Experiences in the Field

Launching my Studio’s site

I’ve recently launched a new site: Brent Foster Photography
There’s been a lot of emails coming my way, so I figured I’d post a little info here.

Wedding Photography, Portrait, Maternity, Pets, and Videography in Ontario

My plan is to launch the studio August 14, 2010 in my hometown, Wallaceburg, Ontario. Last summer I came home to work on a story for Canadian Geographic, and as time passed by, fell in love with a girl who I’ll be marrying October 2, 2010.
We plan to run the studio together in a 100 year old bank building…. Tammy’s custom stained glass work will take place in the basement, and the photography studio will be on the main floor. There will also be a gallery where I plan to feature local, national, and international photojournalism and multimedia.

Brent Foster Photography Studio

My main focus will be wedding photojournalism in Windsor, Ontario, London, Ontario, and in the area I am living as well as portrait, pet, and maternity work at the studio, and on location. This does not mean my career as a photojournalist is over. It does mean I am settling down a bit, and for the first year, will be mostly here, but when things are up and running I plan to continue to take trips, and work on stories important to my heart both in still photography, and multimedia. I will also remain a member of Bombay Flying Club. I am however, equally excited about entering a new realm of photography, and spending a lot of time with my new future wife, and amazing 3 year-old step daughter! Wish me luck!!!


Shifting Gears(sort of)


Sometimes life jumps right in the way of your plans, and that’s a good thing in my books.
A lot is changing for me these days, hence the slowness of blog postings here.
I’ve decided to return to my home town, set up a STUDIO serving Southwestern Ontario, and got engaged in the meantime!
A lot of this stems from coming home this past summer to work on a project on my hometown for Canadian Geographic (see previous posting) I’m really excited to become an integral of the community I grew up in.
My plan is to run the studio here in Canada, combine forces with my fiancée, and to continue to take trips to pursue multimedia and photojournalistic projects throughout the year. Apologies in advance if this blog comes to a bit of a lull for a while!

Best, Brent


A Teachers Blog-Week 2

After two weeks together, the third year Journalism and Communications students, and I wrapped up our course at the National University of Rwanda.
I couldn’t be happier with the results.

The students came back with some surprisingly solid images given the fact this was the first experience shooting a photo essay, and using a camera for most of them.

On top of that using point and shoot cameras with 10 people to a camera provides it share of challenges, to say the least.

Here’s a look at some of the images they brought back from a great two weeks together. In three weeks I will start a new course in Kigali at the Great Lakes Media Center.


Students Pictures-National University of Rwanda – Images by 3rd Year Students


A teacher’s blog- Week 1


The first day wreaked of havoc from the beginning. I arrived into a tightly packed classroom of 71 students only to discover my fly was down. As I turned around to subtly pull it back up, I realized the zipper was broken. Great. Not only that, but the speakers, laptop, and everything I had prepared weren’t exactly going to work all to well in a brightly sun-lit classroom, with one plug.

Things turned around quickly though. We moved the class into a much larger room, found an extension cord, and started to project images and multimedia onto a white sheet. The rest of the week has been golden… sort of.

To give you a little background, I’m here in land of 1000 hills, otherwise known as Rwanda, teaching multimedia and online journalism. I’m currently at the National University of Rwanda in Butare, and following that, I’ll be at the Great Lakes Media Center in Kigali for three weeks.

I was brought here by Rwanda Initiative, a Canadian NGO that recruits teachers from all over, and brings them to Rwanda to teach.

So far, the biggest challenge has been supplies. I came with several cameras in tow, donated by the Toronto Star, but even combined with those, we have 7 working point and shoots for 71 journalism students… not exactly ideal.

At the University sits a box of old Nikon D1s that have been donated from media organizations all over the world …none of them are working.

So, we’re doing what we can. Groups of 10 are going out with one camera, and learning to build sequences, shooting wide, medium and tight, how to white balance, shoot environmental portraits, features, and photo essays. They’re
excited, and so am I. Each day, the pictures improve ten fold.

All in all, things have been great so far. The students are very attentive, and have learnt quickly to come to class on time after realizing I was serious about blocking the door with a desk at 8:35 each morning. Deadlines are deadlines:)


BFC Members featured in PDN, Feb.2010


Check out February’s issue of PDN to see a story my colleague Poul Madsen from Bombay Flying Club, and I are featured in called “Turning NGOs into Paying Clients”
The important thing I think to take away from this story is that you can do work that’s important, and helpful, but still need to survive in an industry that’s getting tougher by the day. I love working with NGOs, as I feel like the work produced can actually make a direct difference when working with them… something I often battle with when working for other clients.


