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DOCUMENTING “PRISON PHOTOGRAPHY ON THE ROAD” WITH PETE BROOK

December 10th, 2011

With an eye toward prison reform, writer and academic Pete Brook analyzes prison photography from behind his desk. After three years, he decided it was time to get out, on the road, and meet the people he’d written about. Especially the prisoners.

Pete is clear that he isn’t a photographer. Instead, he writes for Wired.com’s RAW File and runs his own blog where he dissects photography about the prison system in America. I knew him peripherally through the photo community and through introduction several years ago by a mutual friend. I like what he does, so when he put out an ask to help make a Kickstarter video, I offered to shoot it and Seattle Times staffer Erica Schultz edited it with Pete in an 11 hour binge.

Prison Photography has built a community over the years. There’s no money involved, so for Pete to get on the road, he had to ask for help. The Kickstarter campaign began. By using social media and crowd-sourced funding, he successfully raised more than he thought it would cost to make the grand American tour, meeting photographers in person, visiting prisons, and seeing education programs at work.

Click here or below to read more and see a scene cut from the video.

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NON-PROFITS AND NGO’S NEED STORYTELLING: WHY CHARITY WATER IS LEADING THE WAY

June 20th, 2011

During my morning ritual of sipping coffee and going over the news, RSS, and social media feeds, I saw a post at The Digital Naturalist. It’s a profile on charity: water, an organization successful at generating buzz, getting people to donate, and then going out and securing clean water for communities in developing countries. It’s a simple concept, with a simple message, and it doesn’t hurt that its founder, Scott Harrison, used to be a promoter in NYC.

Tucker Walsh interviewed Mo Scarpelli, of charity: water, about the non profit’s messaging. For the non profits and NGO’s out there, I think the take-away is that charity: water emphasizes how important communications and social networking are to its mission. For instance, they have leveraged a new communication tool to become, they say, the first non profit with more than one million twitter followers. Tweeting can be much more effective, and is much less expensive, than direct mail–or even email.

The story of charity: water – The 2009 September Campaign Trailer from charity: water.

I can’t definitively say that charity: water is leading the way, but it’s a good example. The organization has raised millions in a few short years, holds creative and well attended events, has made some excellent partnerships, and helps average people get involved through innovative fundraising models. Additionally, with the help of substantial private donations to cover operating costs, the organization can commit 100 percent of public donations toward direct services (building wells).

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Posted in activisim, advocacy, fundraising, multimedia, NGO, non profit, technique, work of others Comments Off on NON-PROFITS AND NGO’S NEED STORYTELLING: WHY CHARITY WATER IS LEADING THE WAY

AIRING ON LINK TV: SREY NETH, CROSSING THE GENDER GAP

March 15th, 2011

Several months ago I entered the Link TV ViewChange contest, looking for another means of distribution for a story I felt needed to be told. As a finalist, I found Srey Neth’s story would see the distribution I hoped for. I think it is a great example of independent distribution leveraged by social media.

Yesterday, Link TV told me they’ve compiled half-hour episodes from the ViewChange entries. Srey Neth’s story will air in the “Crossing the Gender Gap” episode.

The film will air Wednesday, March 16th at 8:30pm PT/ 11:30pm ET and Saturday, March 19th at 6:30pm PT/ 9:30pm ET on DIRECTV 375 / DISH Network 9410. Srey Neth: Victim to Survivor will be part of an episode featuring inspiring stories of women fighting poverty, disease, and oppression in the developing world.

The film is also available to watch at Hulu.com/viewchange and Link TV is planning to disseminate my film through other outlets as well such as Snag Films, WGBH’s “World” Channel (which is carried on 150 PBS stations), and other international stations.

Many thanks again to Transitions Global and Srey Neth who offered me access and their trust to tell an important story.

www.linktv.org/programs/viewchange (where the “Crossing the Gender Gap” episode will be available online, starting later today)
www.viewchange.org/videos/srey-neth-victim-to-survivor (Srey Neth video on ViewChange.org)

@ViewChange (twitter)
@LinkTV (twitter)
facebook.com/viewchange
facebook.com/linktv

And don’t forget my Facebook Page and Twitter Feed!

