A de miner from MAG makes safe an anti-personal mine in Angola. Much of my work has been about the
effects of conflict on civilians, and nothing is more insidious or indiscriminate than a mine. I have nothing but
respect for the workers from charities such as MAG and HALO who tirelessly work to make safe former
conflict zones. I remember sweating profusely when I took this photo, nervous that the mine would explode.
After recent events it has even more poignancy to me.
The villagers of Chifolo evacuate following the death of two children who stepped on a mine hidden by their
hut. There are approximately 10 million mines still hidden in Angola, many in small villages such as this.
Following the end of the civil war in Angola these
refuges had just been repatriated. Due to the
length of the war, these children had been born in
camps in Zambia and now back in Angola speaking
a different language and with nothing but tents to
live in, they find themselves outsiders in their own
I photographed this former UNITA soldier in a
demobilisation camp in Angola. The rebels had raided
his village when he was a child; they'd forced him to
shoot a family member before taking him to their
camp in the jungle. He'd fought with them for nearly
20 years, now with the war over he was uneducated,
marginalised and unable to return home for fear of
retribution. The authorities wouldn't allow me to take
his name. His eyes were dead.
Children attend their first day of school in Angola.
The IOM had just built the school and this was the
first day it opened. The desire to learn was etched
all over the pupil's faces.
Widows of rebel soldiers, fearful of retribution from
Angolan government soldiers, living in an almost
biblical scene at an abandoned school. When I first
tried to photograph them they would all disappear
into the shadows, but by returning each day I gained
their trust. By the time I took this picture we'd all
become so familiar that my biggest problem was they
kept taking it in turns to pinch my backside. Each time
one of them succeeded the whole school erupted in
A nun at an Angolan orphanage stoops to serve
the children's dinner of beans. You can almost
hear her back creak. It's one of my very favourite
photographs of all time, it feels timeless.
Everything came together in front of me, I just had
to press the shutter.
At the orphanage the nuns were strict, but the bond
between them and the children was so strong. In the
midst of so much horror and suffering, it was a place
full of love. This photo always makes me smile.
Fatima with her brother Noru in an official camp
for Rohingya refugees on the Burmese border.
They had lost their parents and only had each
other in the camp, Fatima was only ten, but was so
strong and held so tightly to Noru that her knuckles
were going white. He was suffering from severe
Dawn at Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh.
A Rohingya child receiving immunisation from MSF.
As an NGO I've always admired their no nonsense
approach, often providing help where other
organisations are tied up in politics.
A family of Rohingya refugees in Kutupalong camp. My work tends to focus on families and small
communities, and the resilience they show through adversity.
A ten-year-old boy at work in a Dhaka metal ware
factory. Child labourer is a good example of how
complicated humanitarian issues can be. At the time
of this photography a lot of clothing factories had
been shut down because of customer outrage at the
use of child labour in producing High Street brands.
As a result though, those children had been left
without incomes and often ended up on the street.
The charity I was working with in Dhaka was bringing
education into the factories, persuading the bosses to
allow the children a few hours off everyday to study.
In the long term it was a more productive solution.
Rahima, 24, was attacked with acid after her family
rejected a marriage proposal. On leaving hospital,
and following further threats, Rahima's family forced
her to marry her attacker. After even years she
escaped and has enrolled in university with the aim
of working in social care with women who have
suffered similar trauma to her own. I find it so hard to
photograph someone who has suffered so much, but
her defiance shone through. Despite everything she
refused to be a victim.
Tofazzal is watched over by his wife in a Dhaka hospital. He'd been left blinded, disfigured and quite literally
rendered speechless by an acid attack. If anything illustrates man's potential for inhumanity it's attacks such
In South Sudan, members of the 'white army', an illegal militia, pose with their new AK-47's. I'd been trying to
negotiate a meeting with a member of the militia for a few days; finally somebody had agreed to introduce me.
