Commissioned by WaterAid and 1854/British Journal of Photography as part of the WaterAid Climate Commission, the storytelling duo blend their distinct styles to create a nuanced portrait of the situation
In Catalina Martin-Chico’s World Press Photo of the Year-nominated image, former guerilla fighter Yolanda is photographed with her husband Michael in their home in the Colombian jungle. It is their sixth pregnancy, but for the first time, Yolanda will be delivering a baby.
Until three years ago, when a peace deal was signed with the Colombian government, Yolanda was a member of the country’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc). Pregnancy was forbidden, so many female members underwent abortions. Yolanda has had five abortions – her last pregnancy terminated at six months. “She feels that now, she deserves this baby,” says Martin-Chico.
On 7 September 2017, just before midnight, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake hit Mexico’s southern coast, the second strongest earthquake in the country’s history. It was felt by 50 million people across Mexico and, in the heavily affected states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, killed dozens of people and left over 100,000 homes damaged.
When the earthquake hit, Andres Millan was living in his hometown in Bogota, Colombia, preparing for a four-month residency that would start in November at Casa El Ocote, a gallery and cultural centre in Oaxaca. At quarter to midnight, alerts started to pop up on Millan’s mobile phone. When he switched on the news, the first image he saw was of the Mexican flag at the Municipal Palace in Oaxaca, lit up by lights coming from police cars.
My home is my castle references these first images that Millan saw from Colombia when the earthquake hit. “I wanted to recreate the light from the police car, so the photos are made with two flashes, one with a red filter and another with a blue one. The mixture of colours made the images acquire that pink colour,” he explains.
Pongo has won the prize for his ongoing series The Uncanny, which is shot in The Congo. Born in Belgium in 1988 to a Belgian mother and a Congolese father, Pongo started the project as an attempt to reconnect with his Congolese heritage. He first visited the country in 2011, staying with his Congolese family – most of whom he had never met before – and arriving as the DRC held its second ever democratic elections, for both Presidential and Legislative positions. “I am conscious that photographing in the Congo, as a photographer educated in Europe, reveals my own limitations (in accessing and understanding the environment), bias, and stereotypes,” he says. “However, by turning to a more personal story and documenting my confrontation with my family, the country, and by relying on friends and siblings to introduce me to their visions of this environment, I hope to be able to overcome some of these limitations.
No matter how hard you try, sometimes Arles can be just like Glastonbury (sans mud)…
Karen Paulina Biswell spent much of her upbringing in Paris, having moved there with her parents when barely a teen in the early 1990s to escape the political unrest and violent clashes plaguing her native Colombia. She now lives back in Colombia, and her provocative project on strong women is going on show at Les Rencontres d’Arles
With his stark black-and-white images, Spanish photographer Arnau Blanch takes us on a journey into…