Charity Portraits Gallery
Fine Art Portraits
A photographer records, never judges but just captures. Many of the images that journalistic stories depict are of war, famine, and extremes of life. Africa is not all as the media would have us believe. Also with the amount of continuous aid put into the countries, the west is becoming resilient and almost immune to the pleas for help over the last 25 years.
When I got involved with Hope and Kindness, I wanted to capture the good and positive impact the charity had had on the people and the area of Kosele in Western Kenya. With a small amount of money the charity was established and began a school and orphanage. The principal aim was to educate a community to build their own future rather than relying on handouts. The local people responded well to this, as it restored a sense of pride to their lives.
The images contained in the gallery are about the success and roles created in the area when previously there was nothing. Hope was given to these people and with continued support and input from both the trustees and sponsors, we hope to eventually withdraw and leave them self sufficient for their future. I hope you enjoy the every day lives of these amazingly, bright, loving and happy people.
Foreward by Terry and Judy Mott - Trustees
Africa is a dangerous place. But not for all the obvious reasons. Snakes, crazy drivers, diseases, natural disasters – even warlords and unpredictable tyrants are not what makes Africa dangerous. Africa is a dangerous place because it catches your heart and once you're caught it won't let you go. Tony's heart, like mine has been captured by Africa.
I first met Tony in 2010 as he and a group of work colleagues were planning for a trip to Kenya, to visit the children's home and primary school that my wife Judi and I had first set up in 2002. Our work in Kosele, a small rural location near Lake Victoria in the west of Kenya, started life as a little outpost of hope which gave a home and education to a small number of orphaned children. We took our own children to Kenya with us and lived in Kosele for a year from 2002 to 2003. During this time our original work within a small compound grew slowly and spread out into the neighbourhood. Living so close to the desperate needs of a community racked by poverty and HIV changes you forever. It gets under your skin and makes you uncomfortable with the casual materialism and throwaway culture of the 'first world' that we came from. The combination of compassion and anger that welled up inside us as we witnessed the consequences of living life on the edge of subsistence, led to the establishment of Hope and Kindness as a UK registered charity and the confirmation of a lifetime commitment to doing our best to live out Jesus' command to love God and love our neighbours – in our case in Kenya.
The face of Africa that is most often presented to the world shows Africans as victims of famine, drought, war, disease, corruption and bad politics. Whilst these facets of life in Africa are undoubtedly based in fact they do not tell anything like the full story. They tend to reinforce Western stereotypes of Africa as a continent full of beggars and self induced poverty. Pictures of children too hungry to brush the flies from their skeletal bodies and emaciated faces periodically swell the coffers of the many and varied aid agencies that operate on the African continent. They have been good at pricking Western consciences in the past but, as a world economic recession gathers pace, a combination of 'compassion fatigue' and the fear of 'going without' means the aid industry is having to work harder to sustain its efforts at relieving poverty and suffering in Africa. The face of Africa must change.
The collection of pictures in this book are one man's contribution to promoting a more positive and hopeful representation of Africa to the world. During the planning for his first trip to Kosele Tony and I talked about his idea of creating 'dignified portraits' of people who had, for one reason or another, come into the orbit of Hope and Kindness in Kosele. He planned to put a collection of photographs together which showed the strength and resilience that is characteristic of so many of the people of Africa – far removed from the undignified caricature that remains so current in most people's imagination.
The care and attention to detail that Tony brings to his work borders on being obsessive. The pictures that result from it are strong, thought provoking and profoundly moving. Six months after his first visit Tony returned to Kosele to give copies of the pictures to many of the subjects. I know that they were extremely proud of them. Tony's commitment to the 'dignified' portrayal of Africa has grown since his first visit to Kosele. Knowing the draw of Kenya as I do that was inevitable. The work of Hope and Kindness has grown considerably since 2002 because you can't stand still once you get involved.
I hope that you enjoy this collection of pictures. I hope that they make you think about the people and their stories. I hope, more than anything, that they will help you view our brothers and sisters in Africa in a new light and that you will be able to believe in Africa as a land of, so far, untapped human potential..Hope and Kindness - please DONATE HERE