Thoughts Before Traveling to Asia: How Can I Tell a Different Story?

Posted by | · · · · · · · | Photography · Video & Film · Writing

Children in Bhairab, Bangladesh, run toward me when they see me and my camera. February 2009. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl

Later today I’ll head to Bangladesh and Nepal, where I’ll be reporting on maternal and infant nutrition programs with my friend Molly, my frequent storytelling partner at Bread for the World. I’m excited and grateful. I also feel pressure — mostly from myself — to return with breathtakingly honest, engaging and beautiful documentary pictures and video.

Since my last big reporting trip about six months ago, I’ve started this blog, helped start a humanitarian photography group and attended a narrative storytelling conference. All three experiences have made me think hard about how I can tell a different kind of NGO story. What questions should I ask that I perhaps haven’t asked before? Is there a portrait series somewhere in this issue, something like I shot in Haiti a couple years ago? For a different perspective, should I lend my iPhone to the people I’m filming and see if they’re willing to photograph their own lives for a few hours? Should Molly and I do the same with our audio equipment? Should I use Instagram for photo updates?

I’ve got a whole list of ideas and questions like this. We’ll see what’s possible and what isn’t.

And just a last side note: Collaborating with Molly makes my stories much better than they would be on my own. Every storyteller needs a Molly in their life.


No Comments

Leave a comment