Thursday, February 27, 2014

Saturday, February 22, 2014

District 11, Saigon

While filming today, 9 year old Le Phuoc curiously watched on and asked questions about our camera gear. While the camera was rolling, he would stand behind it and make sure all was running smoothly. While I was rolling film with a long lens (a task which can require some stamina after a while), Phuoc tried to take pics with my other small camera which I had wrapped around my shoulder.

While the camera was still rolling, he beckoned me to join him. He kept pointing around the corner. Unfortunately, I was busy working, so I had to wait while he frantically tried to convince me to come around the corner. Finally, the last frame was framed and shot. I went around the corner to join him.

Sitting around the corner was his brother. The only way to describe the site, heartbreaking. The 13 year old boy sat without pants while his mother fed him food. She described how they lived in a rented house by the river. She said the place was dirty and often infested with mosquitos. Through the interview which we had just been filming, I had learnt that in the monsoonal seasons, rainwater from the canal that sat adjacent to the rented family home would often flood; filling the place with putrid rotting rubbish and plastic refuse. The boys name was Le Ngoc Chai. He was both deaf and dumb. His mother said that he was like a stone which urinated and defected. His mother fed him when she saw fit because he was unable to signal when he was hungry. The family received no concessions from the state or non government organisations.

Ngoc Chai's family obviously love and care for him. It is so sad to see a fellow human in such a sorry state.

Le Phuoc, 9.
Le Ngoc Chai, 13. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Pre-Election Violence

1 February, Lak Si, Bangkok, Thailand. 

'Respect my Vote' and pro-government protestors gather at Wat Laksi, Bangkok to protest antigovernment protestors blocking access to election ballot papers. At approximately 3 pm, the pro-government protestors moved towards the building which contained the papers. 

Antigovernment protestors amassed at the top of the road which the ballot papers were in. Pro-government defenders picked up poles to defend the rest of the pro-government protestors.  

Antigovernment protestors fortify the road leading to the government building containing ballot papers. Slightly off frame was a man who had a blanket around him. The antigovernment guards told us he had a cough. It was pretty obvious he was concealing a weapon. 

Antigovernment protestors drove to the intersection which the red protestors had settled. Angry pro-government protestors started throwing rocks and improvised explosives at the antigovernment protestors.

Antigovernment protestors responded with gunfire. This red protestor had a bullet graze his rib. 

Antigovernment protestors crouch to take cover from rocks and improvised explosives.

An antigovernment protestor takes cover and keeps watch for red shirt protestors.

Antigovernment protestors start firing with an automatic rifle.

Antigovernment protestors fire an automatic rifle. 

James Nachtwey shortly before he was shot through the leg. Fortunately, no serious damage was done and he was back shooting the next morning.

An antigovernment protestor uses a slingshot to fire fireworks and improvised explosives. 

An antigovernment protestor fires a submachine gun. 

Photographer Nikolaj Svennevig runs for cover after gunfire escalated where we were taking cover.