Best of 2011 images – i
It’s late on New Year’s Eve, so what better to do than have a quick run through the year?
2011 – it’s been fantastic year of work – lots of interesting people and places, some still to come in terms of being seen (especially the month of work with Sheffield Children’s Hospital, which will be exhibited in early 2012 in Sheffield). And there have been some great developments regarding training and new types of work coming up next year, of which more later. But for now, here’s a selection of my favourite pictures from the year, broken down into themes…
Haiti, post-earthquake, filled a large part of 2010 for me, and 2011 continued that. I was in Haiti for much of January, working with Tearfund covering the anniversary of the quake, and reporting on their relief and development work. The body of work from Haiti over my three visits was exhibited in London (June) and Sheffield (October), complete with radio and press coverage, and the opportunity for a lot of the stories to be heard more widely.
Still one of my favourite shots from the exhibition.
This was a very quiet moment, with someone whose story we didn’t use in the end, but enough to say it was a very moving afternoon. And in a totally different part of Port au Prince to where we’d been used to working.
This is in AFCA camp in Port au Prince which I visited again and again – I like the massive contrast in the light, and the slow but still busy feel to the work going on.
And continuing a theme of quiet moments in troubled places, this is Camp Adokken in Port au Prince, one of the fairly large camps that are spread across the city – not huge, but some thousands of people living under plastic.
Faith is a profound part of Haitian life, and churches have been a significant part of the response to the earthquake – this one is up in the hills above Leogane, and uses a school building for their services.
In a house in Port au Prince, with most of the family still living mainly outdoors, due to the structural damage, another quiet moment of normality reasserting itself.
Where does all the rubble go? A lot of it seems to end up near the sea, on vast dumping grounds like this, where it gets picked over again for anything salvageable.
One of the things I love about the pace of an overseas trip is that there are often periods of waiting, while a journalist does interviews. People tend to relax a bit, and become less aware of you (or at least less bothered), which makes for little interactions with the people who are still hanging around too. This is at Bethel church, after the service, a good hour north of Port au Prince. As is the shot below, which is also one of my exhibition favourites – in fact, shooting this was what started me thinking there might be an exhibition in the pictures I’d been making in Haiti, as it didn’t feel as though it would be an editorial shot, but still felt as though it worked for the story…
There’s always a bit of politics… Some of it is commissioned, a little is on spec:
Visit of House of Commons Speaker the Rt Hon John Bercow MP to Sheffield Hallam University. He was visiting sixth form politics students, as well as delivering an evening lecture for the public and was really excellent – very engaged with and interested in the students, and someone who made you feel as though it was worth engaging with politics…
A lot of pension and income angst this year too – this was the NUT annual conference in Harrogate, where they voted for strike action.
And more of it here – this is the TUC day of strike action at the end of November, with maybe 10000 people outside the City Hall in Sheffield. Thankfully, no riots in Sheffield (I’ve been there, done that, and have no desire to repeat the experience…). But I think there’s a significant likelihood (!) of some more marches like this next year, at least.
Polly Toynbee, Guardian columnist and political author came to speak at Sheffield Hallam University, during Sheffield’s ‘Off the Shelf’ literary festival. I often only get a few minutes with people at these events, but she’s someone I always find very thought provoking to read, and it was great to meet her.
A lot of my work is in schools, colleges and universities, photographing for magazines, prospectuses and publicity or working with young people to enable them to tell stories visually. There’s a lot of interesting things I’ve shot this year that are very specific to the school, but here are a few of my favourite education pictures from this year.
A lot of the challenge of photographing in schools is becoming part of what’s going on, so that you’re not a massive distraction. This is in a school in Birmingham – I love the concentration, and the smiley star…
Same place, lots of energy…
And a preparation for Royal Wedding celebrations.
Rather closer to home, these chickens are looked after by pupils at an inner-city primary school as part of an eco-club. One of those slightly risky photo shoots where your head seems to be a good target for chicken-beaks, and everything’s rather slippier than perhaps it could be… Really nice story though!
This isn’t the picture that was used in the end, but I like the way the wide use of technology in this Blackpool primary is shown in this portrait of the head – the light’s quite fun too…
Working with adults in a university setting is a slightly different pace and offers a lot more control. This is for Oak Hill College’s prospectus and website – I’ve been photographing for them for maybe fifteen years, and I’m constantly working with them to create new ways of telling their story. I started out on film, and with the new generation of Nikons (this is on a D3s), I can shoot even in the lecture theatres using available light. I did a whole additional set of shots on my 24mm tilt shift lens too, to throw particular parts of the image into focus, and these have been used on their website.
I also spent a couple of days up in Bradford, working with pupils to illustrate what they were hoping to go on and study at university – great fun to work with all their creativity!
And finally for this post, a bit more education from trips too.
Firstly, Haiti again – lessons continuing during this rebuild in Port au Prince:
And after the tuck shop opens after lessons, near Leogane:
We visited quite a range of schools in Pakistan in August – this one was my favourite:
I’ll post some more in the next couple of days – some people, landscapes, Pakistan and Bangladesh. But for now, Happy New Year, enjoy the next twelve months, may they be full of peace, surprise, joy and hope!
richard hanson :: photographer
sheffield :: uk :: world