Photographer and writer
• East London, 🇬🇧
• #FiftyFrames travel stories from India 👉
A quiet and colourful morning on Phewa lake in Pokhara, Nepal. I had another post I wanted to write here, but I'm deep in an edit from a recent trip to Nepal, and this image was sweet salve to the eyes, and it's Friday, so I'm keeping it light and easay. :) Happy Friday everyone!
This year I've been pretty quiet on the internet. Partially to get some space and figure some stuff out - get offline and meet people and show my work in person - and partially because that decision just became a habit, making it progressively harder to come back.
Since returning from India last year, I've set about rebuilding my freelance work/life after a few years working for NGOs in London. It's been a whole rollercoaster of things, from despair-flecked quiet periods to manic silly long days on high-pressure assignments. But things are beginning to get better, I'm finding my rhythm and getting a better sense of what I'm good at, how I work best, who I want to work with and what I want to work for. I'm still very much in the process of figuring this all out, but part of it means 'coming back to the internet' if that makes any sense. For me, it means showing more of my work publicly - which I'm pretty terrible at doing. And that means really getting brave and making time to show more of my work - personal projects, stuff shot for other people, things on film, things on digital - even if it's not super consistent with what I say I am (photographer? writer? filmmaker? visual storyteller? [puke]). We're all in flux, constantly in a state of change and hopefully growth, and I want to feel freer to be open with that and simply get better at 'showing my work', as @austinkleon so rightly commands.
And what better way to begin this new season than with a picture of my incredible @piccolola, seen here nimbly clambering up a rock at the end of a beautiful day in Sardinia. She's my best friend and has always been 100% supportive of me and my weird career choice - and while I don't always believe in myself, she does, which makes the environmental context of this photo enjoyably symbolic.
Shot on my favourite camera (Leica M6) on Kodak Portra film, with a lovely lick of last-of-the-day light.
In the last few hours of packing and preparation before I fly back to Nepal for @tearfund to work on an exciting new project and see some of the amazing work they're doing, and inevitably my mind is racing back through memories of all the remarkable people I met in 2016. It's been well over a year now since I was there last and met Sajina here who proudly showed me her favourite goat that she was lovingly nurturing, thousands of feet above sea level where they live, homes clinging to a visually stunning but challenging mountain environment. I can't wait to get back.
Last month I travelled back to South Sudan to cover the food insecurity crisis for UK NGO @tearfund. At the end of a long hot day working with some wonderful and welcoming communities, we arrived at a women's group and community that was giving some feedback to the NGO about how the recent food distributions had gone and what could be done to improve the work. Not wanting to interfere with this important process, I set up a small portrait booth around the corner and asked individuals if they would mind posing for a photograph and telling us a little about their recent experience. One by one people came forward, in various states of exhaustion and malnutrition. It was harrowing but complex because once again I saw these people who have been through so much, for so long, expressing grace and humour and kindness and all the things that are meant to be stripped from you when you're degraded of your basic needs and your freedom.
Mabior was one of the first that came up to be photographed. He couldn't remember his age and had travelled from the east to escape the conflict in the relative safety of Juba. He was one of those people who, despite circumstances, seems to just ooze presence. There was a stillness, a gravity to the way that he held himself in front of the camera, his face telling its own stories of depth, dignity, strength and yet also vulnerability, sadness. “I am proud to be South Sudanese but because of the conflict life is now very difficult. I have little food to eat and my wife has died.” He said. And then he was gone.
After a long break, #FiftyFrames is back with the final story in the Gaze Trilogy. The subject of this story has been on my mind for months, it starts with a walk down to the river and ends with a blessing... 'may we look upon each other and revel in our shared strangeness.'
Click on the link in my bio to read the full thing, and please do let me know what you think, I love hearing from you all!
