I cover general news and am particularly interested in stories about health, displacement and the effects of conflict.
My earliest memories of photography are small, black and white photos of my grandmother’s family. I remember the studio portraits that hung on the walls at her house showing her and my grandfather when they were young. And I remember my father photographing me with a little camera in my grandmother’s garden, next to a newly planted cherry tree.
At the end of high school I wanted to go and study photography at university. That meant taking a photography exam, so I started shooting with an old film Minolta and had a second-year student teach me the basics of how to use the camera, get to grips with composition, and develop film in his small kitchen in my hometown.
I started out as a photographer for a small shopping magazine in the town where I grew up. I was both taking pictures and writing for the publication and I would photograph watches, T-shirt stores, pet shops, construction material shops, etc.
During the conflict in South Sudan I would sometimes visit towns that had been abandoned, dead bodies lying everywhere, only to come back weeks later and find the towns getting back to life as people returned to their homes. Then a few weeks later they would be deserted again, as the town changed hands between the army and the opposition. So many people I met were trying to do their part to bring a positive change to their country, despite the ongoing conflict. Everybody I met was affected by the conflict. It left a big mark on me, both seeing the suffering but also the resilience.
When I take pictures, I don’t think so much about my audience as about the people I am photographing and about the story I am seeing. I think that if you are honest and care about the story you are shooting, then your audience will be happy.
I admire people who are culturally sensitive and open to understanding that not everybody has to be like them.