If anyone doubts the power of still images to inspire action, I recently had a beautiful reaction to one of my images on the Niger Delta that appeared in the February 2007 issue of National Geographic. A woman named Betty, from upstate New York, was moved to action by my photograph of the boy carrying a smoking goat (see above). She has since sent him $500 and wants to send more so he will go to school permanently. The boy’s name is Paulinous Uko, 14, and he has 5 other siblings and lives in a very poor and rough slum of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He works in the Trans Amadi Slaughter, the largest abattoir in the Niger Delta, where he helps move the burnt carcasses of goats and cows. It is a horrible job in a nightmarish place. Betty was inspired by the image to figure out how to help him. She contacted my studio to obtain a copy of the picture and then went about, through her local church group, finding him through local church groups in Port Harcourt. It’s quite an amazing story and one that reminds me of the importance of this work, the goodness of people and the power of photography to catalyze change. Below are two images of Paulinous, one with a local nun and the other with his family in Port Harcourt. Betty obtained these images during her correspondence with him.
Categories: Notes From Ed