New Photographic adventures in New York City

So after a whole year of pretty much non – stop travel/ work, I decided to settle and make myself a bit of a base for a while. Instead of heading back to my home town of Sydney though, I’ve come to New York. While I’d visited the States before, I hadn’t been to the Big Apple and what a treat it has been. So many galleries, shows, performances and experiences to feast on. When I arrived here someone I met told me that the city is like a mirror and reflects back what you put in. So far I’ve only met good, friendly people and so it must be a reflection of my mood over here. I’ve met so many people too who are happy to have a chat and share their story and that’s always a joy for me. Here are some photos from some of the great public events I’ve been to – from Halloween in October through to Santacon in December with an event in the middle there which saw vintage subways and swing dancing galore.

Posted in Events, Visual Stories Tagged , , , , , |

From education in East Timor to fresh water and slums in Kenya

Since my last post it’s been several months of go, go, go. I ended up going to East Timor for AFAP where I got a really great understanding of the education setting in this small island nation. It was fascinating to speak to people about their lives, some of the challenges they faced as a colonised and then occupied state and how these have  manifested themselves today. But it certainly wasn’t all about hardship as many people spoke too of the good initiatives being carried out to help the country to develop and their many hopes for the future. I got some wonderful photos, video and interviews and was delighted to have my images from Timor as well as a selection from Vietnam on display at an exhibition down at the Rocks in Sydney. At that same event I got the chance to talk to the audience about my personal experiences visiting those two countries and explain some of the development challenges and successes in each of them. People really seemed to love the personal anecdotes and the informal means of explaining development and so this is certainly something I would like to do more of in the future.

After touching base for just a very short time back in Australia, I packed up house and prepared to move for good to New York. First though I had some free time relaxing with friends in Europe (what a wonderful time!) followed by a job working for a fairly new organisation called ‘Smart Life’ who bring clean drinking water, wellness and hygiene products to the urban poor in Kenya. For them I did some photos of their work but the main focus was on a video aimed to highlight the work that they are doing. We are in the final days of editing now and so stay tuned for that shortly.

While in Africa I also did some work – photos – for a really inspirational young guy called Alistair Yacoub who runs slum ‘tours’ in Kibera (Kenya’s largest urban slum) where he lives. With the money he raises from the ‘tours’, he supports a range of programs both within the slum itself (from youth projects to supporting women with HIV and orphans of HIV) to livelihood programs in rural areas. Given he has done so much already in the 20 odd years of his life, it will be fascinating to see what other inspirational work he gets involved with in the future.

Now as I said though I have now moved to New York which in itself will present a whole host of new and interesting experiences and opportunities. Watch this space as the year goes on to see how they evolve! Until then…

Posted in Africa, Asia, Documentary, Exhibitions, International development, Not for profit, Pacific, Uncategorized, Visual Stories Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Travel and a wealth of visual stories

What an amazing couple of months it’s been. After my time in Vietnam I was back just a short while before I then left again for India, followed by Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Halima

India: Halima, 26, was the first person to start the womens’ group in this area. While initially she went door to door encouraging women to join the groups, now she helps to train other women to do the same and to run their own groups.

In India I was doing some work for ActionAid with a very inspiring group of women from a Muslim community in West Bengal. Previously not allowed to leave their homes without a husband or male family member, With ActionAid’s support, now 1,500 of them are bucking tradition and religious norms to form powerful womens’ groups. Here they gather to discuss and go after some of the Government entitlements that can benefit their families and communities. If the bureaucracy is not being fair and giving them their rights, they front up as a group and demand action. If was a wonderful privilege to meet the women and see such positive change taking place as they get their entitlements from the Government and are granted greater decision making powers, respect and dignity within their own communities.

Atika

Bangladesh: Atika, 27, is the first Dalit woman to get a position working for local Government. Here she is shown flanked by other women from her village – all of whom are really proud of what she has achieved both for herself and for them as a community.

After India I had a break from work and did some travel around Sri Lanka – somewhere I have never been before. It’s a beautiful country and while I’d never normally classify myself as a landscape photographer, you couldn’t go wrong with some of the stunning scenery there…

From Sri Lanka it was on to Bangladesh, another place I had never been. Unlike India there are much fewer tourists (I actually didn’t see any at all in my 3 weeks there!) and English is not very widely spoken. As a solo white woman travelling around I was something of a curiosity, often finding myself surrounded by a group of people who just wanted to look at me or find out where I was from. Having said this, I had a very good experience with everyone I met – people who are warm, friendly and very hospitable. It’s also a beautiful country – lush and green – and I hope to be able to return there again one day.

