Category Archives: Documentary photography

Interactive storytelling: Journey inside the homes of women living in a Delhi resettlement slum

Bawana JJ Colony by Rajan Zaveri and Kamala Kelkar.

Bawana JJ Colony by Rajan Zaveri and Kamala Kelkar.

Bawana JJ Colony
A new immersive documentary on women’s issues in a resettlement slum in Delhi has been launched using interactive approaches to visual storytelling.

Producer Rajan Zaveri and journalist Kamala Kelkar invite the viewer to embark on an insightful multimedia journey through the area and to explore the homes of four women and their families living there. This documentary is a visceral and educational experience using first-person, fixed 3D perspective and navigation. Furthermore, the four mini documentary interviews give voice to these women’s lives, revealing aspects that are often hidden. The work’s beautiful visual presentation combines with the powerful interviews to give a genuine insight into the plight of the residents. I highly recommend this journey.

Click on this link to enter the interactive documentary: Bawana JJ Colony.

Bawana JJ Colony by Rajan Zaveri and Kamala Kelkar.

Still image from the interactive site Bawana JJ Colony by Rajan Zaveri and Kamala Kelkar.

From the website: “It’s been a decade since many of the families living in this relocation slum were forced out of what used to be Delhi’s biggest shantytown to make way for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

“Initially, living in a central community called Yamuna Pushta on the banks of the Yamuna River, their homes were demolished because they were said to be polluting the area. They, and many other slum dwellers in the past decade were forced to relocate here, a remote resettlement post located on the outskirts of Delhi, two hours from the city centre.”

Their stories can be seen and heard in greater detail, using the interactive features. Here, four women will show you the struggles they face every day, and how the isolation has changed their lives.

The work is also featured on PRI’s The World as part of its ‪#HerRights‬ series.



Empowering Yazidi women through photography UNICEF-supported workshop in Iraq

Bushra, 16, takes a photo of men playing cards in her camp. Photo: UNICEF/Iraq/2015/Mackenzie

Bushra, 16, takes a photo of men playing cards in her camp. Photo: UNICEF/Iraq/2015/Mackenzie

I’ve learned so much. I learned to communicate with people. I’ve built up much more confidence. Now I want to become a photojournalist. Bushra, aged 16.

Another quick post to point you to a UNICEF-supported photography project that aims to empower Yazidi women through photography. These young women are in a camp (near Dohuk in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq) for displaced Iraqis, who have fled the advance of ISIS. The women met every day for two months and were taught photography techniques by two Kurdish photographers.

I’ve just watched a news story about the participants and wanted to share it with you as soon as I could.

Follow this link for more information: Empowering Yazidi Women through photographyThe full article from which the quote is taken is by Lindsay Mackenzie, a consultant with UNICEF Iraq.

Direction donations can be made to UNICEF Iraq:

Follow this link to the article and related videos shown on CNN: Yazidi girls photography refugee camp. 


Photo Show: theprintspace Photovoice Awards London winner announced tomorrow

Grow Heathrow Jonathan Goldberg

Grow Heathrow © Jonathan Goldberg

As promised, a quick post to wish Jonathan Goldberg, a former Tri-Pod workshop participant, and Zoe Childerley the best of luck at theprintspace Photovoice Awards tomorrow.

Jonathan will be showing work at theprintspace Photovoice Awards exhibition of shortlisted photographers running from 21 August until 1 September at theprintspace gallery in London. The overall winner will be announced tomorrow (Thursday 20 August).

Of his series, Jonathan says: “There is a unique place close to Britain’s busiest airport called Grow Heathrow. What started as a site for activists protesting against runway expansion has evolved into a complex eco-village that is home to 20 or so people. They live off sustainable energy utilizing wind and solar power, and eat food that they have grown or skipped.”

Grow Heathrow

Grow Heathrow. © Jonathan Goldberg

“As I stepped through the gates at Grow Heathrow for the first time, I saw a utopian society in which money is of secondary importance, and the needs of the community are emphasized over individual requirements. Revisiting the site on many occasions since, however, I have become aware of the hardships of living in a place not blessed with central heating in winter, and lacking the comforts of a conventional modern lifestyle. Through my visits I have got to know some of the occupants and tried to document the lives of people that are determined to live in a way which challenges the norm.”

