At the start of 2020, I embarked on a trip to Sierra Leone, Africa with my friend Bryan (@bryannicolamaxwell). For 15 days we immersed ourself in the local culture, sleeping in the houses of the locals, eating with them and sharing stories.
The collection aims to show a different side of the country, its light and the people within it. Something which has been unfairly left out by journalism over recent years. The lens acted as a bridge between our two cultures and encouraged the people to open up and allow me to see into their lives.
The group of photos is different from anything I have done before. My work has often focused on static objects or landscapes, while I enjoy it, the photos can often lack a sense of emotion and human connection. I wanted to challenge myself on this trip and also challenge you and your own ideas.
The photos were taken in collaboration with Slow Food International, a charity which aims to reinvigorate people’s interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us. Slow Food promotes true enjoyment of good food, and food production systems that provide good, clean and fair food for everyone.
Every time I took a polaroid, I offered it to the subject in exchange for another picture. This allowed me to see people from two different viewpoints. In the second photo, the focus was on the subject’s hands rather than the person themselves.
I left the country feeling fulfilled and full of gratitude. It really was a trip of a lifetime, something I hope to have done justice too in the photos.
Take a look below.
The Polaroid Collection
What struck me the most was the human resilience that every individual showed despite their situation, their warmth to others and their openness.
Although there were differences in our childhood experiences, shown here by the hands. There were also many similarities including innocence and joy for life.
Much like the western world, family was an important part of everyday life as well as the local community.
What do you prefer? Street photography or Static?