Leprosy Exhibition in London

Documentary, Leprosy, Photojournalism

Very excited to announce that I’m going to have an exhibition of the leprosy project at the Art Gallery in St Paul’s School in London on 30th September. If you’re able, I’d love you to come and see how six years work looks on the wall of a gallery. Some of the stuff you will have seen on the blog and my website (www.tom-bradley.com) and some has been newly shot this year.

Do RSVP (info@tom-bradley.com) if you’d like to make it. Many thanks

Here is the Press Release…

Tom Bradley Leprosy SPS Exhibition Press Release-page-001

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Gallery on the Guardian website

Asia, Leprosy, Nepal

Very pleased that the Guardian published a gallery of my photos on the Global Development section of their website this morning, to mark World Leprosy Day.

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The photos are a series I took while staying in Khokana leprosy colony just outside Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. You can view the gallery here:

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/gallery/2015/jan/25/life-laughter-loss-nepal-leprosy-colony-in-pictures

Feel free to share it on facebook, twitter etc. 🙂

Okegbala portraits

Africa, Documentary, Leprosy, Nigeria

Okegbala, in Nigeria, is a settlement made up of three large hamlets and a leprosy hospital. The residents are there because they, or their parents or grandparents are affected by leprosy – originally moving to be near the leprosy hospital. Here are portraits of three of the residents, all affected by leprosy, the last of whom is blind.

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A Culture of Giving

Burma, Documentary, Leprosy, Myanmar, portrait, travel

While I was on assignment photographing leprosy in Myanmar last year I visited the aforementioned Ma Yan Chaung Leprosy Resettlement Village near Yangon. Frustratingly, due to Myanmar still being a very carefully controlled state, I was only allowed to visit for a few hours, when I would have liked to have stayed there for a week or more.

The area was made up of a leprosy hospital, a church with houses for selected vulnerable former/current leprosy patients, a village made up predominantly of people affected by leprosy and their families, and two dormitories.

The dormitories had about 30 beds each, all of which were occupied, and in which lived individuals affected by leprosy. It wasn’t a hospital, but a community. They all had duties, some of them even had jobs. There was a strict routine each day, getting up early, eating together at specific times and going to bed early. There was little privacy as each dormitory was just one long room with beds facing each other. Some people had been there for many years, others quite recently.

On the face of it, it appeared to be a charitable situation; though there are several social enterprises in place to keep the dormitories going, it still relies on donations of various forms. I know this to be a very simplistic view, and though I wasn’t allowed much time to observe the complexities of this relationship I wanted to turn this view on it’s head somehow.

So I asked them each to think of when they last gave something to someone else – an intrinsic part of the Burmese Buddhist culture. Then I took just one or two shots of them on their bed. I didn’t direct them at all, I just wanted to show them, with their worldly possessions around them, and their quote that makes them the donor, and not the beneficiary. I’m going to try and expand this concept in my long-term project Leprosy Eliminated?.

Ma Yan Chaung Resettlement Village - Dormitories - Daw Lone Tin

“10 days ago I gave rice to a teacher in a remote village.” Daw Lone Tin

Ma Yan Chaung Resettlement Village - Dormitories - Daw Mya Sein

“Last week I donated some food to a monk living in the forest.” Daw Mya Sein

Ma Yan Chaung Resettlement Village - Dormitories - Daw Sun Tint

“Yesterday, on 2nd December I gave some noodles to a monk.” Daw Sun Tint

Ma Yan Chaung Resettlement Village - Dormitories - Daw Than Khin

“2 months ago I gave a longyi to one of the people affected by leprosy.” Daw Than Khin

Ma Yan Chaung Resettlement Village - Dormitories - Daw Tin Shwe

“On the 15th November I gave a longyi and some noodles and other food to a poor patient.” Daw Tin Shwe

Ma Yan Chaung Resettlement Village - Dormitories - U Thein Han

“10 days ago I was given an extra blanket which I felt I didn’t need, so I gave it to someone who needed it more.” U Thein Han

Ma Yan Chaung Resettlement Village - Dormitories - Ko Mya Oo

“15 days ago I gave some longyis to some local people.” U Ko Mya Oo

Ma Yan Chaung Resettlement Village - Dormitories - U Mg Mg Khin

“I donated a thermoplast to a monk on 19th November” U Mg Mg Khin

Ma Yan Chaung Resettlement Village - Dormitories - U Tao

“Last Saturday I donated packs of noodles to a monk.” U Tao

Ma Yan Chaung Resettlement Village - Dormitories - U Tin Khaing

“10 days ago I gave one shirt and one longyi to a person in the village here.” U Tin Khaing

A Puppy in Myanmar

Asia, Documentary, General comment, Leprosy, Myanmar, portrait

Last year a doctor specialising in leprosy told me that one aspect of the disease that people don’t necessarily think about is not the pain you can’t feel (as a result of paralysed nerves – which can lead to the damage, such as this woman has on her hands), but the pleasing touches you can no longer feel.