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Posted in activisim, advocacy, articles, award, coolness, events, human trafficking, media, multimedia, publishing, recognition, social justice, video Comments Off on AIRING ON LINK TV: SREY NETH, CROSSING THE GENDER GAP

REPORT ON CONFLICT MINERALS: ARE DELL, INTEL, MICROSOFT, APPLE, ETC. PROACTIVE?

December 14th, 2010

The Enough Project released a report today on consumer electronics companies and conflict minerals mined in eastern Africa.

The Enough Project is evaluating tech companies as they begin the process of tracing minerals to their source. Following a previous post, I had an email exchange with “sjobs@apple.com” (which may have been the man himself), where the respondent said:

“We are looking into it. It’s not clear how to trace the minerals so as to know their origin. We are working with a few world-class universities to see if we can trace them. The supply chain appears too porous to control through auditing.”

Why is this important? Jonathan Hutson, Communications Director with Enough Project wrote:
“Minerals…in our everyday consumer electronics, are used to fund militias in the Congo that rape and kill thousands of civilians…Our company rankings let consumers know which products are moving toward conflict-free status.” (below chart courtesy Enough Project)

chart_ranking_electronic_companies_on_conflict_minerals“While some companies,” Hutson wrote, “such as HP, Motorola and Intel, have made some progress towards using conflict-free minerals, we found that the industry as a whole is way behind the curve to become compliant with the Frank-Dodd financial reform act and the upcoming SEC regulations on conflict minerals.” (see Section 1502, Conflict Minerals)

Responsible sourcing has been done with the apparel, forestry, and diamond industries. Not for every company, but at least consumers can now make an informed choice. I think tracing minerals is a necessary step toward ending conflict and I, as a consumer, would pay a premium for conflict-free.

Read “Getting to Conflict Free: Assessing Corporate Action on Conflict Minerals” in PDF.

Read the summary here.

Any scientists or data crunchers want to comment on the methodology of this report and quality of the data?

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Posted in activisim, advocacy, conflict minerals, human rights, human trafficking Comments Off on REPORT ON CONFLICT MINERALS: ARE DELL, INTEL, MICROSOFT, APPLE, ETC. PROACTIVE?

ALL I CAN: NEW TRAILER FOR UPCOMING FILM

November 11th, 2010

This came through FaceBook, and was first released on the Arc’Teryx website, a company making high end technical outerwear, harnesses, backpacks, etc. that is kind of like the Mercedes Benz of the outdoor industry. They also support film projects, like “The Season,” a series my friend Fitz Cahall produced with Bryan Smith.

This is a ski film with purpose, says the website, and you can see it in the six minute trailer. Since I think I’ll actually be in Seattle this winter, it got me thinking of some skiing. Lu, even though she’s only alpine skied one day in her life, is going to give the back country a shot. (I’m excited).

Back to the film. Skiers and alpinists are seeing the effects of climate change first hand. This film purports to hook in outdoor enthusiasts and skiers alike with all the action, then deliver a message about being responsible and doing not just something, but “All I Can.” I like some of the techniques in this trailer; they use a lot of time lapse, slow motion, and aerials, plus have some well-timed cuts to the music. I have to say, after my time working on multimedia production in NYC this spring, I look at films much, much differently now. Blessing or curse, I’m not sure…

I hope they do a good job with it. Not just the ski-porn part, but the message as well. Speaking of which, I just read an article in Outside about Jeremy Jones of Jones Snowboards. Looks like somebody grew a conscience.

Anyway. I don’t do big mountains, but I’m psyched to ski the back country this winter, and I hope this film gets others psyched to do all they can for the environment.

(Looks like Arc’Teryx had all videos pulled down except what was on their cover page. Too bad you can’t embed this version. Click through to their website for the trailer.)

Picture 3

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Posted in activisim, advocacy, art, coolness, movies, multimedia, outdoor industry, technique, video, work of others Comments Off on ALL I CAN: NEW TRAILER FOR UPCOMING FILM

NY TIMES: ACID ATTACKS IN CAMBODIA

August 26th, 2010

In early 2008, I visited the Children’s Surgical Center on the outskirts of Phnom Penh at the request of one of its US-based supporters. I was working for a few NGO’s while in Cambodia and using the time to continue my personal work on human trafficking. At the Center, I found a woman who recently had acid thrown upon her. I forget the circumstances of the attack, but her grand daughter was also covered by the indiscriminate spray, and had already died. The woman was feverish with infection, her breath rapid and shallow, and the doctors fought a losing battle. Blood transfusions seeped out of her damaged skin faster than they could replenish her fluids. Her adult children watched over her, fanning her, slack-faced and in shock. A few days later the woman died.

