Cameroon. Sorry Bono, I got a pirated advance copy.

Read More

at home in RVA

It may appear that the only time I take my camera out when I’m in Richmond is when I’m at a party. This isn’t exactly true, but my friends have been the extent of my documentary endeavors since Christmas. Over the last few weeks I’ve been sharpening my eye and testing out new equipment at the expense of those closest to me (along with their pets) in preparation for an upcoming assignment in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to testing out my new Canon 5D Mark II SLR camera, I’ve been refining my use of flash with ambient light, especially outdoors (see the last pics of my friend Justin in the Manchester district’s train yards). I’ve also been trying out my new camera’s ability to shoot HD video. In the past, some clients have asked if I offer video as part of my services; I hope I’ll soon be comfortable answering[…]

Read More

And the nominees are…

Last year’s post about my all too close encounter with a machete in Kisumu, Kenya (and the photos to prove it) has been nominated for an RVA News blog award today. RVA News is my hometown’s source of news, entertainment, sports and community events. Click on the logo to vote. Move over Mamma Mia!. Winning this award would be just one step towards my dream of turning this harrowing story into a Broadway musical.

Read More

(almost) left behind

This week I started cleaning out hard drives of the some of the superfluous images from last year’s assignments. I deleted quite a bit, but I also found some photographs that I previously thought either didn’t pass muster or that didn’t fit into a thematic essay. Some turned out to be real gems and a few will likely end up in my portfolio. I was blessed to be able to travel a great deal in 2008. These images come from Ecuador, Peru, Zambia, Tanzania, Armenia and Georgia.

Read More

Pigroast 2K9

It’s become an annual tradition in my circle of friends. Although one year we deviated and fried a turkey instead, New Year’s day 2009 saw the third annual Pigroast in James & Jennifer’s back yard in Church Hill, the oldest part of Richmond. Warning: some faint-hearted vegetarians may wish to avert their eyes. James & Jennifer are currently missionaries in Scotland, but are renting out their house to Leah & Jeremiah, James’ sister and brother-in-law. Thus, the tradition was able to continue without interruption. Most of the day was spent hanging out in the back yard around the pig pit in eager anticipation of the advent of the barbecue later that evening. Jeremiah put the pig on the fire around 6am New Year’s morning. During the 13 hog-roasting hours that ensued, plenty of tortilla chips with homemade salsa, as well as several rounds of keg-drawn Yuengling, were had by all.[…]

Read More

Armenia, Stuck in the Middle.

A small nation with a big heart, Armenia has nearly been whittled away by its neighbors over the centuries. Today, most Armenians live outside the country’s borders in diaspora communities throughout the world. Its ancient traditions remain strong and intact, however, despite years of invasion, persecution, occupation and displacement. Even though conflict continues to this day, Armenia’s hospitable and vibrant people have not lost their disposition to live life to the fullest, seemingly oblivious to current and past upheaval. Armenia has been called a master of geopolitics. Straddling Eastern Europe and Western Asia, and in the peripheral vision of both Tehran and Moscow, it maintains excellent relations with the two while looking more toward the West for its model of government. Above, Leyli learns to walk in Gusangagyugh Village, Shirak Region. The Caucasus region is no stranger to turmoil. Nearby Georgia experienced the most recent eruption of conflict in the[…]

Read More

Georgia: the Cost of Conflict

It’s my job to shove my camera in people’s faces. Though I’m usually more tactful and delicate than that, it sometimes feels like I’m intruding beyond my bounds – at times being insensitive. Today was one of those days. I’m in Georgia (the Republic) and I’ve spent the day photographing some of those displaced by the recent war between Georgia and Russia. It can be distressing to be in the same room with the victims, hearing their stories of how their homes were destroyed, fields burnt, loved ones killed, while I am forced to walk a thin line between having a sympathetic ear and getting the job done. These people have lost virtually (or almost) everything except their lives. Even if they had homes to which they could return, the political situation in South Ossetia, where most refugees shown here are from, is not welcome to ethnic Georgians and is[…]

Read More

Remembering Gonaives

Parts of Haiti are under 16 feet of water this week. Over the past month the country has been inundated with heavy rains brought by four storms: Fay, Gustave, Hanna and Ike. Caribbean nations are often the first to bear the brunt of these powerful storms that form in the Atlantic. Last December I photographed for ten days in Haiti. Most of the time was spent in the Northern port city of Gonaives, where these photos were taken. Today Gonaives is the scene of some of the most widespread devastation wrought by recent storms in this developing nation that sits just a stone’s throw away from the Florida coast. Gonaives occupies a low plain between the bay to the west and the mountains to the north and east. Haiti is known for its extensive deforestation, and the mountains around this city are representatives of this trend. When rains come, the[…]

Read More