The Rees-Jones Foundation supports certain international organizations and programs, and as such, many of its staff have had the privilege of traveling overseas for site visits to meet with the community and see the issues they face first hand. Through this, the Foundation’s Director of Research & Evaluations, Adrian Cook, has been able to exercise his interest in amateur photography and capture authentic moments in time that evoke wide-ranging feelings of awe, empathy, grief, celebration, and more. Below, Adrian writes of his experience following recent visits to Uganda, Zambia, and Kenya:
“On this trip, I have been reminded of the sacred responsibility a photographer has to respect his subjects and relay their story with authenticity and honesty. There is a special relationship between the person behind and in front of the camera lens, and as with any other relationship, the best results come from communication and honoring the role of the other. On World Photo Day, I wanted to share four images that capture the essence of my trip:
Photo 1: A Ugandan couple celebrating the benefits of clean water and hygiene in their community. They are an elderly couple, but there is an irrepressible joy in seeing the celebration around them. They agreed to pose for this photo, and their demeanor captures the spirit of the day.
Photo 2: A child on the sidelines watching a borehole well drilled in the community. A well close by will spare her from carrying water long distances. At her age, she may not realize the full implications of this, but she does know that there is a lot of activity going on at the moment. Even as she looks into the lens for a photo, she cannot hide the wonder and bravery of her youth.
Photo 3: A common site in Africa is seeing women carry heavy loads on their heads. This woman was photographed from a vehicle without her knowing she was a subject. Her journey down the road with her load is an important, but delicate story to tell. The everyday activities of life are always the most compelling, but in their authentic moments they are also the most brimming with emotion, pride, and defensiveness.
Photo 4: Objects of nature have a story to tell too. This is a photo of Victoria Falls. Even at the time of year with low water levels in the Zambezi River, the falls are incredibly majestic. They speak to an ever-changing landscape that will never be the same from one moment to the next. There is an undeniable power in change, and pictures capture a moment that will never repeated again.”