While I was there, when I wasn’t travelling, I was gathering more stories and photos for ActionAid. Again, the focus was on women’s rights and so I was inspired all over again by the resilience of women in trying situations and the great work that ActionAid is doing to help them to realise their rights. I met with women who have been attacked with acid and who are now part of a survivors network who gain support and improved self confidence from the group as well as the ability to access benefits to sustain them in the future. I also met with a couple of Dalit women (Dalit’s are frequently referred to as ‘untouchable’ and are the ‘lowest’ caste in society). Dalit’s face huge discrimination but these two women were evidence of how discriminatory attitudes can be broken down and how Dalit’s like anyone else, have the right to get ahead in life.

I was particularly moved by the story of Atika Begum, who at only 27, is the first woman Dalit to get into local Government. Her story was one of huge challenges and she had to get three times the number of votes than her male counterparts to take office but she got there. Despite the fact she is only earning $18 per month, she feels it is worth it to bring good to her community and change attitudes.

Bangladesh: This young girl lost her mother in the collapse of Rana Plaza. This is the image which won a recent Head On award in the Captured exhibition.

On a much sadder note, while I was in Banglades, a building (Rana Plaza) housing 5 garment factories collapsed killing over 1000 people, mostly women. The whole country was in shock and it was heartbreaking to see so many people who had lost their wives, daughters, sisters… I was able to witness the tragedy first hand when, as part of ActionAid’s response to the crisis, I visited the site and met with the survivors and their families afterwards.I also had the chance to visit a different garment factory and talk with some of the workers in the slums where they live. We also visited the Rights Cafe supported by ActionAid which is training these women in their labour rights so that tragedies like this are less likely in the future.

I won a Head On award for one of my photos from Bangladesh, will be exhibiting some of the images in an exhibition in Bangladesh and was selected to show an audio visual slideshow of the disaster at the Nikon Walkley Slidenight tonight if you would like to come along! Starts at 6pm at the State LIbrary of NSW, in the Metacalfe Auditorium.

And now I am back. But only for a couple of weeks. In no time at all I will be taking off for East Timor to shoot some more video and stills for AFAP. Stay tuned for an update on that…

Posted in Documentary, Exhibitions, International development, Not for profit Tagged , , , , , , , , |

In Vietnam shooting for AFAP

It has been a whirlwind fortnight here in Vietnam, where I have come to document the work being done by AFAP Action on Poverty (www.afap.org). Through photos, videos and one on one interviews, I have been trying to show the work that is being done to improve people’s livelihoods in some of the poorer and more remote parts of the country. I’ve talked to people who have been misplaced by a hydroelectric dam and been supported to find new ways of making a living, high in the mountains. I’ve talked to women who through AFAP’s support have been able to turn their pig manure into gas to light their stoves. Over and over again I am hearing how climate change is causing crops to fail and children go hungry. Again, AFAP is trying to help them adapt and ultimately improve their situation.

In addition to this, there is a second project called ‘Children just like me’ which aims to show how children in Vietnam as in other parts of the world are all similar in so many ways, regardless of where they are from. It’s been great  interacting with the kids and having them talk to me about what makes them laugh.

I feel really privileged to be here and to be able to do what I can to raise awareness about some of the issues facing the people in Vietnam but also some of the really positive steps being taken to change the status quo. I’ll upload some photos to the site shortly but in the meantime, you can see some of the work at www.facebook.com/NicolaBaileyPhotography.

 

Posted in Documentary, International development, Not for profit, Uncategorized

A new year and all the excitement it brings…

Wow – 2013, where did that come from! It seems we absolutely flew through the end of the year and with January already nearly over, I’m well and truly into planning for the coming year.

The end of year exhibition ‘Raw’ went really well. About 500 people attended the launch night and I got some great feedback on my work. My image of ‘the egg’ (which raises questions about women’s declining fertility) was probably the most talked about photo of the night which was great. I was very fortunate to win the ‘People’s choice’ award too – it was amazing to have so many people vote in my favor but also to be the recipients of some excellent prizes.The Egg

With the exhibition over with, I have now been focusing my attention on next steps. Anyone who knows me will be well aware of my passion for international development and social justice, and so following on from work I have previously done but never had enough time to wholly commit to, this year I will be taking off on some big adventures. I’m in the process of organising itineraries and talking to NGO’s about the types of projects that they may need documented internationally. At this stage it looks as though I’ll be heading to India and Sri Lanka over March / April and Africa later in the year. The goal… to capture some amazing material (photos, videos, stories etc) for them to use to raise awareness of and funds for their work. So stay tuned for more info on that. These are exciting times!

