While in South Sudan last month, part of my trip was spent covering the second independence anniversary which I was lucky enough to do with an Australian journalist and all round good bloke, Ilya Gridneff. Our week together was jam packed and our efforts saw the words and pictures published in Fairfax’s The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Daily Life as well as appearing in a number of smaller Fairfax papers throughout Australia.
Ilya recently relocated to Africa after leaving his job as a Fairfax crime reporter, you can read a piece from his time there here. Before leaving Australia we had briefly discussed the possibility of being in the region at the same time and how it would be cool to work together. After chatting further once Ilya was in Uganda’s capital Kampala it was obvious he needed to get out and see some more of the vast continent. From Nairobi where I was arranging my visa I told him he should do the same and soon enough Ilya was buzzing around Kamapala with passport photos and freshly filled out paperwork to pick up his own visa for South Sudan. With a visa and an overland bus ticket in hand, a few days later I saw Ilya in Juba and soon enough the adventure got into full swing, once of course we had every permit under the sun.
Working with Ilya was an absolute pleasure and during our time together based at Juba’s affordable London Star Hotel, I learnt how valuable it can be to team up with a journalist when it comes to the power of pitching. Essentially I can offer pictures and multimedia but once working with a journalist you can essentially offer a package for a story and it becomes much more valuable. While the power of pitching is increased working with a writer, I also believe we do more justice to the overall story when there is a writer present at the events I am photographing. Ilya’s attention to detail and human interaction’s were impressive to watch, keep a look out for more work coming out of Africa from Ilya Gridneff.
Sadly all good things come to an end and after our week together I continued back to Malakal in the north-east of South Sudan where I was revisiting a community in Malakal whom I spent a week with in 2011, you can see pictures from that trip here.
I will be updating an edit of work from this recent trip in the coming days. For now you can see the photo essay Birth of a nation from my two months during independence in 2011 on my website to keep you excited.