Yesterday in Masindi

Strolling thru Masindi yesterday I visited the Hospital, a kitchen and water station per se. The hospital is a difficult place to photograph, even with permission. I had a conversation last night with Michael and Amanda, as well as one with a Peacecorps volunteer about photographing in Uganda, or more specifically, developing nations. Is it appropriate to photograph people here? Is it a violation of their dignity and privacy? Is it wrong to expose the life here to the western world, or is it best to keep it sheltered? It’s a multifaceted, perennial question I have wrestled with and am still wrestling with. The one thing I know is that you have to be sensitive to people and see them as that, people, not necessarily just dramatic subject matter.

A young HIV positive boy at the Masindi Hospital. Both of his parents have passed away.

The journalist in me says that is okay and necessary to illustrate life here for others to see and get insight into a world that many may not ever experience. I think there is a responsibility to bring awareness, in a respectful manner, to issues and injustices. But where do you draw the line?



4 thoughts on “Yesterday in Masindi

  1. I think it is all about the respect given by the photographer/journalist both when they interact with their subjects and also portray them in their photos/articles. And it always seems to be pretty obvious when any journalist is doing their work out of sincere compassion or not. I have always thought it is impossible NOT to see that you truly care about the people you photograph… You rock, Josh!

  2. Josh, I agree with Hannah. You photograph in such an inconspicuous and compassionate way. My rule in Masindi has been to never take someone’s picture without talking to them first and getting a little glimpse of their story, which is what your multiple trips in Africa have given you. I see you put your camera down and talk to people, watch them, and enter into their lives in such a way that they are happy to give you a picture…almost all of the time. 🙂

    The storytelling that you do through pictures is invaluable to the work of PMI. It was a huge part of my decision to move there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked through your pictures:

    before moving – to get an idea of where I was going/what I’d me doing
    after moving – to put my life there in perspective

    Thank you for all you do!

  3. Joshua,
    Your passion and compassion are evident in the photographs you create. The work that you are a part of is remarkable. If I were a parent and my child was helped by the efforts of the clinic I would happily allow my child and family to be photographed in order to help others get the assistance they need so desperately. I think if the goal of the photos were strictly financial then your concerns would be completely valid, but they are for the benefit of the local people. Without photographs or video there would be no way for others, like myself, to get a feel of what the organization is about and how life changing it has been both for the people in Africa and for those of you in Charleston.

    I look forward to being a part of it….

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