 

Posted in Exhibitions, Not for profit, Uncategorized

From the streets of the Cross to community kitchens out west

It’s been a busy few months with lots of time and energy being invested into shooting work for my end of year exhibition. I’ve had the opportunity to shoot some really great characters and am forever being reminded of how lucky I am to be surrounded by such quirky friends and associates – people who are prepared to do pretty much anything to get an interesting shot. I’ll be uploading some of my recent work to the site shortly so keep an eye out for that…

In addition to this there have been a couple of photo competitions which I have been fairly successful with. The first of these was for Action Aid and involved shooting a photo story on the theme of ‘what food security means to me’. Through my networks I was fortunate to be given access to a wonderful group of people in the South West of Sydney who run a community kitchen and community garden. The role of both is roughly to help members of the community to gain a greater understanding of nutrition and to have an avenue for accessing good quality and low cost food. It was a fascinating project to shoot and I was grateful to all those who spoke to me about the challenges they face and some of the remarkable solutions that they are coming up with. My work was chosen as one of the finalists in the competition, which was fantastic. You will be able to see those images in the Documentary section of the site shortly.

Another competition I have been involved with is the ‘Characters of the Cross’ photo competition which I was also a finalist for. It was great to see my image up amongst many other great pieces of work at the Mercure in Potts Point. The exhibition will be on there until 25 November and so do go check it out if you get the chance. You can check out that image just here.

More details will be posted soon regarding the exhibition at the end of the year but if you’re after a few details for the diary, it will be held at the Muse, Sydney Institute, Harris St, Ultimo at 6-9pm on 10 Dec. You can RSVP to attend the event by visiting the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/289097784536738/?fref=ts

That’s it for now!

Nic

Darlinghurst Rd is awash with businesses offering everything from pizza to peep shows. Here, an employee of a local massage centre waits for business to come her way.

Posted in Exhibitions Tagged , , , , , , , |

Violence makes it to Head On photo festival

Having been well received last year, Violence will be shown for the second time as part of the annual ‘Head On’ photography festival.

Please come and join me at the opening from 4pm – 6pm on Saturday 5 May, 2012. The exhibition itself will be open from 3 – 20 May at ESP Gallery in Marrickville with two other photographers. More information is available on the Head On site at http://www.headon.com.au/event/esp-gallery-violence

Hope to see you then!

Nicola

Posted in Exhibitions

A new year and all the possibilities it brings

Wow – I can’t believe we’re in February already. The end of the year and the start of this year have flown  by.

The Violence exhibition was a great success but wouldn’t have been possible without the wonderful support of The Red Room Company who helped to no end with the venue, easels and plonk on the night of the launch. Several pieces were sold and it’s great to think that others will get to enjoy on their walls what I enjoyed creating. In addition to this, Head On is keen to see the exhibition held again during their festival later in the year and so if you didn’t get a chance to see it the first time round, there will be another opportunity. This time however I may include a few additional pieces that haven’t previously been shown.

The start of the new year for most people is an exciting time, and the same applies to me. I’m looking forward not only to holding the Violence exhibition again but also working on a collection of 12 images that I hope will come together into a folio of wonderfully quirky portraits. I’m still coming up with a range of ideas but have been fortunate to meet a host of interesting people lately who are keen for me to shoot them. The first of those is Burlesque performer Holly J’aDoll who I’ll be shooting tomorrow. Without giving too much away, we can expect gorgeous thrown into the mix with disaster and then thrown out the other end into a bath tub of glitter. Stay tuned for the results…!

 

Posted in Exhibitions, Uncategorized

“Violence” exhibition

So the upcoming exhibition mentioned in my previous post, has been called “Violence”. It will be held in the pop up gallery at 77 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney. If your free, please feel free to join us on the opening night which kicks of at 6 and goes until 8.30pm.

“Violence” (commissioned by The Red Room Company) delves into the dark, raw and provocative world of Roller Derby. This unique exhibition combines photography and poetry …to chart the violence, passion and fierce kinship of this increasingly popular female sport.

On the opening night you can expect wine, performance, a room full of inspiration and your fair share of nudity – could it get any better!?? So please come and join us… but if you can’t make it on the 24th, then feel free to pop down in the week afterwards.
Nicola

Posted in Exhibitions

Roller Derby exhibition coming up

I can’t believe it’s nearly October already – as the saying goes, how time flies when you’re having fun.

And it has been a fun few months which lots of work and projects on the go.

I completed the series of photos of my wonderful pregnant model who had let me shoot her every 6 weeks during the duration of her pregnancy. Now that her daughter has been welcomed into the world I look forward to finishing off with a mother/daughter shoot any day now. These photos form part of the Changes project I have been working on and it’s fascinating having this visual documentation of how the body changes over the course of nine months.

Another project I have been working on is a series of images produced in collaboration with the performance poet extraordinaire Candy Royalle. The purpose of the project was to highlight the nature (brutal and beautiful at the same time) of the increasingly popular sport of Roller Derby. Combining her poetry and my photography we have been able to produce a body of work which is both dark and seductive and which uses a combination of lighting techniques and body art. the work will be exhibited at a great little space in The Rocks, Sydney at the start of November. Stay tuned for more details and I hope you will be able to make it on the night.

Signing off for now…

Nicola

Posted in Changes, Exhibitions Tagged , , , , , |