Tonight in NYC is the opening of REVOLUCION(ES) - an exhibition of photographs from the Uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East put together by Cesuralab and MJR and held at the Instituto Cervantes. There are some fantastic photographers contributing. It runs till May 7th so if you're in the area please go check it out. I could go on at great length about what's going on in this part of the world, but I won't. For that you'll have to catch me down a pub after a couple of pints. Suffice it to say I am following closely from a distance. Respect to those reporting on the issue, and to those whose lives are directly engaged, stay safe and good luck.

I didn't think newspapers were about imagination

The other day I got sent a reminder from one of my employers about their ethical guidelines. Not me personally mind, but as a general blast to all their freelancers. Thinking about that, I sat down with the kids to watch a bit of TV.

Now I'm a big fan of the Wind In the Willows story, with it's straight moral compass, it's yearning for a simpler time and it's obvious love for the British class system. No, seriously, all that aside, I do love it. Watching the old TV episodes with my kids I came across one where Toad sets up his own newspaper, and I just had to share this little clip. This is one for all you journalists out there.

和 Photography Auction

This Thursday, April 21st will see an auction event in NYC that I'm pleased to be a part of. The auction will raise funds for Architecture for Humanity's efforts in the rebuilding of Japanese communities affected by the Tsunami.

There was some talk during planning of donating the funds to something other than just the relief efforts in Japan, but eventually we settled on Japan and specifically Architecture For Humanity as the original suggestion came from New York based Japanese photographer Shiori Kawasaki and we wanted to do something that would directly benefit these communities in a unique way.

It is true that Japan is regarded as a rich country, and that there are many other desperate people in need of help, but for me it's not about this. This was about a friend of mine wanting to help her home country in the wake of a natural disaster, and enlisting her community to help her achieve that. It's about bringing together people and organisations to do some good. When you have lost your home, your livelihood, maybe even friends and family, it matters not to me what your situation was before. You need help. For me this is an opportunity to help rebuild and improve. That is why the choice of AFH as the target of the fundraising effort is fitting. Their work is not just about buildings, it is about making improvements to the quality of people's lives through better design. That is something I am happy to support.

So, enough of the preamble and justification - here is the information.

A Photography Auction benefiting Architecture for Humanity
Japan Tsunami Relief
April 21, 2011 6-9pm
25CPW, 25 Central Park West, NYC
Advance tickets $20 -

Wa Project is pleased to announce a photographic exhibition and auction benefiting Architecture for Humanity’s rebuilding efforts following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The auction will be held at the
25CPW gallery in New York City on April 21 2011.

100% of the funds raised will be donated to
Architecture for Humanity's work in rebuilding devastated communities in the affected area. Partnering with Nuru Project, 25CPW and Sombra Projects, with contributions from the Magnum Foundation and Friends Without Borders, this auction event has already gathered support from the Japanese and photographic communities in New York and beyond. The night will be a celebration with a display of photographic art, music from Koto player Yumi Kurosawa, American folk band Thomas Wesley Stern and Japanese cuisine from Blue Ribbon as well as Soba-ya and Robata-ya of the T.I.C. group with liquid refreshment from Sapporo and Ito En. In addition, all ticket holders will be entered into a raffle.

Architecture for Humanity is a non-profit design services firm founded in 1999 working to build a more sustainable future through the power of professional design. By channeling the resources of the global funding community to meaningful projects that make a difference locally, each year 10,000 people directly benefit from structures designed by Architecture for Humanity. Advocacy, training and outreach programs impact an additional 50,000 people annually. From conception to completion, all aspects of the design and construction process are carefully managed. Clients include community groups, aid organizations, housing developers, government agencies, corporate divisions, and foundations.

The donated auction prints follow the theme of 和 (Wa). This ancient name for Japan also describes a cultural concept which underpins much of Japanese society. It has no direct translation in English, though the closest term that could be applied would be the idea of 'Harmony'. We are pleased to feature prints from a diverse range of photographers who have interpreted this theme in a variety of ways and provided us with a unique collection.

Sombra Projects

Last year Lucy Helton, Tiana Markova-Gold, and myself set up Sombra Projects as a platform for documentary photography and socially conscious art. This in itself was born out of numerous collaborative projects with our immediate community and was our attempt to create a formal organisation for these efforts. While we three are the current administrators, our inaugural exhibition at the New York Photo Festival involved the hard work of many people, and this is the spirit in which we aim to continue. Our goal is to facilitate projects that are not just showcases, but collaborations where the viewer, the subject and the photographer/artist/journalist are all part of a community and involved in the discussion. Recently we have started producing a series of projects updated monthly and available as pdf downloads from our website.

Our latest pdf is of Tiana’s recent work with The Fondation des Jeunes Haitiennes Optimistes in Haiti, a country she has a long standing relationship with both photographically and personally. The FJHO was founded in September 2009 by Jocelyne Firmin to help Haitian girls develop leadership skills, build self-esteem and reinforce their human dignity.

Direct link to the PDF download:

With an eye to the future, we are always keen to link up with people for possible collaborations – you can contact us at You can also sign up to our mailing list – – to receive updates and regular downloads of our featured projects.