Category Archives: Articles
This March, James and I met with Cuba’s female surfing population, all two of them.
Lorena is the only female bodyboarder in Cuba and Yaya is the only female stand-up surfer. These passionate women inspired us to write their story about what it’s like to live and surf in a country where educated people live off government rations, surf shops don’t exist and waves go unexplored because people don’t have cars or gas to get to them.
Here’s the article from this months Surfgirl Magazine, available in The UK and Europe.
Photos by Alicia Fox
Words by James Galletly
Cuba may not be well known as an eco-travel destination, but its eco-credentials, like its musicians and cigars, are first class.
In 2006, the WWF’s Living Planet Report named Cuba the only nation on earth achieving sustainable development. This big claim was based on Cubans having a high standard of living (assessed via levels of health, education and GDP) and at the same time maintaining a sustainable Ecological Footprint….
To view more of my published work please go to www.aliciafox.net/published
I am thrilled to have an article printed in SURFGIRL Magazine, the raddest womens surf mag in The UK.
EOS magazine is a great photography publication coming out of the UK, focused on the technical side of photography and specifically of Canon EOS cameras.
I wanted to write an account of my experiences volunteering in Latin America, thinking it would appeal to EOS readers. The editor Angela August agreed and offered me a two page spread in the Nov 2011 issue. When the article went to print, it ended up as four pages.
I was really pleased to receive an email from Angela saying
“Very many thanks for your contribution. I must compliment you on your fantastic pics, sparkling, well-targeted copy and generally getting everything to me on time and in sensible order. You made my job very easy!”
I put a lot of effort in to making the article as polished as possible, so it’s so nice to hear I could make Angela’s job easier.
Here is a copy of the article.
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Antony Ledezma Mendin
& The Bethlehem Youth Club – A photo shoot for Opportunity Nicaragua
When Antony was eight years old his parents divorced, and his family disintegrated around him. Antony’s mother is Costa Rican, but his farther is Nicaraguan. When the family broke down Antony’s father returned to Nicaragua, forcibly taking Antony with him.
They moved to the Nicaraguan Capital of Managua and shared a house with Antony’s grandmother. Life at home was tough, and the family relationship was strained. Antony rebelled. He fought with his father and grandmother, who also fought with each other. At a young age he began experimenting with drugs, smoking and drinking, by 12 he decided living on the streets was better than at home. He ran away.
Antony lived on the streets with a group of friends. They stuck together and protected each other. To get money they would steel whatever they could, sometimes visiting local farms to rob fruit and then sell it on the street.
As he got older, the group of friends developed into a gang; drugs and gang related violence became part of life. Antony looks back on his past drug use with open honesty, recalling “I was crazy, but I liked it (to feel something different)”. The violence on the street was life threatening. At one point in a street gang related attack Antony’s skull was smashed open with a rock, he spent 15 days in hospital and came dangerously close to death.
His life reached crisis point after the sudden death of one of his close friends and soon after Antony was jailed for armed robbery. He spent two months in jail awaiting sentencing. While in jail, a Christian group visited the inmates. Their message resonated with Antony and when still in prison he accepted Jesus as his saviour. Antony was facing at least 10 years in jail and began to pray to for his freedom.
On the day he was to be sentenced an extraordinary string of events occurred. The official escort to court failed to show up. At the end of the day the police officer in charge did not know what to do. He called Antony inside and, astonishingly, gave him his release papers. The charges were dropped and he was free to go. In that moment Antony felt God had answered his prayers and became a committed Christian.
He was free, but with nowhere to go Antony was back on the streets and in danger of returning to his old ways. In his old neighbourhood he met Doña Suzie, who is part of the Bethlehem Youth Club community. The youth club rescued Antony from the streets. They gave him a place to live, food, clothes and support to turn his life around.
Now, the number one change in Antony’s life is a feeling of security. He no longer has to steal in order to eat or wonder where he is going to sleep. The Bethlehem Youth Club gives him a safe, supportive environment, for him to strengthen his resolve to live a new life.
Antony now dreams of being married and having a family, not such a wild dream. He already has a child on the way with his girlfriend, but is honest when he says he is not prepared for marriage. Antony feels inadequate about not finishing school and not having any job skills. He hopes to earn these and be able to support his own family before he asks his girlfriend to marry him. He also dreams of finding his mother who he has not seen since leaving Costa Rica.