When this woman picked up this puppy it made think of what that doctor told me, and I wondered if she could feel the softness of the puppies hair, or it’s paws scratching her hands.

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Woman with puppy, Ma Yan Chaung Leprosy Resettlement Village. Myanmar 2013

“It’s most important… to see that those in Khokana can enjoy life too.”

Asia, Documentary, Leprosy

“It’s most important… people need to see that those in Khokana can enjoy life too.”

I am told this by a woman in her late 50s called Laxmi. She is one of the chiefs in Khokana leprosy colony, a state-run (of sorts) collection of houses and rooms just outside Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.

I’ve been editing A LOT of photographs to do with my leprosy project recently. As well as staring at a computer screen all day, some of the images can get to you. Among my recent edits have been personal photos I took from a stay at Khokana leprosy colony. I have plenty of stories to tell from this place, but the words of Laxmi (at the top) rung with me recently, so for today’s post I thought I’d dig out a couple of the more joyous moments I experienced.

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An elderly, disabled resident of the colony who can’t walk is carried by his brother and Bikash (whose parents are both affected by leprosy and who was my translator and a good friend) in a tarpaulin out onto the grass where he sits quite happily for much of the day. Khokana, Nepal 2013

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Hari Maya, 73 almost wets herself laughing at how she’s dressed up a neighbours daughter in a bonnet and glasses. Khokana, Nepal 2013

The New Chiefs of Kilangulangu

Africa, Documentary, Leprosy, travel

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In March I was working in Kasai-Occidentale province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is one of the most challenging places to work in terms of travel, and out of the 3 weeks I had in Kasai I spent only about 10 of those days shooting. The rest was travel by car, bike and foot.

On this particular day, near the Angolan border, we had to walk for about an hour and half from where the car could go no further to find a man affected by leprosy (well what else would I be photographing?). The long walk there and back under the midday sun was tiring, and we treaded silently, slowly through several small villages. Many of the children froze when they saw me. Foreigners don’t come out to these villages, and most of the children had never seen “Le Blanc“.

One of the villages we came across – I swear it was no more than about 6 houses – had a small gathering underneath a tree. The two men in the centre of the photo (can you tell they’re wearing face and body paint?) shouted over to me to take a picture. The two men stood still and for a second everything fell into place. Afterwards they told me they’d just been made chief of the village. One or both of them, I don’t know. It was a 30 second diversion from a walk where all I could think about was getting back to shade and my crate of water. I realised later it was a pretty unusual thing to witness. I blame the heat…

 

Strife Blog

Africa, Asia, Documentary, General comment, Leprosy

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My long-term project Leprosy Eliminated? and other stories was recently featured on Strife Blog. Alister Wedderburn gives an interesting insight into the project, citing Emmanuel Levinas’ views on the foundation of the ethical relation. Check it out here:

The face of ‘the Other’: A visual reflection on moral obligation in the 21st century.

Morning shave

Asia, Documentary, Leprosy, travel

So I’ve been travelling for a little over two months now. I’ve photographed in several parts of Nepal, and I’m now in Nilphamari, Bangladesh. I have a lot to show you, but I’ve been too busy taking photographs rather than editing them.

However I quite liked this rather over-exposed image I shot this morning of some patients having a shave in the corridor of the leprosy hospital where I’m currently at. Looks rather surreal.

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Meanwhile, if you’d like to see some more of the places I’ve been, then check out a selection of my best instagram snaps.

Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Indonesia

Leprosy, travel

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Khokhana leprosy colony. Kathmandu Valley, Nepal 2009

Well today I’m heading off for several months to the above countries. I land in Kathmandu sometime in the afternoon tomorrow and head straight to Anandaban hospital which will be my base for the rest of September. Naturally the focus of my work will be leprosy, this time working with a mixture of The Leprosy Mission (TLM) International, TLM England and Wales, TLM New Zealand, TLM Switzerland, TLM Netherlands, Nepal Leprosy Trust and of course American Leprosy Missions.

This will be my third trip to Nepal (which is where this whole leprosy project kicked off over four years ago), but my first time in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Indonesia.

The overall trip has a bit of flexibility to it, which will hopefully allow me enough time to pursue some personal photographic work, as well as pick up any commissions, so if you have any contacts in, story ideas or thoughts about visiting any of these countries, do email me: info@tom-bradley.com. It will be noted and appreciated!

I’ll be trying to update this blog on the go, but I’ll also be updating my instagram feed daily(ish), so do follow me on that @tombradleyphoto.

I’ll also try and update the main leprosy website in time. You can sign up for occasional updates from that here.

Leprosy - A Portrait of the Terai (60)

Women get water from a recently installed pump in the village of Dathora. Leprosy endemicity is high in the Terai, the flatlands where Dathora is located. Dathora, Nepal 2009