Photographing peacebuilders in Sri Lanka
February 8 2013: Stephanie Rose Wood, a London-based photographer, travelled Sri Lanka photographing local peacebuilders. In the first part in a series of blog posts, Stephanie shares her work.
Stephanie Rose Wood is a photographer based in London who got in contact with Insight on Conflict last year to ask our advise concerning a project that she wanted to begin in Sri Lanka. Stephanie was interested in organisations that supported women who had been affected by the war and wanted to find out more about the possibility of working with these organisations whilst producing a photographic story.
Insight on Conflict put her in contact with a number of people. However, due to the political tensions at the time concerning NGO’s working with foreigners, Stephanie decided that it was the wrong time to begin the project, as she was sympathetic to the potential problems that this would cause. Stephanie re-evaluated her plans and decided to travel to Sri Lanka in April 2012, treating it as a research trip. Whilst in Sri Lanka, Stephanie travelled to the Eastern, Northern and Central Provinces and met people that were involved in community-based organisations, photographing her travels and some of the people that she met. Stephanie explains her project:
The photographs were produced whilst on a research trip to Sri Lanka in April and May 2012. This explorative trip was initially focussed on the aftermath of a war that lasted nearly three decades. Once in Sri Lanka I realised I could not create a collection of images portraying the country’s troubled past. Instead, I turned my attention to people’s ideas for it’s future and the positive movements that people at a grass roots level were making. Photographed are those who have committed themselves to providing support to others through community based organisations. The subjects are all of different backgrounds and experiences, they all wish for the same thing, peace and understanding.
The photographs were taken using a large format field camera. The camera, despite it’s large size and peculiarity invokes an inquisitive reaction rather than an intimidated one. The slow and methodical process encourages the sitter to relax, giving me the opportunity to engage with my subject and encourage a much more mindful photograph.
Stephanie is currently raising funds so that she may to return to Sri Lanka to work with NGO’s within photography and education whilst continuing with the photographic story. You can keep up to date on the project here. Featured below is a selection of her photographic work from the trip.
More from the blog
Nerea Bilbatua tells the story of Froilyn Mendoza, the woman chosen to represent the Teduray in the Philippines peace process. Read more »
Nerkez Opačin reports on the unique way in which Sarejavans are remembering the victims of the Bosnian war. Read more »