A creative magazine did a short piece covering some of my work in East Africa.
Check it out @ http://www.lostateminor.com/2010/07/06/michael-trenerry/
So where to start? bureaucratic
I am back in Helsinki but I imagine not for too long before I kick-off to some stories I have in mind. I can say for sure that Nairobi was a Rollercoaster ride but in many ways, like anywhere, it depends very much on your surroundings! In the last few days, I actually had a ball so thank you to those that I was around for the fresh vision that Nairobi ain’t all that bad after all.
What I did find when there is that its not easy to plan things due to shitty internet and shitty reception on your mobile… So I figured due to my heightened blood pressure (at least I felt myself on the verge of hitting someone) that I would come back for some fresh air and relaxation to sort my head.
So now I am planning my next moves. Thanks to a few very helpful people in my last few days, I have made infinite connections in Eastern Congo in & around Goma so I am now in the process of planning this trip in detail. At this stage I am thinking about a few stories ranging from horrific conflict, to natural beauty to positive growth in some in regards to trade within Congo – stay tuned for more on this but don’t want to give too much away. Right now I am just networking and getting all my contacts to get the stories together.
I am also thinking of doing something in Eastern Europe down Chechnya / Georgia way on life and recovery after the war – this isn’t appearing to be an easy task but stay tuned for this…
Oh yes, sorry I didn’t write much in my last weeks in Nairobi but this was for a few reasons:
1) unclear head
2) serious censorship of sites down there so if I talk too much about what I want to do, it might not help me at all
3) personal issues while there…
What I did find there is a load of bureaucratic bullocks that is very hard to get around. Dealt with the likes of Department of Immigration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Refugee Council and so on… Very senior people also. What did I learn? Simply, don’t bother with these guys. They are so locked into their actions and making money of the poor, that they simply brush you off, pass the buck & don’t want anything to do with journalists… So in future, go around them, get someone else (major NGO or media) to deal with them for you, find a fixer to do it for you or even get your damn Mum to call them! Just don’t do it yourself…
I won’t write much more on that one simply because I will be back down there in the future.
What else? USAID – Bullocks… I mean, they are doing great things as far as food rations to Eastern Africa, but to deal with them as a photojournalist is a definite No No. Simply put, they ended up “nearly” coming through for me and sending me to Dadaab. We agreed that I would fly with them, they would put me up there etc… and in the end they said that they would own my photographs and that I couldn’t even use them for personal promotion in my portfolio or competitions! So in summary, I told them to F**K OFF and get realistic… I would love to help out any NGO in the area, but be realistic – its an exchange of skill sets and don’t ever give me “you are dealing with the US Government” shite… As they said the US Government would own my photos and I couldn’t even use them in my portfolio I backed out and told them where to go. I really hope in the future that I will work with some great NGO’s but only if its a two way deal – we both help each other & I get paid!
Anyway, enough bitching… I am back in Helsinki, happy (partially) with my experiences in Kenya & soon will be back that way for my DRC work… Stay tuned!
And for those of you in Helsinki – Let’s drink!
P.S – I’d like to personally stick my fingers up to Finnair! Sorry for those of you working with them but I did not pay for excess baggage to Africa from Helsinki with Blue1 or Kenya Airways and from London to Helsinki they, “Finnair” charged me 72 pounds… That is nearly 90eur for 8 kilos over! What has flying come too? Ryanair I understand giving shit service as they are cheap, but Finnair? Really, I did expect more & rude ground crew… Go f**K yourself!
I have been out of town developing business & appologies for anybody trying to contact me. If you need to get in contact, send me an email if my phone isn’t working and I promise I will get back to you in a split second :)
So here I am on the beach south of Mombasa on the south east coast of Kenya. Seems its off season as its basically me, a few families of monkeys (and I mean real monkeys), several dogs, a few cats & perhaps 8-10 actual paying guests in a resort that is about 30 acres or something like that. Its huge, fucking gorgeous and peaceful. I haven’t felt so relaxed for a while…
Not gonna talk about work, photography or anything like that today, as I am relaxing :)
Its good that its quiet as its giving me time to reflect and think about what next!
As I am a little hungover, I have uploaded a few basic photos instead of explaining the place to you. I’ll be here for a few more days & then not sure… But, many of you I will be seeing very soon on return to Europe so looking forward to those beers in Terrasi!
So without saying anything else… Here is a few photos. Actually, sorry to say, but this wordpress thing sucks & I don’t at this stage seem to be able to upload pictures so you can check them out in Facebook. And if you aren’t my friend in Facebook then you should be :)
Still waiting to find out if I’m going to get access to Dadaab Refugee Camp on the border of Kenya & Somalia. Please keep all your fingers crossed but its proving to be a big effort. Waiting for that call…
In the meantime, I’ve done some more work on my site www.michaeltrenerry.com.
Athi River, Dandoras Dump, Kibera, Mathare Child Development Centre for mostly orphans, the multimedia piece in Athi River & I have created a new project with snaps that I liked as individuals…
More to follow but now for some vino :)
Funnily enough I wanted a break from the corporate world of advertising and marketing because I got a little fed up with all the bureaucratic crap that goes alongside it. If only we could be creative thinkers without the unnecessary red tape all would be fine.
So why am I bringing this up in my blog focusing on photography & exploring the routes of being a photojournalist in East Africa? Because there seems to be more bureaucratic crap here than ever before. Well, it just seems that the buck keeps getting passed – corruption anybody? I have visited several official offices for a few reasons and seems I just get passed on to the next fuzz ball! Well, anyway its damn tiring & tests ones patience! There is a spot of hope though – seems there is normally one person at least who wants to help which is cool. I’ll get back to you on this but for auditing purposes I am leaving out the finer details due to censorship on the internet in this region by the government.
What else is happening? Thinking of taking a wee beach side break down to Mombasa now. The time has come and a fresh set of eyes is needed after seeing the slums and dirty parts of Kenya only so far… Just looking at a beach hut in a place called Diani where I can do some diving, chill on the beach and hopefully find a good beach bar where I can just chill & soak in some tunes in the sun.
Been here now over 4 weeks and it kinda feels a lot longer actually. Feels like I’ve been here for ages actually & while I am definitely meeting some interesting folk, I can say for sure that I highly doubt I will end up living here. I miss Europe and quite honestly, miss the comfort of being able to walk around. Starting to explore some ideas in Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Russia and then Southern Europe with asylum seekers so hopefully I have something to focus on when I return…
One picks up the newspaper in the morning here & front page title is death and despair. The sad part is that the outside world finds out very little about what shit goes on down here. Good or bad is the question?
Righteo, this boy has to find himself a cabana on the beach for a cheap price so laters!