Archive for May, 2010

Cambodian women removing landmines

I was encouraged to receive this post today from Vodpod about women clearing landmines in Cambodia. The reporter in the video says it’s suprising so many women volunteer to clear the mines. In Kamreang district near Battambang where there are many landmines, 54 of the 91 mine clearers are women, the highest proportion in the region.

On the video women comment:
My community should be free of mines. Clear them all. Then people will be able to use their land productively.
And another:
I won’t stop working until all the landmines are gone.

It’s a dangerous job but the Cambodian Mine Action Centre says women are more careful than men and follow the rules.

I personally don’t find this information startling. Women would no doubt be concerned for the future of their children with a high community consciousness. According to the blurb below the video:
Women were among the first to remove landmines in the 1980s. In Cambodia today, women deminers are vital in the removal process. Removal of landmines insures greater safety for many children in many rural areas surrounding Laos.

Here’s a few statistics from UNICEF on landmines in Cambodia:
* In Cambodia, an average of 20 per cent of children injured by mines and unexploded ordnance die from their injuries.
Afghanistan, Angola and Cambodia have suffered 85 per cent of the world’s land-mine casualties.
* In northern Iraq, Kurdish children have used round mines as wheels for toy trucks, while in Cambodia, children use B40 anti-personnel mines to play ‘boules’, notes the report.
* Cambodian farmland has been so severely contaminated by mines, for example, that only 2,435 families were able to take up allocations of land out of the 85,000 originally scheduled.

I remember my own visit to Battambang, Cambodia and seeing the mine danger signs and tales of children who had stepped on them while playing in a field. There’s fabulous work being done by many organizations to help clear mines. Here’s a few:

# Cambodian Self Help Demining
# Landmine Relief Fund
# Cambodia Landmine Museum Relief Fund
# Cambodian Mine Action Center
# Aki Ra, Landmines and News from the Jungle Blog
# Project Enlighten

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Feel free to email Jo at admin@visitedplanet.com with your comments/thoughts/photo aspirations.  See and learn more at www.visitedplanet.com

Degree South exhibition and the future of photojournalism

I attended, in part at least, the launch of the Degree South: War exhibition in Brisbane, Wednesday May 19, at which there were some interesting comments made about the future of photojournalism.

On the panel presenting their work were photojournalists Tim Page, Stephen Dupont and Ben Bohane. Other members of the group (Jack Piccone, David Dare Parker, Michael Coyne and Ashley Gilbertson) were absent due to work commitments. And Sean Flynn was killed during the Vietnam War.

I blogged about Tim Page recently and his comments on war photography so it was interesting to hear what else he had to say about the future of photojournalism which he claimed was “not dead”.

He described the advent of citizen journalism in places like Iran and Bangkok, where anyone with a camera can record what is going on and how the same images are bandied around the world in seconds and used over and over again. But he said there was still a niche there for the true photojournalist to take really important photographs and how more than ever, a single frame has such impact in a world over saturated with images and information that are often so fleeting.

You can read more about Degree South at their website. This is an excerpt:
°SOUTH is a new collective of Australian photographers based throughout the Asia Pacific region…
The decision to form °SOUTH came from an ‘ideal’, that as photographers who have spent their working careers recording what they see in a fair, truthful and informative way – their stories of struggle, hope, aspirations and traditions are about ‘gathering evidence’ and hopefully ‘making a difference’. Creating images that will influence public opinion and go on to have historical significance.

Images in the current exhibition are focused on the effect war has on its victims, both military and civilian. With images from major conflicts around the world such as Vietnam, East Timor, Papua, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq, these may change your view on the nature of war.

Go before it’s too late – it closes this Sunday, May 30 in Brisbane at the Powerhouse, New Farm. There are two images from the exhibition below.

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Feel free to email Jo at admin@visitedplanet.com with your comments/thoughts/photo aspirations.  See and learn more at www.visitedplanet.com

Inspiring photographic blog posts

Here’s a few blogs posts I received this week that have inspired me. I’ve included one image from each blog, click on the link for the rest:

30 colourful examples of photos in rainbow colours

Pictures in the news (LA Times)


Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull – May 1st and 2nd, 2010
(Sean Stiegemeier)
A fabulous video with time lapse photography of the volcano.

The Gulf spill from above (The Times)
Don’t worry pictures are much better in high resolution.

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Feel free to email Jo at admin@visitedplanet.com with your comments/thoughts/photo aspirations.  See and learn more at www.visitedplanet.com

"Degree South: War" exhibition at the Brisbane Powerhouse

This will surely be one of the Brisbane Powerhouse‘s feature photographic events of the year with images from conflicts around the world by famed photographers such as Sean Flynn, Tim Page and Stephen Dupont.

I’ve interviewed Tim Page and I’ve got a fair idea of his thoughts on war and war photography. He told me once any image of war immediately becomes “anti-war” and that war leaves “victims strewn all over the planet”. Indeed the exhibition is supposed to show some of the impact war has on its victims and will no doubt be confronting, challenging and amazing.

Here’s a snippet from the Powerhouse website:
°South is a collective of dedicated and award-winning Australian documentary photographers who have covered conflicts from Vietnam in ’65 to present day Afghanistan. Often working at great risk to themselves, they have created images that have gone on to influence public opinion, make history and inspire us to find other ways to solve our differences.

War is a haunting journey through the scars inflicted by battle, where the only hope often rests in the power of a photograph to deliver a critical humanistic message.

At present there are 43 conflicts taking place on our planet. Once, the battlefield was the place of devastation, now it is streets, alleyways, schools and places of worship. People and places are no longer protected or sacred and in much of the world it is now safer to be a soldier than an unarmed civilian.

The event runs from May 5-30 but the opening night next Wednesday, May 5, will actually feature some of the photographers with a talk at 6pm. Might see you there!

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Feel free to email Jo at admin@visitedplanet.com with your comments/thoughts/photo aspirations.  See and learn more at www.visitedplanet.com

Helping vulnerable children with Operation Uganda

Last week I attended a fundraiser for Operation Uganda who care for 250 orphaned and vulnerable children and support needy families. Funds they raise go towards the children’s shoes, clothing, pencils and text books and it’s possible to support a child in much the same way as World Vision for AUD $45/month. Operation Uganda assures you all the money goes direct to the children.

A representative from the organization had brought jewellery and handicrafts from villages in Uganda, and sales went back to providing the makers with an income. There were some gorgeous necklaces made from paper that had been twisted/rolled into little round shapes much like papier mache but much firmer. You can also donate your old mobile phone to the organization, join a Mission to visit them on the ground or become one of their staff.

While Uganda has made huge inroads into reducing the number of its impoverished peoples, about one third of the population of 25 million still face hunger and chronic poverty. Children are often the most vulnerable and in Uganda have also been forced to become child soldiers. It is estimated 30,000 to 66,000 have been used by Joseph Kony’s LRA to populate the ranks of his army.

For this reason organizations like Operation Uganda are so important, to stem the tide of poverty and attempt to rehabilitate troubled youngsters who will form the backbone of the country in years to come.

You can read more about Uganda’s problems at World Vision and Chronic Poverty.

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Feel free to email Jo at admin@visitedplanet.com with your comments/thoughts/photo aspirations.  See and learn more at www.visitedplanet.com

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