I gave a talk last week to students interested in documentary practice at Sheffield Hallam University, which was simultaneously an honour and a terrifying exercise in self-examination. At the end of the time slot I was asked by Andrew Robinson to explain why I had chosen to involve myself in documentary practice. It’s a question I have asked myself before, and my answer is that I want to see everything, and that the schizophrenic lifestyle of the documentary photographer is one which allows you to dabble in the lives of others without ever having to stay.
So it was with that thought in my mind that I stood today in the 43º heat in a dusty field in Adjumani waiting for Norbert Mao to arrive. He is running for the presidency of Uganda and had graciously allowed me to join his campaign to document its tour through the last week of the election. My journey had actually started on Sunday, flying from England, sleeping in Jinja, then up to Gulu, a night there then a bus here this morning.
When I arrived in Adjumani today I was not sure where to start. The campaign was out in the sub-counties and I was exhausted, so I sat with a friend, Heinz, who I had met on my last visit to this wonderful but troubled little district. He is an Austrian with a bleak outlook, but I enjoyed his company and when he headed off back to work at his amazing school I spotted a bus with Mao’s face on the side. I went over, chatted to the driver and then watched him drive off. The campaign would be in town at 4, he said. I wandered around the town, seeing the sights and remembering things I had photographed.
Right now I’m utterly exhausted and trying to file some images elsewhere, but please check back tomorrow for a better update.