All print sales will raise funds for Photovoice.

Grow Heathrow

Grow Heathrow. © Jonathan Goldberg

Grow Heathrow

Grow Heathrow. © Jonathan Goldberg

Grow Heathrow

Grow Heathrow. © Jonathan Goldberg

Grow HeathrowGrow Heathrow

Grow Heathrow. © Jonathan Goldberg

Photo News – Magnum summer documentary photo course in London

POLAND. MILIK. December 2004.

Photo: Mark Power POLAND. MILIK. December 2004.

G.B. ENGLAND. Manchester. Moss Side Estate. 1986.

Photo: Stuart Franklin  G.B. ENGLAND. Manchester. Moss Side Estate. 1986.

Magnum Photos is running an intensive 21-day Documentary Photography Course in association with London College of Communication over the month of August. That’s great news but there is a catch—the cost of the course is £3,000, which is equivalent to a year’s tuition fees in some universities (not LCC), so it will be interesting to see what the take up for the course is like and who attends. However, I can’t find any information in the press release about the maximum group size.

The 21-day course will teach students how to successfully develop a documentary photo project from start to finish and will run from 7-27 August (Monday-Friday 10.00-17.00). Teaching will be led by award-winning Magnum photographers Mark Power, who joined the agency in 2002 and is currently Professor of Photography at the University of Brighton, and Stuart Franklin, who joined the agency in 1985, as well as the College’s staff, including Anne Williams and Max Houghton.

POLAND. POBIEROWO.  September 2008.

Photo: Mark Power POLAND. POBIEROWO. September 2008.

“During this three-week course, students will become absorbed in the practice and history of documentary photography and Magnum’s legacy and contemporary contribution to it. The course will consider all elements of successful project development; from research phases, to access and shooting, to the editing and creation of a final body of work for public display.

The course will consist of these main elements:
 Shooting on location – daily assignments and briefs in London
 Lectures – led by Magnum photographers and LCC staff
 Critique – individually and in groups, looking at technique, subject and personal voice
 Editing & production – learning how editing, sequencing and design can reveal narrative
 Magnum Print Room – you will spend a weekend learning the mechanics of the photography business,
networking and career development
 Graduation party –celebrate and display work digitally to a public and industry audience.

The learning outcomes connected to the course are:
 Create an industry standard and academically informed body of photographic work
 Have unique insight into the history of documentary photography
 Engage in critical debates on ethics, industry and technology in contemporary photographic practice
 Continue developing essential skills in writing, editing and making work for different audiences.

“For over sixty years, Magnum’s international photographers have chronicled the world; helping to shape documentary photography as a modern form of both artistic expression and a tool for change. As a modern agency, the current preoccupation is focused on the role of authorship in an image-saturated world.

“In conjunction with Magnum’s historic archive, a new means of culturally relevant production is being explored, leading to a greater dialogue with the wider market, expanded platforms and emerging geographies. With over six decades of experience and with access to world-leading photographers and professionals, Magnum Photos is committed in the transfer of its accumulated knowledge to a new generation of visual storytellers.” From the press release.

Photo News – Library of Birmingham Photography Archive threatened with closure and staff cuts

Tented hospital accommodation on the University campus: Patients in an open air ward watching a display in the grounds of the university.  c1916 MS 2724/2/B/4088

Tented hospital accommodation on the University campus: Patients in an open air ward watching a display in the grounds of the university. c1916 MS 2724/2/B/4088. From the extensive First World War archive housed at the library.

Professor in the Culture of Photography at the University of Brighton and Financial Times photography critic, Francis Hodgson wrote a post on his blog, Another One Bites the Dust (22 Dec 2014), alerting readers to the significant cuts being proposed at the Library of Birmingham (LoB), which were announced just before Christmas, and vitally to the proposal to close the Photography Archive and axe the entire staff, effective from May 2015.

