23 September 2010

India part4 processing

A young girl rescued from trafficking holds back a shy smile behind the protection of her teddy bear.

When working on projects such as these the amount of information and emotion you are exposed to is huge. Yet when working and shooting stills you don't seem to feel it, as your focus is so directed to getting the shots. As soon as you are finished however, then slowly all the feelings start to creep in as you process the experience. When I was in Cambodia it happened when I was browsing photo's on my last day at the hotel, today its happened while looking back at shots in my lounge. Behind the shots are stories of rape, forced sex slavery, abuse, torture and HIV. It fills me with a hopeless sadness and despair in what we humans have created of our world. Yet as Sunita Krishnan of Prajwala says ... If a girl who has faced hundreds of rapes and multiple abuses can learn to smile again, then there is hope.

I wish i could do more, i want to do more, i will do more. Everyone in the world needs to become aware, become conscious and learn to care. We should all be trying to make a difference in the world, what else could you be wasting your time on?

20 September 2010

India part3 a Gift

A young girl at one of the Prajwala schools who chose me as her brother by giving me a hand made bracelet :) Something simple yet possibly one of my most moving experiences

Another young girl at the Prajwala school who asked us to sign her work book

Today something touching and moving happened to me which made me happy and sad at the same time. As part of our current project with Vital Voices we visited two of the Prajwala schools aimed at breaking the cycle of prostitution, by providing good schools and a way out for children of sex workers. The kids were amazing, so enthusiastic, warm and welcoming, and their smiles beamed with hope.

Whilst running around trying to grab a few shots in the short amount of time we were there, one of the girls came up to me and tied a bracelet she had made with paper, ribbon glue to my arm. I was later told that at this time of year, girls in India make these bracelets in order to celebrate brotherhood, and give them to their brothers. It was something so simple, yet to me I felt totally speechless that she would choose me for such a gift. It also made me feel the need to do more, how can there be so much injustice that happens to kids like these who have so much innocence a potential? 

19 September 2010

India part2

Sunita, owner of Prajwala, an NGO which rescues young girls from sex trafficking discusses plans at the constructions site of the new rescue center in Hyderabad.

A brothel owner and a client in one of the many brothels in Delhi.

Its great to get out of the conference and back out to where people's stories happen reality. I have been meeting more inspiring people making a real difference on some of the most disturbing issues in the world today. It makes me wonder, how can there be so much time and money spent on media especially the news on things that don't really matter. Every day thousands of young girls are sold as slaves in the sex industry! Why is this not on the news and topic of discussion every single day? Why is this not something which everyone is aware of, and why is not enough being done?

I feel like I could write a lot but I also feel like right now I don't know what to say.

14 September 2010

India part1

Anita (center) the nurse at the Shakti Vahini center in India assists Dr Gita (left) as she performs a medical examination on one of the local sex workers

I'm India working for the Vital Voices Global Partnership as they host an Asian womens summit in Delhi, India, to work on solutions for issues facing women in the region. Today I was fortunate to spend a few hours visiting one of the Vital Voices partners, the Shakti Vahini center, which works on tackling many of the issues surrounding the sex trade in India. We are trying to organize a visit to one of the brothels on Saturday and hopefully I will be able to shoot there, I think it would be vital in helping to create a better picture of the environment these women are faced with every day.

Its been while since working on a shoot such as this, and its always a humbling reminder of how many real problems in the world there are, and how there no where near enough brave and thoughtful people trying to make a difference. I hope that someday I will be able to be a part of making a change for the better.

