As you may know, I’m working on an exciting project at the moment, with long-time collaborators, O Street, and a construction organisation who I volunteered with in Sierra Leone called Orkidstudio. The project actually began in 2014, when I travelled to Kenema with Orkidstudio, photographing a community who were building a new school for Swawou School Foundation. The building was to provide new facilities for local, underprivileged girls to get a better education, joining up innovative design and construction techniques to make a building that would work for years to come.
A market stallholder selling fruit and vegetables in Kenema
Just as I left Kenema in 2014, the Ebola pandemic struck and work on the build had to pause for two whole years. Only recently, the school has been completed and happily the girls are in their new classrooms, where they’re able to learn in a bright, cool and safe environment. However, because of Ebola, governmental funding has dried up and the school is in desperate need of financial help. To help their cause, I, along with Orkidstudio and O Street, are self-publishing Kenema, which will be my first book, and will feature the portraits I took in 2014 and 2016. All profits from the book will go to Swawou School Foundation.
If you want to pre-order your copy of the book, you can support our Kickstarter campaign now. We would love to make the book a reality – if you’re a friend, client or a fan of my work, please do consider backing us. I’m really proud of these images and the stories that the book will tell.
To whet your appetite, I’d like to share some of the images that I took while I was in Kenema in April 2016. They’re of local shopkeepers who I met when I was walking around. I think shops are such a fascinating insight into a community. They reveal what a community buys, what they value and how they live, day to day. You don’t get many Cassava leaf or dried fish shops in Edinburgh, that’s for sure.