I came across this site (Edge of Humanity) a while back when starting the research for this project but somehow forgot to reference it. It has several themed sections, but I have been scrolling through the documentary photography section on an off for a while. What I like about this blog is the frequency of new work posted (its a wordpress based blog site) and the articles are not too lengthy. I’m an inspired by the work displayed – whether the photographers are professional, semi-professional or amateurs.

I went back to view it again today and clicked on a link which took me to the Varial Studio website and a write up about a book  that Cedric Houin (Varial) created – Doña Luz – Solar Mama. The pictures taken  for this project are so full of emotion and meaning. Of course, they are enhanced by the synopsis of the project but in my opinion, they stand on their own and you would still get the sense without it. Here’s the synopsis:

“ For three months, I travelled to eight different communities in Guatemala, Belize, Salvador, Ecuador, and Mexico, collecting images and stories of fifteen illiterate and impoverished indigenous mothers and grandmothers. These women, who had never before travelled beyond their remote communities, left their husbands, children, their entire existence, to embark on a incredible journey to bring light to their communities … and a new life. I created this book as an intimate diary to link you with unique examples of empowerment, dignity and courage. I have gathered hundreds of moments frozen in time, transcriptions and personal entries to bring the reader and the viewer into this remote world—one we never imagined still existed. Doña Luz: Solar Mama Stories chronicles the story not only of forgotten people, survivors of genocide, victims of ongoing prejudice, oil exploitation, land confiscation, and marginalized communities, but also of ambassadors of faith and courage. From taking a plane for the first time, to hearing new languages, learning English, living in India for six months, training as solar engineers, returning to electrify their entire villages, becoming role models and local heroes, starting businesses inspired by their journeys, and finding respect at home and within their communities, led mostly by men, these women have overcome unimaginable challenges to electrify their communities. My approach uses documentary photography and faithful transcription of true stories from these remote and forgotten communities, as well as my personal observations and seeks to understand, question and reveal unknown realities of the world we live in.”

Take in the way lighting has been used to as a central component in the composition… and yes I am well aware that lighting normally does take centre stage, but there is just something about the way they are used in this body of work that I would like to take on board in my work (even if I don’t use it in the current project). The 4 pictures I have chosen demonstrate the use use of light in different ways to bring atmosphere to the composition. Natural v artificial light, but in each case, they bring what they need to the table.

© Cedric Houin (Varial)

Assignment criteria: 1 & 2

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