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My recent Blog for the Charity Send-a-Cow.

https://www.sendacow.org/blog/uganda-through-my-lens

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Uganda through my lens

Capturing 30 years of Send a Cow in Uganda, by Darran Rees

39-year-old Olivia sits in the rudimentary kitchen of her mother Kasilina’s house while she is visiting with her children. She is trying to persuade her little boy to comb the doll’s hair but he’s not too sure about it. Behind her sits her 17-year-old cousin Stuart who was stricken and disabled with cerebral malaria when he was just three months old. One of Olivia’s four twin girls, Babirye, carries another cousin through the back door of this small basic two bedroom home where her 70-year-old mother has lived for over 20 years .

I had the opportunity to visit with this wonderful family during my recent 10 day shoot and commission for Send a Cow’s 30th Anniversary celebrations this year. I was there primarily to describe the stories of generational change brought about for, and by, the families who first received a cow from the UK 30 years ago. I had spent the night in a small tent outside the house making a kind of time lapse Night to Day image which told the story in one picture and then stayed with them throughout the morning making photographs of their family time together.

‘Darran Rees/The Operators’

Among all of the unique experiences I had and the hardships I witnessed during my visit to Uganda in January it was my time with Kasilina at her home that touched me the most. Despite a long life of hardship and sacrifice, Kasilina has met it with grace, resilience, fortitude and a strong faith.

This amazing woman has not only managed to raise her own family single-handedly and send them to school – as Olivia here can now do with her own young family – but is currently bringing up three of her own grandchildren, a young niece and two nephews, including disabled Stuart, who have all lost a parent. This picture for me encapsulates this in one moment observed, of a family whose life is in transition, a picture of hope and a picture of the future.

Seeing first hand throughout my journey the sheer strength and positivity of people despite their obvious disadvantages, their determination to do what one could – if not for themselves then for the next generation – had a strong effect on my work. To witness how this unique organisation has enabled such people, firstly in Uganda and now throughout Africa, to realize these potentials, believe in their dreams and to at least have what we have in the West – a chance – was inspiring.

By the time this is published, Kasilina and the kids will have moved into her newly built house overlooking the distant shores of nearby Lake Wamala. She informed me that would never have happened if “it were not that cow.”

Darran Rees

Kasalina in her kitchen

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January /February 2018

NGO Work in Uganda.

SAC. (Send-a-cow) 30th anniversary generational change commission.

It was a great privilege to be asked to take part in this celebration and to photograph individuals and families in Uganda who have been beneficiaries of the kindness, wisdom and education of this amazing charity started by a few UK based farmers 30 years ago this spring. As part of this years SAC 30th Anniversary generational change launch I spent most of January traveling throughout Uganda photographing outreach disability projects for SAC as well as meeting three families who’s lives have been changed over the thirty year period since they first received a cow from the UK. It was my brief to record visually- through photography how their lives and the quality of their lives have been enhanced since first working with SAC.

The banner image concept I came up with that hopefully tells the story in one shot is seen here. It shows the home and the family who received a cow 30 years ago. I spent 16 hours in a tent making a series of time-lapse stills outside Kassillinas’s house here.  Kassillina , on the right, resplendent in her orange Sunday best is seen with her daughter Olivia- her new baby and her two sets of young twins . Through SAC and the donated cow, families could afford to purchase a solar panel, their children could study after dark by the light it provided , they could go to a decent school and get a good education -all afforded by the bi-products of the cow, milk to sell, better fertiliser from the dung and more produce to sell as a result etc . Kassillina’s daughter was then able to get a decent job and in turn send her children to a good school ( seen here in their smart uniforms ).

  • Big thank you to Scott Freeman and The Operators in London for putting this together with me with their amazing post-production skills , and, more importantly giving their time free .

* More details , pictures and individual stories can be seen on my Instagram feed #darranrees  on the right of this screen.

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Olivia with her children in her Mothers kitchen

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Babirye in her Grandma’s kitchen

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Mt & Mrs Kizito & daughter Rose, then and now.

January / February 2018

Success in the International Fine Art Photo Awards

One of my pictures from the ‘There America ‘ series has been selected into this years Landscape Photography awards at the Centre for Fine Art Photography in America. The exhibition will take place in the main Gallery at the Carnegie Center for Creativity in Fort Collins Colorado June13-23.

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New Image of Liberty shipped.

My image chosen by the Liberty Ellis Island foundation in New York has just been shipped. This was made during a two day and evening shoot for Liberty Mutual  with a Phase IQ180 and thankfully a good stabiliser. Both allowing me to get high quality and grain free at relatively slow exposures at night – while hanging out of a Helicopter.

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The Ideal Home Show-London Olympia. April 2017.

I secured a press pass and spent a week in and out of London’s Great Olympia exhibition Hall making images of what is a unique and banal combination of visitors and exhibitors at the annual Ideal Home show. The subject necessitated I shoot in a slightly tongue-in-cheek way and influenced I think by one of my photographer heroes Martin Parr. Hoping to have these published and will update accordingly .