UPDATE: A massive thank you to every backer who’s helped Legacy of War reach it’s Kick-starter funding goal. I’m overwhelmed by your support for a project that means so much to me.
But you can still support the project (and of course pledge for unique prints!).
Together we can make the project and even wider document of war's legacy.
So lets not stop now the target has been reached! Please continue to back the project and spread the word.
It's simple, the more funds raised, the more stories told, and greater the impact of the project; and there are so many stories to be told. Thank you!
Four years ago when I began the photographic project Legacy of War I had no idea of the breadth, reach and impact the project would have.
Legacy of War is a photographic project exploring the long-term effects of conflict globally. Most specifically, Legacy of War documents the lasting impact of war on individuals and communities told through the stories of those living in its aftermath.
The Story So Far
In 2015, three hundred and thirty people came together to support the first part of Legacy of War, a projects that’s has a truly global reach. The photographs and stories documented have had an impact I could only have dreamt of:
Collaborations with artists like Massive Attack and PJ Harvey to share the stories with a wider audience.
Speeches and events at the UN in Geneva and at the Houses of Parliament to advocate for those impacted by war.
Educational projects with schools
It’s led to the founding of a charity and most meaningfully the stories in Legacy of War have inspired people to raise over £500,000 in direct support of those who’s stories the project shared.
Legacy of War has become my life and what was supposed to be a two year project, is now in its fifth year, and finally I know it is time to end this chapter of my work. I have given my all to Legacy of War and my health, both mental and physical, has taken a battering from this work. So I've decided to bring the project to an end over the next twelve months.
My plans then are to work on more collaborations and opportunities to share the stories, to produce a book and most importantly for me, look at working with other photographers to carry on Legacy of War themes (with an emphasis on photographers from within the communities who’s stories we document) and of course to work on growing the Legacy of War Foundation and its charitable work.
Most of the Legacy of War project has been self – funded. One of the main reasons for this was to be free from editorial control and tell stories in a way that I felt they needed to be told, which often requires time and the opportunity to revisit. It’s important to remember stories don't end when we as photographers and journalists leave – life goes on. So I believe we must keep returning to fully tell stories.
In 2015 two of the stories in the original Kickstarter were of Kholoud and Khawla:
In Lebanon I met Khawla. She is 12 years old and a refugee from Idlib in Syria. After three years of living in the midst of a brutal war, she fled with her family, however the trauma of her experience overwhelmed her. Last year, she took rat poison in a suicide attempt.
Khawla represents those who have recently experienced war, who despite having escaped the conflict, can’t escape its impact. For her, war will always be part of her life. - 2014
Now Khawala is in school with ambitions to be a doctor and last week celebrated her sixteenth birthday.
Likewise we’ve been able to witness Kholoud’s journey from a tent in Beqaa, to a new life and her regained independence in Holland.
Maybe this is the biggest thing I have learned and developed since starting Legacy of War. That my client is not a magazine or NGO; nor even the supporters on a crowd funding campaign – rather my client is the person in the photograph. And it's been an honour to witness their journeys.
Legacy of War started as my project about those affected by war; it closes as a project driven and directed by them with me simply as the storyteller.
This month Kholoud is coming to Geneva to open an exhibition of this work; there could be no more fitting tribute or endorsement to how this project has evolved than for the subject of the first story to have become its spokesperson.
Why Is Legacy Of War Important?
Even more so than when the project started the need to highlight war’s long term impact and true cost to civilians is has never been more relevant. From schoolrooms to halls of parliament I strive through these stories to continue as advocate for those who’s lives are devastated by war.
Digitise and create an online resource of the work
A book and touring exhibition,
Education in schools
So I am asking for your support once more to finalise the project and in doing so tell some of the most important Legacy of War stories. There are trips planned for DR Congo, Colombia, Iraq, Japan and Laos amongst others.
What Makes This Kickstarter Campaign Different To Part One Of Legacy Of War?
This is final phase of the project will be documenting completely new stories. All the rewards offered will reflect that and will be new, unseen work that is not available elsewhere.
The funding will support a free newspaper to be used for school educational projects.
It will support the completion and design of a book on the work and an online resource of the stories and themes.
I have no doubt that with your support this final year will be the most productive yet and together we will share stories that will change more lives and keep reminder of others of what really means and the terrible legacy it leaves.
About Me And Photography
There is no truth in photography, just honesty. No single image can tell a full story or give you complete insight into a person’s character. We as photographers simply attempt to catch a fleeting moment, a fraction of light that gives momentary insight into another life.
This project is intensely personal to me. I live with my own legacy of war having been injured whilst working in Afghanistan. The price I paid for doing my work was huge, but the gift I received in return, it’s equal – I understand these stories in a way no other photographer could.
A project as complex and nuanced as this means I could never tell the whole story. Every person has their own opinion on how we should represent those who carry the scars of war. There is no ‘right’ way to tell a story, no single narrative in portraying the experience of another. Reality is not black and white.
I can only go from my own experience; some days I feel unstoppable and that I have overcome the barriers that injury have placed in front of me. Some days I feel weak, I sit and cry thinking I’m not strong enough. Who am I? I am stubborn, I am strong, I am unbreakable, I am difficult, I am vulnerable, I am weak, I’m scared, I’m angry, I’m grateful, I’m normally happy but at times, I’m not. That's is who we are - living with disability or injury, either physical or mental, means we are neither hero nor victim; we should not be pitied nor put on a pedestal. We are you. We are like every other human; complex, contradictory and wonderfully unique and all we ask is to be seen that way.
These photographs and stories give you a glimpse into the lives of others. I would hope they do so with an honesty and insight you don't always get to see. The good, the bad, the laughter, the tears; life as it is.....
Risks and challenges
As with any long term project there are risks. However i have learned a great deal from previous experience and am sure this project will run more smoothly.
For example previously i struggled to send out rewards as soon as I would have hoped, because i was constantly travelling due to the project! So this time I have a team to help.
- (30 days)