Posts Tagged ‘Photojournalist’

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

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…