I'd been expecting to meet a single member, but was confronted by dozens. It was poignant, as they day
before I'd had been photographing young victims of the fighting, and here they were, some as young as twelve,
acting with such bravado. It was one of the most nerve-racking photos I ever took, they were so inexperienced
they kept accidentally firing their weapons. Just after I took this frame one of their commanders entered their
compound and starting screaming at the sight of me. I beat a hasty retreat.
A Murle warrior in Lekwongole, South Sudan at a
generation dance. I was asked along to this tribal
rite by the village chief, a few weeks earlier the
village had been attacked by the Nuer, leaving 450
mainly women and children dead. Sun bleached
bones still littered the village. I felt so privileged to be
invited to the dance, and with the intense heat,
drumming and rhythmic movement it was a hypnotic
event. Yet one couldn't forget, despite the nobility of
the warriors, this was a call to fight.
I took this photograph during a famine and kala azar
outbreak in South Sudan. What struck me was that
despite being so obviously emaciated, the man
seemed so proud and noble. I don't photograph
victims, I photograph victims of circumstance. There
was nothing weak about this man, drought and
disease had attacked him, that could happen to any
of us. It was heartbreaking to see the size of his bowl
and for it to just have one tiny morsel of food in it.
For quite a few years in my youth I was a fashion photographer. I wasn't very good. In many ways this
photograph of Murle girls is the fashion photograph I was never able to take. This image shows the pure
beauty, mystery and strength of women.
A Nuer woman in delivery at the moment of her
child's death. This was such a desperate moment
and reflected the dire need for better health care in
South Sudan. As the nurses were limited I'd had to
help the doctor, I stopped for a moment to take a
photograph. It was such a private moment, but I felt
it should be recorded. In the horror of such a event
there was a strange moment of calm, I'm not a
religious man, but that was the closest I've seen to
something spiritual. Months later the photo won an
award, I felt incredibly uncomfortable about that.
I was lucky enough to photograph one of my heroes,
the surgeon Gino Strada, at work in the cardiac center
run by Emergency, an Italian charity, in Khartoum.
Witnessing him at work on the human heart was like
watching an artist with his canvas. To see a struggling,
beating heart repaired to health in front of your eyes
was such a honour.
I've always been drawn to document small groups and families, and never more so than when I documented
the street children of Odessa. I lived with 'the family' of Prymorska Street, and in that time I grew incredibly
close to them. A local charity had warned me about them, but they were courteous to a fault and never
betrayed my trust. I love this photograph because it captures the charater of each one and the complicated
group dynamics. On the last day I was there Lilick, the boy top right, overdosed and died on vodka and pills.
For a long time it made me want to give up photography.
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The family were always looking out for each other. Nadya had been self-harming, slicing her forearm, the
group got together to clean the wounds and dress them. Often my work takes me to the darker parts of our
world, but weirdly that is where one often sees the truest moments of humanity.
Weddy and Eunice, 4 and 5, orphans from Kenya who had both received life saving heart surgery at
Emergency's clinic in Sudan. When anyone from the West tells me our help or money can't make a difference
I show them this picture. Of course we can, and should, make a difference.
On 7th of February this year, whilst on patrol in Afghanistan with the 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment,
US Army I stepped on an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). Moments after the explosion I remember
doing a stock check on my body; I was aware my eyes, right hand and mind were all in order, there was
nothing to stop me being what I am, a photographer. In some ways my world changed forever on that day,
the loss of three limbs meant life would naturally be harder, but in other ways nothing changed.
Since the incident I've heard of myself referred to as a victim of the war. I am nothing of the sort. I knew the
risks being a photographer entailed, but taking these photographs somehow felt important and I am
honoured to do it. Putting together this collection of my past work has only served to remind me of that and
has inspired me to push a little harder in rehab so I can get back to what I do, telling other peoples stories.
As always my gratitude goes to the guys on the patrol, the medevac crew and the whole team at Kandahar.
I'm only here today due to their bravery and skill.