Change of Ideas for Photojournalism Idea 2: ShelterBox

Deutsch: Logo der Internationalen Hilfsorganis...
ShelterBox (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been looking at the work of other photojournalists and have branched out with my ideas for my second photojournalism idea. I spoke about how I was thinking of photographing shop owners in Falmouth/ the homeless man I wrote about last year. I looked at photographing inanimate objects and how people perceive home and their surroundings. But I’ve thought otherwise after getting inspired by photojournalist David White on duckrabbit.

White photographed the process by which the organic food producer, Riverford Organics (based in Devon) got their produce from the field and into their notorious boxes for the delight of the buyers. He answered the question some might wonder about Riverford Organics: How do you go from having one field and a wheelbarrow to being the largest organic veg box producer in the land?

The images, as you can see when clicking the above link to White’s photos, will show how Riverford do offer such an unbeatable service to customers wanting fresh fruit, veg and meat straight to their doors in boxes. This talk of boxes led me on to the idea of photographing the volunteer’s at ShelterBox— a UK (more specifically Cornish) based NGO that sends out aid to countries who have been affected by disasters.

Founded in 1999 by CEO Tom Henderson OBE, ShelterBox is a charity based in Helston, Cornwall. Its service is provided to any country in need of it and is given by hundreds of volunteers in the country who all have variant backgrounds and specialities (teachers, photographers, accountants etc). These SRT volunteers all would have inspiring tales to tell I’m sure and the whole idea of ShelterBox being an aid group who focus on the contents of their actual ShelterBoxes contain all the vital equipment to help those affected by the disaster would make the story a colourful story to capture.

I feel that photographing the background and behind the scenes of what it takes to prepare for a response to a disaster would shine a light on the great work that ShelterBox is recognised for. I think focusing photographically on the ShelterBoxes, the core of the charity, would also be of great interest to the public. These boxes include a disaster relief tent for up to 10 people as well as providing blankets, water storage and purification equipiment, cooking utensils and even colouring books and crayons for the young disaster survivors. Getting the audience to also see what it means to be a volunteer may also get more people interested in getting involved with ShelterBox which I would really love to help with.

Photography for me cannot always focus on making the target audience upset or moved, I want them to see (and hopefully urge them become) the change that starts the UK rather than photograph the disaster itself. The country affected is not just the catalyst of the aid but also the end product too..this can also be said about the charity which goes out and helps the best it can. NGOs like ShelterBox can be seen as the lifeblood to rehabilitate a weakened country. This pumping of whatever form of help that is at hand is always a great offering to a country in need but I feel strongly about what ShelterBox does because they go there and lend their hands and providing what many need immediately: shelter and warmth.

Let me know what you think about this idea. Think the ShelterBox volunteers would be up for me photographing them? Or do you think they’d rather the focus be on those who they strive to help?

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