Teaching in Rwanda

Kigali Street Scene, 2009


I’m really excited to be off to teach journalism for in Rwanda in February with Canadian NGO Rwanda Initiative. I had the opportunity to stay with them earlier this year when working on a story on the anniversary of the genocide, and have been looking for an excuse to return ever since…

From their website: “Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication, Canada’s premier journalism school, is spearheading this initiative to collaborate with its counterpart at the National University of Rwanda (NUR), in Butare.
The central aim is to address the shortage of journalism educators in Rwanda, to build capacity, to improve journalism standards in the country and to forge a partnership between the two universities.
In addition to providing the School of Journalism and Communication in Butare with consistent access to visiting teachers, the project has a major curriculum development and exchange component and also includes media-training workshops in Rwanda for working journalists, jointly organized by Carleton and NUR.”


Highrise

Highrise
Really stoked to be shooting a portion of this giant project in Istanbul next week.
The project has more multimedia depth than most that I’ve seen in quite some time. Each story will have 6-10 mini-stories, all in a very cool platform. It will take the power of multimedia storytelling and use it to paint a landscape of this crazy world we live in.

From the site: “This is a *pre-site* for HIGHRISE, a multi-year, multi-media, collaborative documentary project about the human experience in global vertical suburbs. We will use the acclaimed interventionist and participatory approaches of the award-winning National Film Board of Canada’s Filmmaker-in-Residence (FIR) project. Our scale will be global, but rooted firmly in the FIR philosophy — putting people, process, creativity, collaboration, and innovation first.”

Check out the TRAILER


Randoms

A few images from travels throughout Thailand. Will update the album as the tour continues.

SE Asia – Images by Brent Foster


Travel Time

It’s time for a little backpacking adventure. At the end of this week, I am off on a journey to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Will be back in Delhi for an assignment at the start of December, but until then, expect infrequent updates of random pictures from the journey!

In the meantime, here’s a few images from our recent trip to Ethiopia for the NGO Hope For Children. We(Bombay Flying Club) will have a multimedia piece out sometime in December for the Danish NGO.


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:Hope For Children NGO Work – Images by Brent Foster


Blogging for NPAC

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I’m blogging this week for the News Photographers Association of Canada while on assignment in Ethiopia.
Check it out day one HERE


Magnum Expression Award Finalists

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I’m extremely excited to be amongst the finalists for this award for images taken of people living on the burning coal fields of Jharia, India. Check out all the finalists HERE


Verve Photo


I’m really happy to be featured on Geoffrey Hiller’s blog Verve Photo today.
From the site: “Photographer and photo editor Geoffrey Hiller has created Verve to feature photos and interviews by the finest young image makers today. Verve is a reminder of the power of the still image. Verve will also point you to new photo agencies, publications and inspiring multimedia projects.”


Back “Home”

Amazing lunch on a banana leaf.

Amazing lunch on a banana leaf.

O.K, so I lied. No update from Perpignan. I’m sure my mom, and the other couple readers of this blog are upset with me, but what can you do…

It’s been a whirlwind of a trip from Paris, to an amazing week in the south of France, to Delhi where I had the chance to catch up with friends, and now to the south of India where I am now working on a two week long assignment for Human Rights Watch which will be viewable on October. As usual, I’m shooting everything for the project on the 5d Mark II. This is the first time however that I am using the Beachtek DXA-5D adapter, will try to write a post on it after the edit’s done.

In fact, it’s been so busy that I haven’t exactly found a place to live, and am faced with that lovely task added with editing the piece I’m currently working on, obtaining an Ethiopian visa for my trip in October(more to come on that later) extending my Indian visa as it’s almost due up already, and writing a story for Canadian Geographic when I return to Delhi Wednesday. Should be good times, but very happy to be busy, and back “home.”

Northern Kerala

Northern Kerala


Perpignan

I’m in Perpignan for the week and can be reached here at: +33 (0) 608 813 372
Will try to get a blog post or two out to talk about the experience! Stay tuned.


Canada, France, India…

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This week marks my last week of shooting the project on my hometown, Wallaceburg(pop.11,000) for Canadian Geographic. It’s truly been an amazing summer documenting the community I spent the first 18 years of my life in. From turtle hunting to childbirth, this summer has provided me with non-stop reminders of why I became a photographer in the first place. People are amazing, and experiencing different stages and moments alongside them is truly a gift.

This weekend I head to Toronto for a few days, then it’s off to Visa Pour L’Image in Perpignan, France, before heading back to India where I will begin an assignment for an NGO immediately in the south. Lots of excitement to come, so stay tuned!