I had heard of acid attacks before, but hadn’t thought about it in Cambodia. Although barely quantified at the time, readily available acid in Cambodia’s violence desensitized and traumatized society meant acid attack was an increasingly common method of settling disputes or seeking revenge.

Not long after I met the acid attack victim in 2008, I visited the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity to photograph the survivors who were making a new life for themselves. Although horribly scarred, I found the women engaging, fun, and full of vitality.

A couple of days ago the NY Times published this piece on acid attack in Cambodia.

Click through the jump below for images from my visit in 2008.

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TRANSPARENCY AND THE CONFLICT MINERALS IN OUR PHONES

July 31st, 2010

I’m typing on an Apple MacBook Pro while data backups are running in the background; gigabytes of images and video are flitting from Seagate to Lacie to Netgear hard drives. I have a Belkin router, a Comcast modem…I have all the accouterments of technology I need to capture content and publish in a digital world. What I don’t have is peace of mind.

I’ve spoken about and written about this before and, increasingly, so are many others. We are talking about conflict minerals, those metals essential to the electronics industry and our everyday conveniences. These metals also pay for ongoing war and sexual violence. As a consumer, I feel powerless to affect such a global issue. But, it is becoming easier to see how our role in the killing and what we can do to stop it. Like many things, it starts with transparency and accountability, through knowledge and conversation.

Jobs_EnoughProjectApple CEO Steve Jobs, as reported by Wired, recently responded to a customer about conflict minerals in Apple products. The customer wrote:

“Are you currently making any effort to source conflict-free minerals? In particular, I’m concerned that Apple is getting tantalum, tungsten, tin, and gold from Eastern Congo through its suppliers.”

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ICRC AND VII PHOTOGRAPHER CHRISTOPHER MORRIS

July 2nd, 2010

Morris_ObamaLast week I had the honor of sharing the podium with Martin de Boer and Christopher Morris during the opening of the Our World at War exhibition at the Seattle Center. Martin is the Deputy Head of the Regional Delegation for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the US, Canada, and the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Christopher is a founding member of the VII Photo Agency, contract photographer for Time, and has decades of war photography under his belt; he also contributed to the exhibition.

The event was hosted by the Seattle chapter of the Red Cross, and it was through these people Lu and I had the chance to learn more about what the Red Cross actually does. Martin spoke of the organization’s history, then he segued into the exhibition itself. The idea was to put a face on the statistics, to tell stories about individuals who live in conflict zones or who are coping with the aftermath of war.

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Movie: The Cove. Documentary Journalism and an Advocate’s Message

June 30th, 2010


I put “The Cove” on my movie list when it was briefly in Seattle, before it won Best Documentary at the Academy Awards. When it became available on Netflix, it went into the cue; last night I was able to watch it with Lu. I was more than impressed, not just by the film, but by the call to action.

Having a marine biologist for a partner means I get some interesting insight. For instance, some of the interviewees in the film hold multiple roles most viewers wouldn’t know about. How the film makers chose to classify them helped me understand the context of their quotes. We also stopped the film several times so Lu could tell me who certain people were and their role in the IWC or other organizations. I like inside information.

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I’m a Mac…and I have a Dirty Secret

June 28th, 2010

Brian Storm posted this to his Twitter feed; my partner, Luciana, had mentioned it to me. And, because I talk about this when I give presentations (even pointing to my computer and holding up my iPhone), I thought it was worth a post all on its own.

Consumers–us–we buy products but many of us don’t ask our retailers to talk to the manufacturers to ask them to track their materials all the way down the supply chain, and to do so with a high level of transparency. That means, when we buy our electronics (or tomatoes or chocolate or…whatever) we often have no idea if slave labor, human trafficking, or war have tainted the products we buy.

It is a big challenge, but I believe corporations can hold their suppliers accountable, working with them to ensure there are viable and profitable options for them to supply conflict and slave-free materials for consumption. I believe the biggest part of the challenge is for consumers, like me and like you, to begin asking for this.

I wish I could point to my Mac and say “This is certified slave and conflict free.”

But I can’t. At least, not yet.

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