Posts Tagged ‘Brent Foster’

Out my Window -A 360 Degree Project by The National Film Board of Canada

Huge congrats to Katerina Cizek and The National Film Board of Canada for an amazingly innovative project, Out My Window. A the project and a few words on it can be found on my personal web site, Brent Foster Photography

My Hometown: Bearing Down and Getting By

This summer I spent two months documenting my hometown, Wallaceburg, Ontario, for Canadian Geographic. This month they are featuring the 9 page photo essay. See it HERE Thanks to all the residents who let me spend time photographing them. This is a lifelong project for me, and I feel it serves as a microcosm for all small towns.
You can also see a link to a photo club interview HERE

Rwandan Mountain Gorillas

I have some time between classes, and an upcoming assignment in Nairobi, which allowed me to take a pretty magical hike yesterday.
I spent four hours or so on an amazing journey to see the mountain gorillas at Volcano National Park in Rwanda. It was truly one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced. Here are some images:

Mountain Gorillas, Rwanda – Images by Brent Foster

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.”

Blogging for NPAC

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

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


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.

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

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

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…

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

Hell Hole featured on BURN Magazine

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

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

Wrapping up Wasteland

Poul, Line, and I are wrapping up our project with busy times to come.
We have a day and a half left of shooting, and are working to fill the gaps in the project. Very excited to edit this project back in Delhi in the coming months. Here are some of my images from the story so far.
Poul’s images can be seen here

The Wasteland Project

I’m in Dhanbad working with Bombay Flying Club team member Poul Madsen and radio journalist Line Wolf Nielsen on the beginnings of a Bombay Flying Club project we will be launching sometime in the next couple months entitled The Wasteland Project.
Our first chapter in the project takes place in Kujama and focuses on the effects of open coal mining. This is my fist project as part of Bombay Flying Club, and Poul’s first project shooting video with the 5d Mark II.
We’re very excited with what we have so far. Stay tuned…

I will see you again, Congo.


It was a letdown. A three hour bus ride out of Kigali, and as the pave road turns to well, not so paved road, I arrived to the border.

I met the fixer I was working with on the Rwandan side, and we made our first attempt to cross. Armed with my letter from a major newspaper, US cash marked after 2001, and my gear, I was told that the rules have changed and a visa must be requested 48 hours in advance.

After finding an internet café and emailing a letter to the government’s yahoo email, the fixer went directly to the head offices in Goma, with copies of my passport, letters, and everything else that comes with applying for a visa. 24 hours later, I was in. 24 hours after that I was out…

It turns out as I am told, that two American journalists had been arrested for working without a press card issued by North Kivu. I expected to read about this in the news when I returned to Kigali. The director who issued the press cards had also been arrested. Basically, things became a waiting game. I spent most of my time sitting in an office waiting for someone to issue me the $250 USD card, so I could work “freely.”

It got to the point that it was simply too expensive to wait any longer. That afternoon, I made the heartbreaking decision to leave and head back to Rwanda. This was a self-funded part of my trip, and I simply couldn’t justify spending the kind of money I’d be spending to sit, and wait. It seemed to much of a risk to do “too” much traveling around without the issued card.

Things have changed since November, I am told. Perhaps they have. Perhaps is was bad luck. Perhaps bad timing on my part with these arrests, and the arrival of the President in Goma that day.

Regardless, certainly a place I will return to. I left frustrated, fascinated, and excited to come back.

Back to India Monday.

From Delhi to Dharavi

It’s been a busy few days but I am loving my job right now. I’m in Mumbai working on a couple assignments for various clients in Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum, which is home to more than a million people, mainly due to the Slumdog Millionaire hype. I’m here till Friday producing a multimedia piece, and shooting another still assignment for a national newspaper. In the meantime, I get to make pictures. Dharavi is a bit of a challenge for me considering the people who have been here and photographed this place. Three of my favorite photographers have set foot in Dharavi and done some incredibly inspiring work. I’m trying to look at it as a chance to document an incredibly important story whether or not it’s been done before. I’m trying to make it my own, and to enjoy being in one spot for a decent amount of time to simply document life. Throughout the week when I’m not shooting other assignments, I will be updating this gallery.

The Delhi dilemma

I am blogging this week for the News Photographers Association of Canada. Will be posting a similar version here as well, but please check out the full version on NPAC’s site.

Plain and simple. Today sucked.

The morning started with a trip to the Ministry of External Affairs Publicity Division.

To get to that you need to know a bit of the back story.
On Friday last week Natalie Alcoba, a friend and colleague who is taking a year leave from the National Post to travel and write, and I went to the Foreigner’s Regional Registration Office. After standing in line for an hour or so, we made it to the front just in time for lunch break at the FRRO. Promptly, everyone picked up and left and returned a half hour later to assist us.
We were there to extend our journalist visas, which are currently three months. Many people I know have come to India to work on tourist visas, but I felt it smart to take the journalist visa approach as I have heard story after story of people not being able to come back to the country after working as a journalist on a tourist visa. Google does wonderful things.
After meeting with the FRRO, we were sent to the Ministry of External Affairs as we were informed that a letter was needed from them to extend our visas. After arriving at the Ministry of External Affairs we were sent to the Ministry of External Affairs Publicity Division. It was closed. This brings us to today. I hope it sounds as confusing as it is.

Today we made it to the Publicity Division where we met with a man who gave us bad news. Chances of extending our visas were slim to none. Not going to lie, my heart sunk more than a little. I know it’s two and a half months away from expiration, but I really want to sink my teeth into a country, and am extremely interested in what India has to offer. From the day I got here I pictured India being a lifelong project. I am infatuated with the people, the country’s environment, and the divide of new and old, rich and poor.

I gave my pitch to the man at External Affairs, as well as the letters that I brought from my past employers who intend to use me as a freelancer. I was told the main concern is no one is responsible for me. I’m not part of a bureau, and the man stated his other concern was they don’t want journalists to move here who can’t sustain themselves, and start other businesses within the country.
I gave it my best. Told the truth, and made it very clear who I am and what I do and reiterated the fact that I have no plans on becoming a jewel merchant. All I can do now is cross my fingers, work hard in the time I’m here, and start to look at a plan b. I left the LA Times because I want to live, and work internationally. It’s just looking like India may not be the place I plant roots for long.
In the meantime the weekend was spent looking for places to live. After seeing 15 places, Sunday ended with a successful find in an area known as Green Park.

After the stomach sinking visit to the Ministry, we met our new landlord. Things went well in the end, after a bit of a stressful meeting. There were concerns such as visas, 11 month leases, wanting cheques rather than cash, and price negotiations, but in the end things worked out and we immediately moved upstairs. Nat’s room has a nicer toilet than mine, but alas, not battling that one.
Our hood is awesome. There’s an alley right beside our place loaded with merchants, and people cooking fresh street food. A cow walked in front of our place today, which made me more excited than most of the locals. Samosas run 3 rupees in the new hood(8 cents Canadian) and are the best I’ve found so far.

The day ended as unpleasantly as it started. India is amazing, communication wise. It’s very cheap to set up a cell phone and internet access via a usb modem that will work country wide. Unless you own a Mac.
We spent the rest of the evening going from internet cafe to internet cafe, hotel to hotel in search of wifi. Wireless was banned in all coffee shops and public areas after the Mumbai attacks. The night finished with traveling back to a hotel we had previously stayed 15 kms away from the new pad to send this blog post, and will be capped off with dinner and a much needed beverage.

Tomorrow is another day…