5.02.2009

HEATHER McCLINTOCK: Innocent Casualties

Alema Rose, Aler IDP Camp, Uganda, 2006. Copyright (c) Heather McClintock/All Rights Reserved

"I would like to give you a message. Please do your best to tell the world what is happening to us, the children, so that other children don’t have to pass through this violence."A 15-year-old girl who escaped from the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda

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HEATHER McCLINTOCK was raised on a dairy farm in Vermont. She received her BA in photography from New England College in New Hampshire, and Arundel, England, then relocated to New York City to work in prestigious commercial studios. A desire to pursue humanitarian relief work led to her involvement with documentary photography. Heather first visited northern Uganda in 2005, where she focused on the strength and grace of the Acholi people, ravaged by both mental and physical cruelties resulting from a brutal twenty-year civil war. She returned in 2007. Her Uganda work garnered many awards, including the 2006 Center for Photographic Art Artist Project Award and her partnership with Blue Earth Alliance.

“Stepping over the edge and pursuing documentary photography is intrinsically not supposed to be about oneself… but of course life is never so black and white. The situations we find ourselves in as photographers inevitably point and entwine that outer lens back onto ourselves. How do we photograph differently so people won’t turn away from more pain seen in another’s eyes? Are we taking that nebulous something; pride, dignity, humanity, away from someone more than we are actually helping? In northern Uganda, I lost all hesitancy and self-doubt when asking for everyone’s permission to photograph them. ‘We want our plight to be seen. Show these images. Bring people back to help us. Please.’ We are graced with a huge amount of responsibility when we don’t look away from another’s plight, another’s soul. We have been entrusted with the burden of helping people with our images. And most disturbingly, we can leave these places. Are we then strong enough to continue to persevere on their behalf from the outside? If they can survive with such strength and grace, how dare we do anything less? Seeing their pain IS the point. Their stories of devastation and dignity reflect the ambiguity and mystery within each of us.”
(quote from Geoffrey Hiller's VervePhoto)

I first met Heather two years ago at the Santa Fe CENTER for Photography's Portfolio Review. I was humbled by her photographs.
Her first solo exhibition The Innocent: Casualties of the Civil War in Northern Uganda was recently shown at Gallery FCB in New York City and her photographs are included in Child Soldiers, Edited by Leora Kahn published by powerHouse Books.

To purchase prints: Gallery FCB
Heather McClintock: http://www.heathermcclintock.com

1 comment:

little augury said...

in going back through your postings- this photograph is so tragically beautiful.I can't imagine finding such an image to capture; How does a photographer stop to ask? It must be a constant struggle.la