This project, and forth coming book, is a collection of images from Ghana and Malawi. They were photographed on multiple different trips over the course of several years. In both countries I was working as a cinematographer on NGO projects which all had small budgets and hectic shooting schedules. It felt like we were always sprinting from one shot, or, one location to another. Working this way left no time for the romanticized way I’d imaged myself photographing for these books… on peaceful walks, getting lost while exploring and capturing these cultures and communities. However I was still set on capturing images for the books so every trip I would bring a couple cameras and a bag full of film, determined to shoot every possible free moment.

After a couple trips to each country, I started to notice a similar aesthetic and tone to the two projects. Two countries, far apart, different cultures, different environments etc… I found it very interesting.  As I continued back and forth to each country I started to realize why. I realized that the pace at which I was working with the NGOs forced some very specific parameters on the images I had a chance to capture, and those parameters were exactly the same in both places.

The main thing it forced me to do was to be very proactive in shooting every second I could, and be constantly hunting for potential moments. Anticipating moments. This lead me to shoot at times I maybe wouldn’t choose to shoot normally. While driving for instance. Normally it feels almost impossible to just catch a great moment while speeding down the road, but it was some of the only time I had to shoot. So I had to approach driving in a new way to make interesting images. Another limitation was time of day. Since I was there working as a cinematographer, we were almost always using “the good light” for the production. So that left the less ideal light for me to shoot stills. Normally where you are photographing, golden hour is the magic time to shoot. I was however left with clouds, or rain, really harsh midday sun or even sometimes after dark when it was almost too dark to shoot. Limitations like these, on top of the intense pace, really shaped these images in a spacial way. Or at least in my eyes.

I realize all of this now, only in hindsight. It’s funny how that works most of the time. These trips didn’t go like I thought they would, and I’m really grateful for that. I was frustrated at the time but not only did I come away with some really special images, I also learned something pretty important about life. That’s why photography is so special to me. It’s not just the thrill or pleasure of making the work, it’s equally the muling over the work. For me, more often then not, the process teaches me less about craft or telling a story; it teaches me more about myself, and about life.