I’ve realized that the way I approached photographing the journey last year was all wrong.
Before the trip, all I had seen of Africa was National Geographic photos and the cliche “give us money”, pull-at-your-heartstrings close-ups of starving children. Naturally, I thought that was the kind of shot I needed to be successful or to make an impact.
I ended up getting some really powerful shots, but none of them were really original.
Those kinds of photos might be what people expect or want, but that’s only because that’s all they know of Africa. Now that I’ve been here and I know the complicated Uganda that actually exists, one picture of a starving child or a grass hut is a sad and simple misrepresentation of the multidimensional country I’ve grown to love.
This time around I want to try to somehow capture the Uganda that nobody knows about unless they’ve spent time here: A country that has an obsession with futbol that manifests itself in the street in the form of vuvuzelas, face paint and Ugandan flags in every form on match day and shows futbol matches on every public TV 24 hours a day; a country that is protesting the destruction of its rain forests by refusing to buy sugar from the cane fields that are ever-encroaching on the trees.
I won’t be able to explain a lot of the things I see in this place–I know that from experience. Everybody I try to explain these things to will likely have already seen the same National Geographic and Save the Children footage I had before visiting. The inexplicable memories are the ones that need capturing so they can tell their own stories.
One of my goals on this trip is to enable myself to be a better witness to the third world by capturing it in a way that makes it easier to explain.