Tales From the Township - Digital Portrait of Malawi
Samantha, Glasgow, 2013.
Samantha, as I see her.
At Cape Maclear, the beach is far from a tourist spot. Though many backbackers and travellers are drawn to this location for its utopian setting and idyllic beach, it remains a place where the locals number far more than outsiders.
In the mornings, I was usually woken by the sounds from the beach; not just the sound of the surf, but the sound of families, washing and bathing, laughing and shouting, relaxing and working.
This boy approached me when I was reading my book and asked me to take his photograph. Soon enough, his friends turned up and wanted their photos taken too. They showed great character, and all loved to pose for the camera.
Something that always made me smile in Africa was the look on someone’s face when, after taking their photograph, I would show them the shot on the screen. Something they are used to is having their photograph taken and never getting to see it; so many times are they captured on film or digital, yet hardly ever do they get a chance to see themselves as we see them.
Cape Maclear, August, 2012.
- Maxwell, Bangwe Township, 2012.
This week I got the last of the film developed that I had used in Africa. In the end, I used seven rolls of Kodak 400TX, one roll of Illford FP4, and around 11 rolls of Fujifilm Superia X-tra, not to mention the thousands of digital images taken.
Though I was over the moon with the digital work, and at this point have already spent a great deal of time processing the vast majority of the photos, the images captured on film are of a much higher standard. The sheer composition and technical simplicity of each shot allows them to portray something much more than their digital counterparts.
Biased though I may be, I can’t help but think that these are powerful images, and I want to do them justice by presenting them in an appropriate manner, and by allowing a wider audience to see them. While Flickr is a great tool for making photographs accessible, I don’t feel that it is the right medium to host work of this nature, so I have decided to start a blog in the coming week.
At first, the blog will serve as an organisational tool for me to organise, display, and write about different sets of photographs and communicate what exactly they mean to me. In the future, the blog will ideally act as something which encourages me to document the photos I take, and actively talk about them.
I spent a while travelling round southeast Africa in the summer, and spent some time at Cape Maclear at Lake Malawi.
It was an incredibly beautiful place; a massive fresh-water lake lined with golden beaches and traditional villages.
This boy was out on the lake fishing, the surest source of income for the people who live by the Lake. We pulled up beside his hollowed-out canoe, and bought some cichlids from him so that we could feed some fish eagles. While the girls were inspecting the fish I took some photos before he go too shy and turned away.
Lake Malawi, 2012.