I usually try to avoid photographs of grinning children. It’s not that I don’t like them- children are entertaining subjects and the pictures are often lovely- but it feels like a dangerous drift into cliche and visual shorthand, using a subject which is very established in visual language to shortcut past covering stories in more depth. I’ve broken my own rules here on two fronts- firstly, grinning kids to illustrate a deeper and darker story, and secondly by use of a heavy vignette, which I also try to avoid. However I love this shot, because it feels so dynamic and hopeful.
These two children are orphans at the Redeemer Childrens Home in Moyo. This home was originally in Adjumani, but after the LRA attacked in 2003 (see Kony’s Legacy in Adjumani) and kidnapped 16 children, the home was relocated west of the river, in Moyo District. It houses around 100 children, including those orphaned by the Sudanese and Ugandan conflicts, AIDS and other tragedies. The girl in the foreground (whose name I am ashamed to have forgotten) was orphaned by murder. For a long time she was walking strangely and nobody knew why, but a medical examination discovered the cause- a bullet wedged in her foot.
For a brilliant interview about photography, try this link. It’s Marcus Bleasdale talking about his work in Congo, and he fits a great deal of interesting information into four and a half minutes.