“Storytelling may be the only way to change someone’s mind. Princeton researchers have argued that people tend to challenge arguments based on facts. Stories, on the other hand, can change behaviour by stimulating the parts of the brain associated with empathy.” Matt Gordon for Story2
When great photography and journalism come together, they deliver a powerful message. I have photographed in the worlds of editorial, commercial and charity, with the formula for delivering information remaining the same. The pictures have to have form and content, drawing the viewer in with the aesthetic at the same time as explaining what is happening. Whilst a photo can be “worth a thousand words”, the information is delivered to us in a different manner to the text. The photography should leave us wanting to understand more and read the article.
A paragraph can equally be worth a thousand photos. The words contribute to the overall message in a way that the pictures cannot, and through the eloquence of language and factual information we reflect on the images with additional understanding. Storytelling is pictures and words at their finest.
I was commissioned to photograph DelAgua’s programme of distributing water filters and cook stoves across Rwanda. Unsafe drinking water and household air pollution are major causes of mortality around the world. The data collected from the study in Rwanda suggests that programmatic delivery of household water filters and improved cook stoves can provide a scalable interim solution for rural populations that lack access to safe drinking water and rely on traditional fires for cooking.
I documented the project capturing every aspect from the distribution days and community health workers visits. I photographed in a number of different regions and villages to show the extent of the programme. I collaborated with DelAgua Health and the Rwandan Ministry of Health to present a powerful set of images which showed the work undertaken. The series was shortlisted for the prestigious World Sony Photography Awards.