PROJECT WEBSITE: LOVEINTRANSLATION.NET

When I was 19 I fell for a Zanzibari boy while on a teaching placement there. My relationship to the island was hugely influenced, if not defined by, my feelings for Saidi – both familiar and beguiling.

Then, as a young photographer I wanted to counterbalance the tired media portrayal of a hopeless Africa, but felt inhibited to show the images I was making because of my problematic white-girl-with-a-camera status. I recognised that all my interactions, both socially and photographically, were influenced by my foreign-ness; perhaps my whiteness, my relative wealth or my gender. While this unearned status helped me to meet the people I photographed, I was concerned that it also threatened the authenticity of my stories. This feeling, which reflects the contentious links between the two lands’ recent histories, is common among Britons in Africa, however it’s rarely expressed. I’m exploring the contemporary manifestations of this complex inheritance from an intimate perspective.

I’ve captured relationships between Britons and Africans living in Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya over two years (and will go to Nigeria this autumn). I’m interested in whether an intimate connection to a local person in a foreign land offers a short cut on the road to assimilation.

At the heart of the bond I feel with these ‘far away places’ is a thrill in becoming fractionally less foreign day by day. Every conversation, every glance brings me a little closer to knowing. But I will never know, and that’s the magic. Every moment is new and every moment is something gained; a muse, a catalyst, a question to never quite answer.

Those who kindly welcomed me to film and photograph their lives were; Shaz & Juma, Alex & Kat, Simon & Reen, Sarah & Stix (in Uganda), Afera & Kate, Jess & Addisu, Billy & Rahil (in Ethiopia), Kala & Mateo, Wahida & Paul (in Tanzania), James & Tim (in Kenya).

* I’ll be presenting Love in Translation on Feb 14th 2017 at The Printspace in London, with Photo Forum. All welcome*

 

 

 

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Love in Translation

School wall, Jinja, Uganda.
Swimming lessions, Jinja, Uganda.
Kojo's room. Kampala, Uganda.
Wahida is feeling stronger now. Arusha, Tanzania
Sunday roast. Arusha, Tanzania.
Trying to stay awake. Arusha Tanzania.
Dusk messages, Mbala, Uganda.
Getting used to living behind gates. Near Jinja, Uganda.
Ora's explorations. Arusha, Tanzania.
Kala's collections. Arusha, Tanzania.
Jess & Addisu's first roadtrip. Lake Langano, Ethiopia.
Waking little sister. Arusha, Tanzania.
A treat for the kids. Arusha, Tanzania.
Daddy comes to visit Jamia, Arusha, Tanzania.
Baby Tyler's first day home. Mbale, Uganda
The road to Addis, Ethiopia.