Justin [the grad]

Justin is graduating from high school, so we thought it was time for a portrait session at the farm where I live. I've only done a handful of shoots outside my little barn house, and I was surprised by what we were able to do (using a tree stump or two). The setting sun beamed through the trees, and nature became our studio.

Tunkás

Tunkás is a small town, 26 km to the east of Izamal.

We had 3 hours to find 3 story ideas in the town where, for one week we will live with our subjects and our beds become hammocks. The town is very rural, but very welcoming.

I slurped down two bowls of caldo de pollo (con pasta) as David, one of our translators and a dear brother, led us in singing American songs in Spanish. We were introduced to the city councilman, a kind of mayor, and I knew we couldn't go anywhere else without talking to him first.

I asked "mayor" Reymundo what industry Tunkás was known for, and what he said made my eyes light up, and I gulped. I know we must follow this lead!

He is a beekeeper.

My assignment as a videographer was to produce a small clip including a 1) silhouette 2) rack-focus 3) abstraction 4) limited motion




Mérida /// Izamal

Here we go! The Heart of Mexico project for 2015 has begun! I'm privileged to be with a group of 17 students from both UNT and Mexico, producing stories on migration in the Yucatán península. We will be here for 25 days. 

You can view stories from the previous years, here

Five teams consisting of a multimedia/video producer, writer, photographer, and translator will spread out across Izamal to document stories related to a historic wave of migration of Maya and indigenous people to the United States. 

We will immerse and live with families for a week, following a week of training and intensive daily assignments. Then, a week of editing and production.

Our great staff: Dianne Solís, a writer with the Dallas Morning News for 15 years; Morty Ortega, multimedia journalist and communications director for the Alexia Foundation ; Harvard Nieman Fellow Kael Alford and of course, her husband (and UNT photojournalism professor) Thorne Anderson; and Lenin Martell, Project Director, teaches full time at the School of Political and Social Sciences in the University of the State of Mexico. 

It's the third year for HOM, and it's a little different this year. The project has expanded and we are joining hands with a willing anthropologist, Dr. Lewin Fisher.

Here are some photos from our recent expeditions and arrival!




Following Them

I've been following Carl and Rachel Wilkinson. They are leaders - worship leaders too! - and old friends. We shared the sacred space of song in the Well House of Prayer, and we've also shared the space of the 4x6 photograph, from documenting their courtship, to the proposal, to the wedding (participant!), and now to Lydia Grace, six-months old. 



Camille Lepage breaks silence over crisis in Central African Republic

On May 8 last year, Camille Lepage was photographing the conflict in the Central African Republic, traveling by motorbike with a militia group. The region, according to the UN warning, was on the verge of widespread genocide, "descending into complete chaos(BBC). A photo on her Instagram showed a serene fog over a red-dirt road, like mirage in the midst of escalated violence, as the cradled gun broke the calm.

Lepage was traveling with the anti-balaka, or "anti-machete" group, formed in response to attacks by Seleka groups on Christian communities that make-up about 50 percent of the CAR. Thirteen percent of the population practices Islam, according to the UN. Lepagea 26-year old French photojournalist, hoped to bring awareness and compassion to the suffering in what the UNHCR calls the world's greatest humanitarian crisis - forgotten.  

In an interview with PetaPixel, a photography website, Lepage spoke out against the silence of mainstream media over the conflict: "I can't accept that people's tragedies are silenced simply because no one can make money out of them," she said. "I decided to do it myself, and bring some light to them no matter what" (The Washington Post). 

Four days after that quiet moment on the road in central Africa, Lepage was found dead in a vehicle driven by the anti-balaka rebels. According to her father, director of Radio Siriri, she was caught in the midst of heavy fighting between the two groups, while traveling near the border.

Her death is the first of a Western journalist covering a conflict that began in 2012 and as a sequel to the Bush War from 2003-2007. The present conflict has claimed  tens of thousands and displaced nearly a million people. A little over half the country, 2.7 million people, are in need of humanitarian aid and assistance that is unavailable.  

Refugees number 500,000, spread across Cameroon, Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. An estimated $613 million is needed in assistance, and only $85 million has been received. 

   (Fred Dufour/Getty Images)

 (Fred Dufour/Getty Images)

 Camille's coverage can be found on her website:

camille-lepage.photoshelter.com 

 

 

Bibliography: 

Central African Republic 'descending into chaos' - UN. (2013, November 26). BBC. Retrieved May 18, 2015, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-25095471   

 Tharoor, I. (2013, May 13). RIP Camille Lepage, French photojournalist killed in Central African Republic. The Washington Post. Retrieved May 18, 2015, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/05/13/rip-camille-lepage-french-photojournalist-killed-in-central-african-republic/   

 UN: Central African Republic at risk of becoming the world's largest forgotten humanitarian crisis. (2015, April 27). Retrieved May 18, 2015, from http://www.unhcr.org/553e49ec6.html