Bombay Flying Club Featured on NYT’s [Lens] Blog

Wasteland
Our first Chapter of Wasteland featuring the people who live on Jharia’s fiery mines is featured today on the New York Times [Lens] Blog.
Check out the our piece and the rest of this inspirational blog designed by Zach Wise and crew at the Times.
From the blog: ““Wasteland”
Are you prepared to spend six minutes in hell? This is the question posed at the beginning of “Wasteland,” a mulitmedia documentary project by Bombay Flying Club. And with good reason: as the first installment of a series on industrial pollution, “Wasteland” explores the burning coal fields of northeastern India. Whole families live and work in the toxic dust, their homes built on burning ground. Many make a living by illegally collecting baskets of coal to sell for the equivalent of $1 to $1.50, enduring extremely hazardous conditions.
Bombay Flying Club is composed of two Danish photojournalists and one Canadian videojournalist. Their motto is “online journalism as it could be.” It’s easy to see why.
The entire multimedia package is presented in black and white, and the film delicately weaves video and still photography. The images are elegant and beautifully composed, which at times distracts from the horrific realities at hand — instead of sweltering suffocation, some images convey a cool detachment.
But the film is undeniably stunning. “Wasteland” should not be missed. (K.B.)”


Interviewing the Dalai Lama

dalailama
HERE is a piece that I shot working with writer Edward Wong for the New York Times this week.

I don’t let many people rub my tattoos, but the Dalai Lama got away with it.
He greeted me with a big smile, rubbed a tattoo that runs down my arm, and slapped me, all while laughing heartily.

I have to say, the Dalai Lama has rock star status in my books. I don’t usually get too excited to meet celebrities, and political leaders, and I know I’m not the only journalist with that reaction. A couple years ago I photographed him in Toronto, and at the end of his speech there were more journalists reaching out to shake his hand than general public.

This week, I’m working in Dharamsala, India for the New York Times. Another great experience to add to my first six months as a freelancer. I can’t believe two weeks from now I’ll be back in Canada for two months to work on an assignment before returning to India again. I miss this place already, the love/hate relationship that it is…
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dalai-lamainterview
dalailamainterview3

Dharamsala, India: The Dalai Lama – Images by Brent Foster


Hell Hole featured on BURN Magazine

burn
A selection of photographs that I took as part of a project with Bombay Flying Club colleague Poul Madsen and radio journalist Line Wolf Neilsen are featured on BURN Magazine today.
Check it out HERE.
BURN is curated by Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey, and features the work of emerging photographers.


Back to Canada -with a purpose

In less than a month, I’ll be experiencing some serious reverse culture shock when
I head back to Canada for a dream assignment, of sorts.

I’m heading back in June to spend a couple months in Canada, and in particular, in my hometown Wallaceburg, Ontario, where I’ll be on assignment documenting the town during a time of recession for Canadian Geographic.

Things have come oddly full circle for me. My very first project as a photojournalist was to document my town of about 11,000 in a 24 hour time period with a group of photographers back in my early high school days.

I have to say, I’m really looking forward to this opportunity, and returning to live temporarily in a town that I’ve spent the last decade trying to run away from:)

I’m a bit nervous about documenting the people and the town that I know, and spent 18 years in, but very excited to return home, hang with my parents, and re-coop from six months on the road. I plan to return to India to continue to work on a book project on Kashmir’s Half Widows, which is currently in progress, then take it from there.


Protests in Kathmandu

Some images from todays protests in Kathmandu, Nepal. Back to Delhi Thursday.

Nepal: Maoist Protests – Images by Brent Foster


Hell Hole: Jharia’s fiery mines multimedia featured in Globe and Mail

jhariacoallowres
The story that Bombay Flying Club teammate Poul Madsen and myself along with radio journalist Line Wolf Nielsen produced on the people living on Jharia’s coal fields is featured in today’s Globe and Mail, a national paper based out of Toronto, Canada.
Check out the multimedia piece HERE, and the still gallery HERE
globepdf


Nepal or Bust

I’ll be in Kathmandu, Nepal for the next week or so covering the political situation after President Ram Baran Yadav overruled Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dhal’s direct order to remove General Rookmangud Katawal from his post. The country is the most fragile it has been since its decade long war ended three years ago. I will try to update in between the 16 or so hours a day that there are power outages.


Holy Waters

varanasi
My parents are visiting from Canada so it’s time for me to take my first little break and see some of India’s sights, and of course make some pictures along the way. Our first couple nights were spent in Delhi, followed by a trip to “the Holiest City in India,” Varanasi. I had my own little spiritual journey making photos. My days consisted of waking up at 4 am and walking the ghats, a boat ride, and some quality family time. Here are a few images from the trip to the exhaustingly wonderful city. Off to Rajasthan next, then back to work April 16.

Varanasi – Images by Brent Foster


TIME and Digital Journalist

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I have a new piece up today on TIME.com telling a story from Rwanda marking the 15th anniversary of the genocide. Check it out if you have a chance.

Also, please check out this months issue of the Digital Journalist. There’s an email exchange between guest editor Jerry Lazar from KobreGuide and myself talking about why I decided to leave the LA Times, and how freelancing in India has been so far. The whole issue is filled with amazing contibutors and stories.