Category Archives: Humanitarian Photography

Through The Infirmary #47

From my upcoming Through The Infirmary documentary project.

Photo Through The Infirmary #47

Hospital Reception Area. Xamtia, Laos

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Unexploded Ordnance Survivor Video

Last year I created a video for World Education (WE) in Laos. It’s a short documentary fundraiser for the War Victims Medical Fund (WVMF)When I was approached with the idea by one of the team members from WE’s Victims’ Assistance Support Team (VAST), I knew I had to do it—although, it wasn’t an easy video to make. I feel very strongly about the people still being affected by United States’ Vietnam-era munitions, and at times was overcome by the pointlessness of the violence happening to them.

If you cannot see the video above, click here.

My only disappointment about the project was that I didn’t get to travel to Teuy’s remote village when VAST did a checkup trip. When the team gathered in Teuy’s home, as is usual, many of the neighbors came by to see what was going on. When they saw him opening bottles of water and bags of chips, they were amazed. When they commented on it, Teuy said “And I can do a lot more!”

That would have made an amazing end to the video, but knowing it happened was enough.

Also posted in Videos

Haam Jap! (Don’t Touch)

This was a great project I worked on in Laos last year. The kids learned filmmaking skills, had a good time, and got to go to the capital (most had never been there). The twelve hour bus ride was a bit of an ordeal, but it was worth it.

Here is the info about the project:

Conceived, written and produced by the students of Lone Buffalo, the short film ‘Haam Jap’ is a Public Awareness Video designed to alert children in Laos (and worldwide) of the continued danger of Unexploded Ordnance.

The film was shown at the 2015 Vientianale International Film Festival.

The students wrote three scenarios in which bombies can maim or kill. They used props available in the classroom and local market to produce special effects, and shot the film on location in and around Phonsavan.

On Vimeo:

If you can’t see the video above, click here.

Film Director Teng Vue Fai Dang (18) said he wanted to create a film that would remind both children and adults that bombies are sadly both metaphorically and physically “in our roots” and will pose a danger for many years to come, especially in Xieng Khouang, the world’s most heavily bombed province.

The only shots not taken by the students were of the defused munitions, since it was deemed inappropriate for them to be near or handle actual UXO, even though it was all FFE (Free From Explosives).

On YouTube:

If you can’t see the video above, click here.

The film was Executively Directed by Jon Witsell and James Thomas. This film was produced for and funded by the US State Department.

Lone Buffalo is an free English Language project in Phonsavan, North East Laos. The students who produced this film live in Xieng Khouang Province.

 

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Unexploded Ordnance: Don’t Touch!

This is a poster that is at the Phonsavan, Laos, office of UXO-Lao, the national demining organization. As you might expect, more boys than girls are maimed/killed by the Vietnam-era unexploded ordnance left over from the Secret War, in which the United States played a major role (those are all munitions manufactured/deployed by the United States pictured in the poster).

Photo Unexploded Ordnance Haam Jap!

The red text in the upper left states Haam Jap! (roughly translated: Don’t Touch!). I’ll have a follow up post about a very cool film project done with the Lone Buffalo school’s students soon. Stay tuned!

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Through The Infirmary #2

In Laos, as in most of Asia, one takes off their shoes before entering a building. This is a great practice, keeping the inside of buildings much cleaner. However, it can lead to a bit of chaos right at the doorway… click to enlarge.

Infirmary

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