I’ve often said that although I take photographs for humanitarian organisations, that in itself doesn’t make me a humanitarian. For me, the true humanitarians are those individuals who work tirelessly to improve the lives of people who struggle everyday; many never receive the recognition for the work they do. I’ve had the privilege of meeting some incredible individuals as I’ve travelled for my work, many of them I now call friends. The movie and gaming industries churn out lots of fictional characters who are deemed to be super-heroes but through my assignments I have seen real life heroes who are having an amazing impact on the lives of families and communities where they work. The purpose of this post is simply to offer my gratitude and respect to the people and organisations who work to change lives for the better, without them this world would be a whole lot worse than it is. However, these people are often only able to do what they do because of donations made by you and me so I’d urge you to continue your support to whatever organisation you choose. I’ve chosen a handful of photos taken over this last year of some of the humanitarian workers I’ve had the privilege of working beside, to these people, and to the thousands of others I offer my heart-felt thanks.
Christmas is but a few days away and I have to admit that it’s one of my favourite times of year, a time of being with family and friends and a time of giving. It won’t be long before I head out to Haiti again and I’m already starting to get my head in gear for that trip, but as I do I find myself thinking about those people in Haiti and many other countries around the world who don’t have the means to have such lavish celebrations as I’m able to enjoy. Having said that, I remember my time in the Philippines at the end of 2009 where many of the community members had their simple Christmas decorations proudly on display and were looking forward to the festivities. I remember listening to the brass band of General Tinio playing carols which seemed quite surreal to me as it was incredibly hot and I’ve only ever experienced Christmas here in the UK where it’s cold. What I came to realise after that trip was that Christmas can still be enjoyed and celebrated even though a person may live in poverty. I hope that all who choose to celebrate this festival over the coming days will have their spirit lifted.
Photography by Wayne Rowe / Visioning Images