Category Archives: Volunteering Latin America

Article About Me in Junkies Magazine

Junkies magazine is a fantastic new Australian publication celebrating the concept of rethink, reuse, reduce and recycle.  It’s jam-packed full of articles and photos of creative ways to help the planet, your own way.

 

I’m thrilled to have this wonderful write up about my photography included in the Spring issue of Junkies magazine.  These images are from my project Portraits of The Disappearing Amazon, for which I had the privilege of visiting and photographing tribes in the Amazon jungle over a 3 month period.  It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  Please enjoy the images.

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Alicia Fox Photography in Junkies Magazine

Caribbean Panama Portraits

Travel is like an intensified version of normal life.  We take ourselves out of our comfort zone to situations where the ups are higher and the downs take us deeper than we have ever been.  This is why we often return from travelling feeling like a new person:  so much more experienced, wiser and even enlightened.

 

After a year or so travelling through South America, I’d been confronted by many lows (and many more highs, thankfully).  One thing that irritated me was how long things took.  I’m pretty chilled out and enjoy taking my time, but on Latin American time things can be excruciatingly slow.  The border crossing from Colombia to Panama is one example of this.  The whole process of travelling by boat from port towns to port towns took days.  I understand that authorities in this Darien Gap region are wise to watch their ports for drug smugglers, but anyone who has spoken to locals knows that the authorities are aware of the traffickers and allow certain offenders to slip through the cracks.

 

On arriving to Panama, at the tiny village of Puerto Obaldia, the immigration officer sitting inside his sweltering hot cement block informed us that for no particular reason, it would take 4 hours to process our papers.  I decided to get my Taoist on and make the most of the situation.  A little girl sat outside the office.  She was the officer’s daughter.  We started chatting and soon two of her friends came to join us.  I gave them stickers and showed them through my Panama guide book – they were fascinated to see photos of their country, places they never knew existed.  They were adorable and I absolutely had to take their photographs.  They loved being in front of the camera and hours later when I needed a break, they didn’t want to stop posing for the camera.

 

I entered some photos of my amigas into a Unicef Panama photo competition.  I was one of the winners and was so happy to see my photo, captured thanks to a slow immigration officer, blown up in an exhibition in Panama City, helping raise awareness of children’s issues.

See behind the scenes photos on my Pinterest page

www.pinterest.com/aliciafoxphotog/photo-shoot-behind-the-scenes/

Why be an “Eco Photographer”?

Being an Eco Photographer means reducing the environmental impact of every aspect of my business, and working with (i.e. producing photos for) clients that have a positive impact on the environment.  

 

I was trying to formulate an explanation as to why I’ve decided to be an “Eco Photographer” and what this actually means.  Then one day three things happened to me and I became so impassioned that I did what anyone would do… I got on my soapbox (i.e. my personal Facebook wall) and shared what I was feeling with my friends and family.  I received such an overwhelmingly supportive response that I decided to include my little story on this blog.  It gives you an idea of how I live my personal life, which crosses over into my business life.  So here it is:

 

I don’t often put unhappy things on Facebook but I feel the need to share this today  It has 3 parts, and hopefully is inspiring:
1. James came home and told me, with a smile, that he had a song stuck in his head all day, the song of some beautiful girls from the Ashaninka tribe we stayed with by Ene River, in the Amazon. Translated, the chorus goes: “Ene River, please take care of me”.
2. At my exhibition of Amazon photos on the weekend, a man came up to me and said, “Did you hear about the Amazonian tribe that can’t drink their water because the oil company poisoned it?”. I said, “Things like that happen all the time in the Amazon… It’s unbelievable!”
3. I went for a walk at lunch (in Sydney) and a man was blowing leaves around the road with a petrol powered leaf blower. He wasn’t actually moving the leaves anywhere in particular, just wasting petrol.I am as much to blame as anyone else for the poisoned water that is making my friends in the Amazon sick. We all use the oil that is being drilled, which is killing the fish, the animals and sometimes the children. Every day I will do what I can to stop supporting the companies that knowingly let this happen. I have given up plastic almost completely, I walk/ride nearly everywhere I go and I try my best in every other way to reduce plastic and petrol consumption. Sorry to be grim, but I just wanted to share this because most people that I talk to about what happens in the Amazon, have no idea. It’s not widely publicised.The good news is that every one of us can make a positive difference. Every time you spend money you endorse what that company is doing…so spend wisely xx  That’s all. Good night

 

(If you would like to hear the beautiful song about Ene River, it begins at 44 seconds in this movie)
Ashaninka-Tribe-Girls-Amazon-Peru

5 Tips For Being A More Eco Human/Photographer

1. Support local, small businesses.  This gives you a chance to meet the people whose company you are supporting, and find out how the products are made/grown.  Because it’s local you can walk there (or use less petrol to arrive there).
2.  Furnish your house/studio with recycled or upcycled  furniture.  It’s quite amazing what you can pick up at the op shop or market – people throw away some beautiful things.  In a place like Sydney or Melbourne it’s easy to find almost anything you need on the street side.  Each day I walk by anything from wide screen TVs to vintage furniture.
3.  Use chemical-free cleaning products.  With a few simple ingredients (bicarb soda, vinegar and eucalyptus oil) you can cover almost all of your cleaning needs.  Using these natural alternatives is also much better for your health.
4.  Go paper-free.  You can do almost everything online these days.
5.  Use a renewable energy plan or solar power.  

My Amazon Portraits Featured

My photos and I are being featured on fivepointfive.org and I think you should check it out, here.  You’ll gain an insight into my project Portraits of The Disappearing Amazon, a 3 month journey which will changed my life.  You can also get the background story on some of my favourite portraits from the project, and the beautiful people within them.

 

Five Point Five is about inspiring you to do those things that you will remember with satisfaction for the rest of your life.  They are all about travel, lifestyle and making a positive difference in the world – 3 things that are really important to me too.  The website offers information and mini documentaries on volunteering overseas, as well as travel resources and inspiration.  So go get inspired…

 

Portraits of the Disappearing Amazon by Alicia Fox

by Alicia Fox Photography

by Alicia Fox Photography

Thanks For Your Support

It’s time to give another shout out to all the wonderful people who helped make my Amazon photo project dream come true.

In June 2012 I launched a crowdfunding campaign on Pozible.com to invite supporters to be part of my photo project to create Portraits of the Disappearing Amazon.  The response was overwhelming and as a result I was able to spend two months visiting and photographing ten different tribes in the Amazon of Peru, an amazing experience which I will never forget.

This week I’m posting out the final  Thank Yous to supporters of the project, including prints of the portraits I created in the jungle.  I’m so looking forward to getting my hands on the Photo Books that I’ve had published as gifts for the major supporters, which are in the post to me right now.  I can’t wait to hand them over in the next few days.

 

Muchisima Gracias Amigos!

 

If you would like to see photographs from the project, please go to my New Work Folio on my website.

Portraits of The Disappearing Amazon

 

Dreams are worth chasing.

 

It was June 2012.  I had a dream to travel into the depths of the Amazon and photograph tribes that I’d heard may disappear within my lifetime.  If I didn’t follow my dream, perhaps no one would capture images of these people, whose cultures had fascinated me since I was a little girl.  Perhaps no one would create a visual memory of their traditional way of life for the future generations to remember and appreciate.

 

I had no contacts and no leads, but something within me told me I could do it, and that I had to do it.  I committed myself to the project and spent the following 2 months exploring the Amazon of Peru in search of tribes to photograph in their traditional dress to create a visual documentation of how life looks, or looked, for peoples whose traditional way of life is being slowly, or in many cases, rapidly forgotten.

 

I hope to return to the Amazon soon to continue encountering and photographing the vast and diverse tribal cultures that live within the mysterious jungle.  This project turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  Dreams are worth chasing.

 

Here is a tiny sample of the mountain of photographs I was fortunate to capture during my adventures.  I hope you enjoy them.  There are more on the way.

 

This elder woman from the Matses tribe is one of the last in her village to continue wearing facial piercings, a practice which she began as a young lady. The adornments originate from local palm trees, and the ink of her tattoo is made from the huito plant.

 

The feet of a Yagua elder. He has never worn shoes.

 

A young boy from the Bora tribe adorned with his tribe’s traditional face paint. In his village, traditional dress and body painting is now only worn on special occasions and for tourism.

 

This young Ashaninka girl lives deep within the Amazon. My camera may have been the first she ever saw. Her nose is pierced with cotton thread, with a jewel hanging. All women in the village paint their faces each morning, with red paint from the achote plant, in patterns which reflect the previous night dreams, their mood or simply to look beautiful.

 

Here are the first two behind the scenes videos shot by my assistant/partner James.  Check back here for additional videos in the coming months.

 

 

To see more of my humanitarian photographs and travel photographs, please visit www.AliciaFoxPhotography.com.  Thanks for visiting!

 

 

 

Women Weavers in Guatemala

 A photo essay of women weavers in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, shot for Vision Guatemala.

 

Lake Atitlan is a magical part of Guatemala that draws many tourists who want to experience its reputed energy.  But for many women and families living in this area, life is tough and money is very scarce.  I shot this photo essay for Vision Guatemala, a small non-profit organisation that is working to help women find a source of income, offering micro-finance, training and community development.  In doing so, their tradition of weaving beautiful textiles can be kept alive.

 

Being fortunate to enter their homes and witness this amazing art gave me a deep appreciation for their skill in weaving.  The women I met have amazing talent and beautiful spirits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to see more photos that I have taken for non-profit organisations in South and Central America, please see my website at www.aliciafox.net/humanitarian-photography/

Lake Atitlan – Guatemala

I was looking for a place to stop and do a bit of work and I wanted to make it a kind of retreat, to get my creative juices flowing.  Lake Atitlan in Guatemala is the perfect place for a photography and writing retreat.  I spent time at some beautiful hotels in Panajachel, San Pedro and San Macos – three different villages, all tranquil in their own way.  I was doing work for hotels while also working on my own projects.

Here are a couple of shots from one beautiful sunrise I spent in San Pedro la Laguna.

Lake Atitlan has risen dramatically this year and buildings, shelters and lakeside recreational areas such as the one above have become submerged.  Some of the local Mayans think the rising water is related to The 2012 Shift, some just blame the rain.

These are the traditional fishing boats used by Mayan fishermen each morning on Lake Atitlan.  They spear the fish with reeds then take their catch home or sell them in their villages.  It’s beautiful to watch and a wonderful example of slow, simple living.

 

To see more of my travel photography, check out my website www.AliciaFoxPhotography.com

Humanitarian Photography in Guatemala

This week I have been shooting photos of women weavers in Guatemala,  for an organisation called Vision Guatemala, a grass roots NGO that provides micro finance and support to women around Lake Atitlan and Guatemala.

Above:  Cecilia is weaving a table runner in the style typical to San Pedro.  She spends a few hours weaving each day in between cleaning and making tortillas which she sells to her neighbours at lunch and dinner time.  In Guatemala tortillas sell at 3 for Q1, which is about 13 cents.  When she finishes weaving after 3-5 days, the table runner will sell for about $4.50.

Camera Settings: 1/50sec, f/4, ISO 400, 28mm lens

Above: The weaving loom, used by Guatemalan women.

Camera Settings(Above): 1/50sec, f/2.8, ISO 800, 50mm lens

 Camera Settings(Above): 1/50sec, f/2.8, ISO 400, 50mm lens

Camera Settings(Above): 1/60sec, f/4, ISO 320, 24mm lens, flash (bounced off wall)

Camera Settings (Above): 1/60sec, f/4, ISO 400, 65mm lens

Take a look around my blog to see more of my NGO & Humanitarian photos.  I’ll have a new folio on my new website dedicated to the humanitarian projects I’ve been shooting over here in Central and South America.

Thanks!

NPO Photography in Latin America

My Article in EOS magazine

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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I love getting feedback, so please leave any of your comments here on email me at info@aliciafox.net

If you’d like to see more of my NGO photography, please check out my website www.AliciaFoxPhotography.com

I’m in Mexico (Aug-Sep 2011)

My journey through Latin America has taken me further north to the wonderful land of Mexico. I had high expectations for this country and Mexico has already exceeded those expectations. The delicious food, the welcoming characters, the rainbow of colours across the variations of traditional dress and the remains of a deep history. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for me.

I will be in Mexico for August and September 2011, followed by some time in The USA, before turning around and heading back south through Central America. Please check the Travel Plan tab at the top of this blog for more information.

I look forward to sharing the journey with you on my blog and Facebook pages.

Adios

NGO Photography Classes in Nicaragua

I have just finished running a 1 week photography workshop with 12 wonderful children, through Empowerment International in Granada, Nicaragua.

Empowerment International’s mission is to build educated and productive communities to stop the cycle of poverty before it transfers to another generation. Their vision is for every child to go to school and achieve the level of education they desire, which is no easy task in a country where 50% of children who begin first grade drop out before fifth grade to help their families who may live on less than $1 per day.

Some of the students during the photography workshop


Two of the gorgeous girls on the streets of Granada


The kids from the Empowerment International photography workshop

Isela enjoying seeing a photo of herself, that one of the other students took


Me and some of the kids enjoying time off in the countryside between shoots

Volunteer Photographer for Opportunity Nicaragua

Volunteering with Opportunity Nicaragua was an wonderful experience that allowed me a glimpse into the lives of many hardworking artisanas and farmers around Granada, who despite adversity, can go through life with a smile. The experience gave me perspective on how tough life is for so many people throughout the world, and how fortunate I am to live the life I have.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the experience.




Concrete Wave Magazine

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



Concrete Wave Magazine (Canada)

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/