Understandably, Hodgson was miffed. He refused to remain silent and carefully articulated the reasons why he believes that this proposal is wrong, as well as pointing out how:

“A host of funders, years before the new library opened, have raised money on the assumption (and, I suspect, on the contractual guarantee) that works purchased would be available to be seen by the public. How are they to react to the news that those pictures will now be locked into drawers, hidden, inaccessible, and neither circulating as they were intended to circulate nor preserved as they were intended to be preserved?

“It is one shameful thing to say a wealth of professional expertise is going to be thrown away. It is quite another to say that if the photography department of the Library of Birmingham is mothballed, then a number of fancy donors will in effect have been lied to. The donors should know that, and react to it.”

The LoB photography archive houses a collection of historical and contemporary photography of international importance and in the run-up to Christmas, it was a proposal that could easily have been lost in the holiday period, something that the council may well have anticipated in the hope that the proposals could be pushed through without a fight.

Hodgson noted that the closing date for representations is Monday 12 January 2015, and ended his post with a clear rallying call:

“You haven’t got time to do nothing. Take up the invitations below, where a number of contact addresses are given. React by whichever channel you choose, but react.”

Go to Another One Bites the Dust for ways to respond.

I circulated the petition link and tweeted news of the proposed cuts to my network of photo aficionados and photographers, as well as to some media personalities based in the Midlands who I have interviewed in the past. We can still keep up the pressure and, for those of you who are not UK-based, this is a matter of pressing concern for anyone interested in photography and its heritage. The proposed cuts and the rather underhand manner in which it is being carried out is shameful.

Director-General of  The Royal Photographic Society, Dr Michael Pritchard, also circulated an open letter to the press in support of UK photography and our photographic heritage, urging people to sign the letter, writing: “This matters to all of us as photographers, historians, institutions, organisations and companies working with photography.”

This is the RPS letter in its entirety:


5 January, 2015


As historians, scholars and photographers at the UK’s leading academic departments and photographic organisations we wish to express our profound concerned about the impact of the proposed cuts to the Library of Birmingham’s Photography Collections and axing of its entire staff.

The LoB’s photography holdings are one of the UK’s National Collections of Photography and designated of national and international importance. Built since the nineteenth century they contain major collections of historic photography from pioneers such as Francis Bedford and Francis Frith, to later photography from Sir Benjamin Stone, Birmingham Corporation, to the personal archives of important contemporary British photographers such a Paul Hill, John Blakemore and Daniel Meadows, and organisations such as Birmingham Photographic Society. They are collections which document the history of both professional and amateur photography in the UK.

In recent decades the Photography Collections Team has successfully attracted over £1 million in external sponsorship to support their work mounting major exhibitions, acquiring collections of international importance and undertaking the vital cataloguing and conservation work required to make them publically accessible. It has also had a national profile for its work commissioning contemporary photography from students and established artists. The archive has also formed the basis of numerous outreach projects with culturally diverse communities in and beyond the city. It has also presented exhibitions internationally in countries as diverse as Brazil, China and South Africa. The Photography Department has attracted huge audiences over the past 25 years through a combination of its gallery-based exhibitions and outdoor gallery which has brought the collections into the reach of everyone in the city. The Library is now widely recognised as a major photography hub for new and established photographers in the West Midlands and as a model for the intelligent, integrated presentation of both historical and contemporary photography.

At a time when government is actively encouraging precisely the kinds of partnerships between public and private funding which have proved so successful at LoB and emphasising the need to reach out to new audiences we believe that the photography collections, in particular, at the LoB should be protected and harnessed for the social, economic, cultural and educational benefit of the city and UK. Whatever the outcome of the city’s funding cuts consultation, the fait accompli abandonment the Photography Collection is wholly unwarranted and will have a disproportionate impact on the region, the UK and internationally. If Birmingham City Council feels unable to properly fund its internationally important photography collections then government via DCMS needs to step in.

Signed by:

Professor Elizabeth Edwards, Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University

Dr Michael Pritchard, The Royal Photographic Society