Focus Philanthropy | Carol Allen Storey
Name: Carol Allen Storey
Location: London, England
Years in the business: 12
Years working in/for non-profit: 10
Describe your work:
My photographic practice specialises in chronicling complex humanitarian and social issues, especially amongst women and children. The images created are intimate, about citizens and issues I deeply care about. My aim is to provide a voice to the disenfranchised, to illuminate their struggles and dignity. I believe photographs may not be capable of doing the moral work for us, but they can trigger the process of social consciousness.
What’s the attraction to philanthropic work?
I am compelled to work in the philanthropic sector because it allows me the privilege to be engaged photographically with issues that I emotionally embrace, with the optimistic aim that the images can lubricate opinion and action for the good as many iconic images historically have achieved.
Philanthropic work profoundly allows the ordinary citizen of the world living with extraordinary circumstances to be ‘seen’ amongst the tidal wave of the celebrity dominated media and to create an epoch visual platform for debate of social, political and environmental issues affecting the human race.
Where was the last place you travelled to?
What is your favourite photograph that you have ever taken and why?
A favourite photograph of mine is of a young African boy in tattered rags lovingly embracing a tiny 6 month old baby he has adopted whose mother died of AIDS. Muzamiru is 10 years old, a runaway from a violent father who savagely abused his family. He ran away from the cruelty at age 5. He lives rough with a ‘tribe’ of young boys in the bush.
Although the image at first glance depicts the perversity of poverty of innocent children, there is also an intense noble atmosphere of a beautiful child, looking like a young Adonis caring for a baby, which I find both emotive and elegant.
Who is your inspiration?
I draw my inspiration from a variety of disparate influences – classical music, especially Mozart’s violin symphonies, speeches of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, paintings of Cezanne, Caravaggio, Edward Hopper … The photographers that have had the greatest influence on my work are: W Eugene Smith, Tom Stoddart, Mary Ellen Mark, Bruce Davidson and Larry Towell. They have created images that have a quiet dignity, possess immense visual poetry, whilst telling powerful stories that engage the viewer compassionately. I never tire of looking at their images and always learn something new with each experience. Lastly, the words of the anthropologist Margaret Mead – “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
Carol’s Philanthropic Projects
Current Project No. 1:
Title: FRACTURED LIVES – the aftermath of genocide
A photographic Journal illuminating the plight of Rwandan citizens rebuilding their lives post 1994 genocide
This photographic project focuses on the daunting task of rebuilding a fractured society through the eyes of the perpetrators, ex-combatants and survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide along with the vulnerable generation of young Rwandans growing up in an atmosphere clouded by conflict.
The aim is to compose an intimate visual profile of these citizens progressing survival in the aftermath of a brutal war. Most photographic essays illustrating genocide in Rwanda have depicted the victims’ suffering and grief, few in-depth stories have portrayed the actual every day lives of not only the survivors, but from the perpetrator’s vantage and their challenges re-entering society after being incarcerated in jail, or departure from many years in the military. This project strives to illustrate a more inclusive view. The ‘journal’ will provide a fresh view of what is happening in the region to re-kindle press interest of the long-term implications of war and the solutions on the ground to rebuild the lives of the citizens.
How to get involved (donate or other): www.international-alert.org/about-us
Current Project No. 2:
Title: The RED badges of courage
The HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa is growing exponentially, fuelled by ignorance, poverty and promiscuity. One of the significant obstacles in conquering the spread of this intrusive killer has been stigma.
In Tanzania, many primary school students are forced to wear red badges sewn on their uniform denoting their AIDS/HIV positive status. The children’s immense sense of isolation, is imaginable, all déjà vu of Hitler isolating the Jews into ghettos and the enforcement by the ‘political police’ that they had the yellow Star of David sewn onto their clothes. Human dignity was ignored then as it is today and the world stands by silently. This horrendous infringement of children’s rights is a blight on society even if it is without malice!
The aim of this essay is to bring pressure through lobbying and press stories of an unacceptable practice of identifying children living with AIDS and the shame that this custom continues unabated and ignored by government agencies to rectify.
External Links: http://www.pasada.or.tz/FW_Flashintro.htm
Current Project No. 3:
Title: ‘ROUGH LIVING’ the spectacle of poverty amongst african children
The impoverishment of Africa has propagated the continent with an emerging underclass of runaways and orphans. They roam the back streets, live rough, exist on a diet of rotting foods, addicted to drugs, alcohol, gamble and steal. Their future is bleak. Africa is staggering under the load of this emerging new ‘tribe’. The habitual poverty, lack of self-esteem, motivation, and stifling boredom is endemic in their daily life. What hope can disenfranchised children have without parents, shelter, education, and moral guidance? Children as young as 5, living in a sub-human environment is a breach of children’s rights as guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
To illuminate the plight of abandoned children, runaways, ex-child soldiers living rough in a conflict region as they pursue survival in a hostile environment. Theirs is a life without aspiration unless they receive support to alleviate their catastrophic set of unwarranted circumstances. The photo essay triggered a charity to be started by a retired British vicar who saw the images and used them to start a web site for the newly formed charity – ‘Kasese Street Kids’. The result is from funding monies raised; a youth hostel has been built to house the children. A training centre is also planned to help these children have practical skills for their future. The centre will require further funding.
Current Project No. 4:
Title: 'RELUCTANT’ sex workers
This is a story of widowed women who out of their quest for survival reluctantly become sex workers. These women aren’t hardened professionals soliciting business; they are desperate women who have no means to support their family since their financial platform was dismantled after their husbands died. It is to them that the burden falls to raise families, in a culture in which women have no clout, no means to alter their inexorable destinies. Their only choice is to sell their bodies, mostly for a meagre sum to alleviate the pain of hunger, a daily hammering challenge. Sex for survival.
This essay is about the consequences of unabated poverty where there is no support. Theirs is a universal story of women all over the world that out of desperateness seek a life of prostitution. My aim is to provide a voice for these women, to alter prejudice about their human condition and perhaps instigate support to break their cycle of desolation
This is a personal project from a 5 year self-funded project called ANGELS at the edge of darkness. All about women managing the agony of poverty and AIDS.