Lucia Domingos Artur shot by Maisie Crow. Image copyright Maisie Crow, courtesy of Save the Children.
Documentary photographer Maisie Crow has recently returned from Mozambique after spending three weeks with Save the Children developing a project on the impact of HIV and AIDS on children, a commission she won at last year’s Ian Parry Scholarship.
The new partnership between Save the Children and the Ian Parry Scholarship offers an additional prize to one of the young finalists of the competition. Crow is the first contestant to work with the NGO, carrying out a photography project on a subject matter or country that was of mutual interest to both her and the charity. Crow travelled out to Mozambique earlier on in the year.
Crow’s images are told through the eyes of nine-year-old Lucia Domingos Artur, who not only cares for her sick mother but also her younger sister. The family live in Morrumbala in the Zambezia Province of Mozambique, the poorest and most populated province in Mozambique. The rate of HIV and AIDS is extremely high in the area and results in the break down of family structures, leaving children with little or no care. Crow, as in much of her work, delivers an intimate portrait of Lucia and her daily life, highlighting her struggle with both sensitivity and depth. “I met with probably 25 families in an effort to tell a story on this particular issue. I knew immediately when I met Lucia and her mother that they had a story I needed to tell and from there, the relationship unfolded,” Crow explains to BJP.“I knew I wanted to tell the story through the eyes of one child in this situation.”
Often Crow’s work originates from the US, Ohio in particular, with previous projects such as Love Me and A Life Alone. There is a similarity in her previous work with this project, as she guides you through the details of her subjects lives the focus remains on the individuals narrative. “I think spending a lot of time with any one person over the course of a project can give you a different perspective on an issue as opposed to covering it in a more broad approach. I think that both ways are effective but give different results. I think there is a lot of value in trying to understand the particulars of one's story.”
Using a Canon EOS 5D MarkII to shoot the project, Crow addresses the struggles and difficulties of Lucia’s life yet also captures the moments where she can still behave like a child. Crow comments that, “I think it shows a glimmer of hope which is so important in this situation. That is what I think drew me to Lucia’s story specifically. She is a smart girl and if given even the slightest opportunity in life, I am fairly certain she will succeed. For her to be able to handle what she is dealing with and manage to act like a child in the few times she has the opportunity, shows great character.”
Crow brings a real depth to her work, capturing the people she photographs through both her images and the multimedia component she so often pairs with her projects, something she is currently developing for the Mozambique project. Resounding throughout her work is a real intimacy between the photographer and her subjects, which she develops sensitively within her projects. Working for the first time with the charity she comments that she would love to work with more NGOs and non-profits in the future, stating that, “Save the Children is a great organisation doing amazing things. It was an honour to have the opportunity to work with them on this project.”
This year the charity have selected Liz Hingley as the recipient for the Save the Children award. She will join a collective of British photographers who are working with the charity to document what poverty means for children in the UK.
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