As a photographer, it should come as no surprise that I'm into reflections. But sometimes - especially after a year that felt as intense as 2016 - I think it can be all too easy to live in the perpetual present; simply reacting and keeping up the momentum required to keep pushing forward. I've found that my perspective can get pretty skewed if I don't stop to take stock of where I've come from, pausing to think about my next step, and looking up to make sure I'm heading in the right direction. Writing my newsletter last week was a brilliant opportunity to reflect on what's been a staggering year for me. I don't often feel proud of my work (I think few 'creatives' do, and that's a problem), but it felt deeply encouraging to put this little list of small victories together, and I encourage you to do the same - what better excuse is there than the start of a new year? --
If you'd like to see some of my photo highlights ofrom 2016: vibrant markets in India, tales of encounter and adventure in India, safety from domestic violence in Brazil, recovery from the earthquake in Nepal, conservation farming in Malawi and much more, check out medium.com/@tomalprice or click the link in my bio 🙏. P.S. bonus points for making my own lino print? --
This is one of my favourite pictures from my time spent with the football boys in Yei, South Sudan. Skimming through the thumbnails, I almost passed this one completely over. In general, I like pictures which crop and slice part of a scene or person. For me, it acts as a healthy reminder of the trick of photography. By limiting what you can see to a certain view, to a small frame, photography puffs up and musters all its power to say 'this is what is happening here’. This is photograph in alpha male mode, and its display of strength can be overwhelming. As such, the viewer might be tricked into thinking the frame represents more than it does, which is a fraction of a moment, from one chosen point of view. But by breaking a frame, the eye is led to the edges of the scene, to something that leads you outside the picture. It disrupts the neat containedness of the sealed photo and forces the viewer to acknowledge that there is a hidden life beyond the four walls of the imaged scene. It calls upon the onlooker to engage their imagination, and hopefully leave with a more complex sense of the life outside what is represented in the single frame. But my first thought when I saw this picture was: I wasn't quick enough, I missed the shot, I framed it strangely. But then, creeping quietly behind the action: those three shadows, in almost perfect array, chasing the ghosted sphere that we knew must have been there.
I’m no sports photographer at all, and not much of a sportsman either, which in some ways, is why this image pleases me so much. The central idea of the picture - boys playing football - is only there as a shadowy jolt, making way for the foreground of a boy running out of the picture and into the new South Sudan with all his energy, vitality and life. #SouthSudan#football#shadow
Boys play football in the evening light in Yei, Central Equatoria, South Sudan. This picture was taken in 2012 during the brief period of peace the new nation was enjoying. I hung out with these boys one evening to see how sports and other activities were being used as tools of catharsis, a healthy way of spending energy and a safe environment to resolve conflicts. Through playing football, these boys were learning what it meant to live peacefully with each other.
I grew up dreaming of getting a glimpse of some of the tallest mountains in the world. Each morning I'd wake up in my childhood bedroom and look up at my poster of Everest in awe. I'd voraciously read stories about climbers tackling these strange sounding peaks: Annapurna, Makalu, Lhotse, and the most ferocious sounding of them all... Kangchenjunga. I was completely captivated by this magical land of ice, courage, and precipitous rock.
Earlier this year, I woke up early in sub-freezing temperatures and, from a moderate height of 3636m, gazed in sleepy wonder on four of the highest mountains in the world. Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, and just to the right of these, Everest itself. In an instant, a childhood dream met up with my adult comprehension of how magnificent, dangerous, and yet also vulnerable these mountains are in the climatically unstable environment I find myself in some 20 years on from those boyhood fantasies. Purest magic.
I've had a lot of fun taking pictures for @airbnb over the last few weeks to launch their new product 'Experiences'. In the process, I've photographed herbalists, Indian chefs, artists, architects, experts on the global communities in London and, most recently, a couple of adventurers who have just successfully rowed the Atlantic unsupported.
It's been wild and I've learnt more about the hidden worlds and adventures on my doorstep over this last month than the last three years living in London.
The last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind, with moving back to London from India. There's been a lot to adjust to and a lot of stress, graft and embracing of uncertainty as I begin to pick up working as a freelancer again in the UK. But as 2016 begins to wind up, I'm feeling really grateful for all the adventures we've had so far and feeling excited about what lies ahead. Come on 2017!