Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – 13 August, 2021

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – World Press Photo publishes six stories guaranteed to put a smile on your face. These were commissioned by the Solutions Visual Journalism Initiative, a project designed to support visual storytellers to create work that provides a solutions focus to an identified issue.

Plus the 2021 World Press Photo exhibition that was to open at Magnet Galleries Melbourne next month has been pushed to early 2022 due to Covid-19 lockdowns. More information will be provided as details come to hand.

Solutions Visual Journalism Initiative – Six New Projects

The Solutions Visual Journalism Initiative (SVJI) is a joint project involving World Press Photo Foundation, the Message in a Photo Foundation, and the Solutions Journalism Network. The Initiative has three objectives: 

  • Develop what a solutions focus means for visual journalism
  • Commission, fund, and publish a small number of solutions stories
  • Use these new stories to educate both the profession and engage the public on the benefits of a solutions focus in visual journalism

This week World Press Photo published the six stories that were commissioned in the first round by SVJI. These stories are: Back to Basics created by Are We Europe; The Fishing Women of Sinaloa by Celia Talbot Tobin; The Old Normal by Ilvy Njiokiktjien; Power-less to Empowered by Jere Ikongio; Punan Adiu: The Forest is Our Mother by Michael Eko; and House of Light: Finding Refuge in Tijuana Migrant Community by Tara Pixley. 

These commissions were chosen from a global call out in 2019 and were selected, in part, for their capacity to engage with younger audiences across multiple platforms. The six stories address issues such as “universal basic income in Germany, restoration of the Gulf of California’s ecosystem, co-living arrangements in the Netherlands, renewable alternatives to Nigeria’s unstable electric infrastructure, the Punan Adiu indigenous community’s ownership and management of customary land in Indonesia, and community support for LGBTQ+ migrants and mothers traveling alone with children at the Tijuana-San Diego border.”

Back to basics – Are We Europe

Sebastian Weigel lives in Hamburg and is a recipient of basic income. November 2020.

This project was created by Are We Europe, a collective of journalists, photographers, designers, software developers and marketers that collaborate on stories described as ‘borderless journalism”. Four friends founded Are We Europe in 2016 as a means to counter what they felt was the media’s narrow focus on Europe. There are now 15 creatives working out of its headquarters in Brussels. Are We Europe also collaborates with independent storytellers.

Their SVJI project Back to Basics considers what “a universal basic income looks like in reality.” What is a universal basic income? It’s where individuals are paid a fixed monthly income that allows recipients “to work less while maintaining a decent standard of living.” It’s a panacea for the precarious working conditions that come with a casualised workforce where individuals may be working several jobs to make ends meet. It is also a strategy to allow room for creative thought, to give people space to discover what they are passionate about. In Germany, this social experiment is being funded through crowdsourcing and allocated by lottery.

Sebastian Weigel at home in Hamburg

The Fishing Women of Sinaloa – Celia Talbot

Yanett Castro is the president of the fisher women’s collective Almejeras de Santa Cruzdresses. Here she dresses before entering into the mangroves outside the town of Aguamitas to collect wild oysters and clams. The work is gruellingly physical, wading through thick, sludge-like mud in and amongst the mangrove roots, and requires every inch of skin to be covered and protected from spiny branches and dangerously sharp shells. 1 June 2021.

This is a remarkable story about fishing cooperatives run by women in the Gulf of California. These women are working to create environmentally sustainable fishing practices. Women’s voices are rarely heard in an industry dominated by men and Talbot Tobin’s story reveals the determination and courage of these small collectives. 

Yanett at work Altata, Sinaloa. 1 June 2021

The Old Normal – Ilvy Njiokiktjien

Els (left) helps her husband John, together with her daughter in law Lisa Wade (41) and granddaughter Norah (1), on 25 September 2020.

The Netherlands is known for its compassionate approach to caring for the elderly. The Old Normal explores the benefits of co-housing where different generations live together, but independently, share communal living spaces and care for each other. It’s a lovely, heartwarming story that shows there are other ways to treat our elderly. Rather than placing elderly parents in a nursing or retirement home, families live together, share meals and leisure time, but also have their own space. The story reminds us what “family” means.

Simon Douw plays a game together with his mother Nel Douw and his son Jonas at the dinner table in their co-housing structure in Westzaan, the Netherlands, on 18 October 2020.

Power-less to Empowered – Jere Ikongio

Safiya Aliyu has been with SOSAI Renewable Energies since its inception in 2010. She first came to Kadabo in 2014 to do research for SOSAI. Safiya is currently the Programs Manager and was part of the team to select Kadabo. 12 December 2020

The small, remote Nigerian township of Kadabo is not connected to the national electricity grid and its residents have been reliant on diesel powered generators. Through an initiative by SOSAI Renewable Energies, an organisation run by women in Kaduna, the residents of Kadabo are turning to solar power. Power-less to Empowered is another uplifting story about women making a change for social and environmental good. “SOSAI is the Nigerian chapter of the international organization Solar Sisters, which is dedicated to powering communities and women through solar energy and entrepreneurship programs.” Love it!

Aerial view of Kadabo, Nigeria, 12 December 2020.

Punan Adiu: The Forest Is Our Mother – Michael Eko

Punan Adiu Village at dusk, North Kalimantan Province, Indonesia, on 10 June 2020. In earlier times, the Punan lived inside the forest. Now they stay in permanent settlement and embrace modern lifestyle. 

Shot in Indonesia, Punan Adiu: The Forest Is Our Mother documents the attempts by the Punan Adiu, a nomadic indigenous people, to find new ways to make a living from the land, and at the same time continue to care for the forest, a practice that is centuries old. Today these hunter-gatherers live in more modern villages, but they are still reliant “on the forest as a source for food, medicine, water and all socio-cultural aspects of their life,” writes Michael Eko. 

The Pythonidae snake is one of the protein resources for the Punan Adiu community. 20 March 2020.

House of Light: Finding Refuge in Tijuana Migrant Community – Tara Pixley

Irving Mondragon, the manager of the Casa de Luz shelter, in Tijuana, Mexico, sets up a Zoom lesson on storytelling for the seven children residents of CDL, on 12 December 2020. The kids have been working on a lesson plan where they make their own stories as part of the class. 

Casa de Luz means House of Light. This shelter is one of the few in Mexico that cares for those migrants who identify as LGBTQ+ as well as mothers travelling with children. In House of Light: Finding Refuge in Tijuana Migrant Community Pixley reports that “Mexico doesn’t condone such mixing of shelter populations and will not provide…funding.” As such, Casa de Luz is constantly searching for ways to support those it cares for. What Pixley’s story and images reveal is that despite the shelter’s “tight quarters” and the issues that come with the trials of migration, bureaucracy and lack of funding, those in search of a better life can still find community, love and compassion.

The upstairs area of CDL serves as a classroom, bedroom, lounge area and communal play room for all 35 of the current migrant shelter residents. 12 December 2020.

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