Behind the scenes

Here is a collection of photographs that show a bit more than just what I captured with my camera. One of the hardest things about documenting a foreign place is making sure you’re not causing discomfort to local people. This is why I always made an effort to talk with the people I was photographing before taking their picture, and asked permission before photographing their home, community, belongings, or whatever it may be. Language barriers can also be difficult, as sometimes I was unsure if people were comfortable. I found that usually when photographing people, you can tell pretty quickly after taking a few shots whether or not they are comfortable, and then adjust accordingly.

I also found that people really enjoy seeing the pictures once I’ve taken them, especially children, and is a nice way to start conversations. Normally after showing people the images on the back screen, they will either ask me to delete them, or want to take more. Those that were enthusiastic would often show me other locations in the area they were proud of, try out different poses, or ask to try out the camera themselves.

The Film Crew — Kirill, Nico, Michaela, Mike, & Peter

It was certainly a very different experience traveling alongside a film crew, as almost every place we visited needed to be beautiful captured— flawlessly timed, composed, and recorded. Because of this, we had many incredible opportunities to speak with people from all walks of life, who wanted to share their story. It also enabled us to speak with government officials, who were excited to be interview by a “real documentary crew.” (We looked legit). It was also a challenge traveling with thousands of dollars of camera and sound equipment. Boat rides were especially stressful as one can imagine… We had our fair share of disasters: one of the drones crashing, a missing screw from the main film camera, tripod malfunctions, sand and dust damage, etc.

A boy and his dog in Kent, holding his head still for the photo

Designer Madam Wokie (above) in her studio, post-interview, wearing her own handmade dress.

Aram, Jane, Bala, me : walking between interviews

“You cannot go through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make” – Jane Goodall

Mom, before meeting the President
Talking with Amie, and her daughter Emily on Banana Island