11 September 2010

Flashback - one for the road

Nadine Methner sending 'Cool Like That' 29 at the Scoop, Montagu

Probably my last post for the next two weeks as I'm off to India for a shoot! Its been a crazy week trying to organize things whilst at the same time trying to finish the video of our trip to Spain which is now known as 'Viva la Vida' or 'Live the Life'. As with all projects like this, it never quite feels complete and the fact that I had to rush finishing it off doesn't help that feeling. Its done though, and will be showing at City Rock on Wednesday and then at the Waterval Boven Rock Rally later this month. After that I'll post it online for everyone to see or download :)

The shot of Nadine I took a while back, its been used in the upcoming Western Cape Rock and Road poster although I think they did some strange editing to it. Hmm I think I might need to return to Montagu soon to start finishing up some projects and working on some new ones ... like 'Cool Like That'

10 September 2010

Another 1x Shot

Andreah Hah sending 'Les Chacals' 8b in Rodellar, Spain

Sweet! Another climbing shot accepted on 1x.com. 1x is an online photo gallery and community for some of the best photos on the web. The acceptance criteria is really tough, which makes it a great way to guage how your photography is doing. They also have a very active community whereby you can get some useful critique on images you have submitted.

You can check out some of my other shots on 1x here: http://1x.com/v2/#?action=myprofile&u=23997
Also have a browse through all the other photo's, its a great source of inspiration!

09 September 2010

Flashback 1

Daniel Jung on the crux of his new route opened this year 'Jungle Speed' 9a in Siurana, Spain

I have quite a few shots in my image library which have never really been published anywhere. Occasionally when I haven't been shooting for a while I browse through my library and find all these cool shots I had shot a while back but never used. So to give these shots a little airtime i'm going to post them in this blog in the gaps when I dont have new material to upload. This shot of Daniel I grabbed quickly while we were setting up to film his ascent of the climb, which is can be seen in our Spain holiday vid which is coming out soon! What made shooting this route tricky was that the crux was pretty much at the 2nd bolt so most of the action was happening near to the ground. I do like the greenery on the left of the shot which kind of works with the name of the route.

06 September 2010


Julia Chen on 'Registered Rhymnecologist' 7A

An afternoon power cut gave me the extra motivation to leave the office and join Marijus and Julia for bouldering session on the slopes of Table Mountain. Marijus was scoping what looks to be a spectacular problem, its going to be a classic when it gets sent. Julia and I climbed a cool 7A called 'Registered Rhymnecologist' which i'm pretty happy to have sent. The shot is of Julia on Rhymnecologist. If anyone notices this post being posted twice, its because i'm now using Picasa to upload shots in attempt to retain image sharpness. This was the post I tested things out on.

05 September 2010

Captain Graffiti

Arjan is crushing at the moment, its awesome to see! Today while we were bouldering around Echo Valley I was lucky enough to have my camera and flash set up before Arjan on sighted Captain Graffiti 8A with what seemed like almost no effort at all. It was an inspirational send and i'm stoked to have caprtured the piece of the action without having to get any shots after the send :)

04 September 2010

Aerial Boulders Project

A few years back I went with Justin Hawkins to see a new and exciting boulder project in topside in an area known as the Aerial Boulders. I dont think its seen much traffic since then, but recently with Paul Robinson visiting Cape Town it has received some attention again. A beautiful line but tricky to shoot as essentially its in a lightless cave. This shot is of Woody working some of the moves on the line, i liked this angle as you get an idea of the steepness of the problem. Hopefully soon, Arjan de Kock will get a chance to to check this one out, as its just sitting there waiting for a first ascent...

(return to my blog)

03 September 2010

7D files accepted

Whilst in Spain a few months ago I was super excited about trying out the new Canon 7D for both video and stills. The video is loads of fun and i'm almost finished editing out movie of the trip. Irritatingly though, when i got home i soon discovered that the RAW files created by the 7d were not supported by my version of Lightroom which meant i had to get a new version of the program just to view my shots! I know have Lightroom 3 which i'm enjoying and have had a chance to look back at some of those shots taken a few months ago. This on is of Arjan de Kock looking very relaxed onsighting a long steep 8a in Margalef, Spain.

Black Hawk Down

In a possible article on bouldering in and around Cape Town I joined some local climbers as they were showing visiting 5.10 and Prana climber, Paul Robinson, some of the hard lines and unopened projects around the city. In the short amount of time I was there, I managed to get one really cool shot of Paul on a problem known as Black Hawk Down 8a+. A special thanks to Georgia Court for her crafty maneuvering of the flash as I forgot my stand :)