Other than a few close friends, I have kept pretty quiet about the documentary project I started work on in 2014 (Link Here). After a 10 year civil war with the Papua New Guinean (PNG) Government, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville will vote for independence between 2015 and 2020 and my goal is to document what life is like there, through my photography, during this period.
I wanted to make sure I had a solid base before I launched into an open announcement of what I have been up to. I decided to finally start posting a few images from the project in order to make it more 'real' and so I have something to slowly start directing attention towards as it gets closer to completion. That won't be for another few years...
I have now travelled from the northern tip of Buka Island (the smaller of the two islands that make up Bougainville) to the the southern tip of the main Bougainville Island. I have met many ex-combatants who fought the PNG Defence Force, and was told I was the first "white man" to stay at the Panguna Mine village since the civil war was sparked there in 1988.
Bougainville is delicately stitched together by hundreds of clans, local governments jostling for recognition, dirt roads and a dense orchid filled jungle. With all of the images I have taken to date, I have barely scratched the surface. I have as many more images to take as I do to edit out.
I will finish by sending out a massive heartfelt thank you to the Richards family for all of their help and support. My great mate Daniel Richards (the worlds' greatest graphic artist – not even exaggerating) who introduced me to his family, his mother Margaret Richards for feeding me, letting me stay in her home at their family village and having her nephews look out for me during my first visit, and the biggest help for my project, Andrew Richards for continually keeping me updated on Bougainville, sharing his thoughts, driving me all over the place and shouting me countless beers and meals. Thank you Richards!
If anyone reading this hears of any means of support – grants, sponsorships, contacts, people living in Bougainville etc etc – please contact me here Contact Page