Finalist in Travel Media Awards 2015!

I’m really pleased announce that my photograph below – of the children of Eden school has been chosen as one of the five finalists for the 2015 Travel Media Awards.

November will see me at the awards ceremony in London to stand alongside four other amazing travel photographers.

Thanks to all of you who have supported my travel work, been to my exhibitions and helped with the project ‘Give a child a camera’

More information on the awards is available ahttp://travelmediaawards.com/finalists/

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Exams in Uganda

As I crouched on the dusty floor, the composition fell into place. The wonderful contrasting colours of the school uniform against the lovely lit brick has helped create one of my favorite photographs from my trip this year.

The pupils at Eden school in Southwest Uganda are siting their social studies exams in the old school building.

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A photographic book to accompany my time spent in rural Uganda is available to buy online http://www.lulu.com/shop/julian-claxton/life-through-a-lens-rural-uganda/paperback/product-22301890.html     Copies are still available direct from me and are priced at £25 incl free postage. Contact me for further details

 

 

Ugandan children & their cameras…. great work!

The mixture of teaching, practical work (sorting various elements for the school), dealing with African suppliers and meeting so many local people has left me absolutely exhausted.

My head hitting the pillow at around 10:30pm, I stare out towards the Democratic Republic of Congo, the sky bright with stars and more often than not illuminated with distant storms. The lack of light pollution is a joy to behold, while the sound of music beats and occasionally drums ring around the mountains in the distant. Closer to home the air is filled with occasional sounds from cattle and calling of crickets.

It’s a lovely way to drift off to sleep.

Back to the school and the photography in particular, well, to be honest the 24 children who have had cameras have completely exceeded my expectations with the quality (in both technical and compositional terms) and variety of photographs they have taken. Two children in particular have produced work which is completely encapsulating. I was so nervous taking the 26+ rolls of film (I had to give a couple of extra rolls out due to ‘accidents’) to the processing lab in the nearest town.

The staff in the lab and the other photographers waiting for their prints (there are quite a few film photographers in town (not in the villages), making a living taking portrait of shots of people at their home) were rather transfixed by my project and the idea of giving children cameras to take pics of their life. “But why, they will just destroy the camera” said one middle aged man (how wrong he is!)

I returned in anticipation to see what had become of my teaching and in particular if anything had come out…. Every single child had managed to meet some form of the objectives I set, some taking great pains to really demonstrate a side of their rural life which a traveller would not normally glimpse.

Upon returning to the village, I set about organising the images and deciding on which ones I would display – due to limited space, it was agreed that a collection of the five best images from each child would be displayed in the school.
Come Monday morning, the children were in a state of excitement and amazement, pointing, laughing, showing and talking about their images.

This is what I wanted to achieve and I’m so pleased the children feel they have something from the experience.

Photography teaching has been added to the monthly timetable, I have finished some lesson plans and hope to get them printed in town later this week…The children and their families get to keep the cameras along with several rolls of film (thankfully I’ve just managed to buy some more in town) and of course an album with all their images.

They know their pictures will feature in an exhibition in the UK this summer and are excited to say the least.

Of course, there has been lots of other work going on while I’ve been here, including tons of new educational books, materials (such a benches/boards etc) water supply to the school, medical & new uniforms for those without (plus much more!)

With my time approaching the end, I’m meeting the final few parents and interested people this week, before I make the journey back to Rwanda.

Life in rural Uganda has been wonderful and I genuinely feel privileged to have spent all this time living with a Ugandan family, watching, learning and taking part in their life. I know I’ll miss them all dearly.

Rural Uganda & give a child a camera project

Loosing track of days (it’s lovely not having internet on a regular basis) I realise already a week has flown by for my time at Eden School in Uganda.

I’m sat in a tourist hotel using their intermittent wifi , having a break this afternoon from the hard work at the school and the pretty constant walking.

I consider myself fairly fit, but let me tell you, these hills combined with the stifling heat really take it out of one! The last few days I’ve been visiting the twenty three children who had the cameras, checking on their progress, meeting family and generally having a wonderful time.

For all of the families I was the first Muzungu to have visited them and it was a real treat, enabling me to glimpse life in rural Uganda and capture some pretty special images. I was showered with gifts, ranging from gorgeous fruit to lovely hand woven pots. While they didn’t have electricity and often lived in pretty tough surroundings, the one thing that was evident throughout was that all of the people were hardworking, extremely hospitable and as you would expect rather charming people.

The children I’ve been teaching photography too really seemed to have taken to the idea of photography. They listened intently to my teaching, appearing to grasp the principle of film, flash and subject matters. I now have 23 films to develop, which will see me going into town tomorrow on a Boda Boda (motorbike taxi) to get the film processed….

I’m rather impressed that out of the 23 cameras given out only one was not present when I visited, however this morning all the children turned up with them – I’m so pleased. The kids have taken great care of them and really cherished this opportunity.

It’s a bit of a rush! On the river with Waveney Rush Cutters

Working with Waveney Rush Cutters!
A few weeks back I was working on an illustrated feature for a regional magazine, working with one of the few remaining rush cutting and weaving companies left in the UK.

I joined them on the river Waveney, watching them cut the bull rush, before heading back to their workshop to learn how they create simply stunning natural products!

The feature will be published in October – Watch this space!