Text by James Galletly, Freelance Travel Writer
Following the devastation in Japan earlier this year, Blue surf magazine (Japan) asked artists to contribute to a special Hope issue, in an effort to lift the spirits of their readers who were affected by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
I feel honored to have a photo of mine included in the Hope issue.
I took this photo during my six month in Japan in 2009. I feel that this beautiful boy, Aki, is perfect representation of the pure and beautiful people that live in Japan. I hope the people of Japan continue to move forward, despite what they have been faced with, and shine as I know they can.
When I first read about the Kuna Yala indigenous people in the San Blas Islands, I knew I had to visit the islands to photograph them. In all descripitions, the people and the landscape sounded visually stunning.
The Kuna women hand-sew their vibrant outfits with tropical patterns and elaborate designs. Their arms and legs are adorned with colourful beads in traditional patterns that imitate designs that used to be painted on their skin before missionaries taught them to wear clothes.
The location they call home is over 300 idyllic islands in the Caribbean Sea of Panama, the most picture perfect place I have visited in my life. Many of the inhabitants are nomadic and move from island to island collecting coconuts and selling their clothing, designs and beaded jewelry to tourists.
James and I wrote and photographed this article for Tide Magazine in Germany. James interviewed Patricia and Ellie, from Munich, about their falling in love with the magical Panamanian village of Santa Catalina and starting the regions first surf shop. The girls are an inspiration and show that you can follow your heart and live your dreams in paradise.
The article was translated into German. Please send me an email if you’d like to read the English version.
A full set of the photos and the story behind them can be found on the “30 Days in Chugchilan” tab at the top of this page.
We’re stoked to see our article in Canada’s Concrete Wave Magazine.
These beautiful kids got their own skate ramp in their dusty shanty town in Peru.
Words by James Galletly
Photos by Alicia Fox
James and I have an article in the latest Concrete Wave magazine. Check it out if you live in Canada (and some other lucky countries) or check out the story online at /www.concretewavemagazine.com/
James and I have an article in this month’s issue of Surfing World magazine (Australia). The issue is ‘The Design Issue’. Our article is about an inspired and talented surf board shaper in Japan, who has a dream to grow his own surfboard.
Ono is working with hemp fibres for a unique and environmentally friendly alternative to the highly synthetic boards that currently dominate the market.
I have been living in Peru for three months now. I have a nice little apartment, with running water (until 3pm) and everything I need to live comfortably. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how thousands of people around me are struggling to get by every day.
This week I visited the ACJ Project, which is working to improve the lives of families living and working on a city dump. These men, women and children spend their days sorting through rubbish to sell to recyclers for less money per week then what I spent on a Chai laté in Japan.
I stepped out of an ancient VW combi and watched the dump dwellers sort through garbage outside their home. I felt compelled to walk over and talk to them. As I approached, the father waved to me and I felt encouraged. I had been told that the people were shy and that I had to be discreet when taking photos. I didn’t want to offend anyone by pulling out my camera.
I walked closer and saw the little boy crying to his Mum. I pulled out of my bag a small koala that my Mum had sent me, to give to Peruvian children. ‘Tengo un regalla para tu’ (I have a present for you), I said in my best Spanish. He took the toy and the conversation opened up. De donde eres….cuantos anos tienes….
I asked the little boy his name. Ronaldo told me he is six years old and I told him that his is tall for his age. I showed him how to use the little koala and I clipped it onto his finger.
I was a bit afraid that these kids who literally live on piles or rubbish, would be jealous of his toy and beg me for a present. But they just seemed happy that Ronaldo got something and asked me for nothing.
Before I knew it, the children were asking me to take photos of them. Even Ronaldo had wiped away his tears and was waiting for his photo to be taken. Mama arranged the niños into a row, before returning to her work of smashing bottles into a bag. She was injured years ago and now cannot walk well. She seemed proud of the recycling job that she was doing.
The kids loved having their photo taken and soon wanted to have a go at the camera. I held it for them (it’s so heavy) and taught them how to take photos, helping them to reach their tiny fingers around the camera to the shutter button.
I may not have had much impact on these lives, but they certainly touched mine. The adults have been living on the dump for 30 years. I felt like there are certainly a lot of people out there who really struggle through life. With living on a dump comes injuries, diseases, uncomfortable living conditions and a feeling of alienation that I cannot even comprehend. These people are not citizens. They do not exist on any records. They live in their own world, a world that I briefly brushed up against before returning to mine.
If they taught me anything, it’s that you should never be ashamed of what you are. We are all the equal people doing our best to get through life, and if we can do it with a smile then we are doing okay.
For more information on the ACJ Project: