Photofusion Member: Stephanie Wood
We are the same everywhere, listening. Stephanie Rose Wood
The photographs were produced whilst on a research trip to Sri Lanka in April and May 2012. This explorative trip was initially focussed on the aftermath of a war that lasted nearly three decades. Once in Sri Lanka I realised I could not create a collection of images portraying the country’s troubled past. Instead, I turned my attention to people’s ideas for it’s future and the positive movements that people at a grass roots level were making. Photographed are those who have committed themselves to providing support to others through community based organisations. The subjects are all of different backgrounds and experiences, they all wish for the same thing, peace and understanding.
The project is unfinished and I hope to return to Sri Lanka soon to continue with the portrait series. Whilst doing so, I would like to work alongside an organisation, perhaps providing support for a cultural programme that focuses on photography as a means of communication and expression in a post conflict environment.
My time in Sri Lanka has shown me the importance of community based organisations. Individuals and families depend on them to provide unflinching support and understanding. Those who work within these organisations inspire strength in others, either through providing a voice through politics, encouraging reconciliation through the arts, or those who focus on providing a safe community. Local initiatives concerned with encouraging communication are invaluable and provide people of all backgrounds and experiences with hope for their future. This is the framework for the series. The subjects photographed have all contributed in some way to providing a stable environment for the people they help.
The photographs were taken using a large format field camera. The camera, despite it’s large size and peculiarity invokes an inquisitive reaction rather than an intimidated one. The slow and methodical process encourages the sitter to relax, giving me the opportunity to engage with my subject and encourage a much more mindful photograph.