Documentary photography

Ryan Spencer Reed in Kakuma and the World

(c) Ryan Spencer Reed  Kakuma, Kenya "A dust storm rips through the huts of the Turkana tribe in the foreground with the tin roofs of refugee housing behind."

“A dust storm rips through the huts of the Turkana tribe in the foreground with the tin roofs of refugee housing behind.”

Documentary photographer Ryan Spencer Reed shot 56,000 photos in Sudan, South Sudan and Chad.   An exhibition of his work, Sudan: the Cost of Silence,  has been touring communities and universities across the country.  I contacted him as I was creating a presentation, “Children of War”, to ask if I might show one of his photos in communities where I present.  He told me this about his photos –

” These people trusted me.  They allowed me into their vulnerable lives. The work is a unique testimony. If I did not work to create awareness, it would not be seen. I learned I could create the work and find the market for it.”Ryan works closely with hosting colleges and communities to create conversations and bring groups together  with interest in bringing awareness about the continuing war in Sudan.  On his site he writes, “Work of this nature sheds light on global issues by capturing them on a human level in a way that simple statistics never can.”

The photo above is the village where I was in January.  It’s Kakuma, Kenya where Ryan caught the dusty landscape.  He writes:  “A dust storm rips through the huts of the Turkana tribe in the foreground with the tin roofs of refugee housing behind.” As barren as it appears,  the village and this endangered camp sustain  hundreds and thousands of lives.

Ryan’s current project awes me.  He is documenting  the current deployment of the 4th Brigade of the 101st Airborne, the “Band of Brothers” in Afghanistan:  Stands Alone. Ryan followed the training of the brigade and deployed with the for the first three months.  In our conversation I could tell how much he wanted to be with them still.

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