A group of villagers pump for water at the well/ © DANIEL LEWIS 2012
Arguably the most enjoyable part of the annual report shoot was engaging with the locals in Sierra Leone. We had the chance to meet some truly wonderful people in the south of the country where the mine was based. It is one of the conditions on which a company is granted access and permission to source minerals from the ground for Sierra Rutile (SR), as it is for most big organisations around the world, to contribute something to the local communities in which they inhabit. To illustrate this responsibility and commitment we visited a local school, a hospital and various farming establishments near to the rutile mine that had direct funding and backing from SR. The tight schedule meant that we only had a few hours over the week to concentrate on it, but we managed to shoot some lovely pictures.
One of my favourite images was taken at a hospital where a young boy by the name of Abdul was being checked over by his GP. There was a moment of great trust between patient and doctor, but also a sense of tenderness as well that I’m very pleased to have captured.
Another highlight of the community projects was a visit to a well that had been installed by SR. It was set on the edge of a village in a huge clearing area and you could sense that the task of bringing up water for families was a huge part of the routined day for most of them, so it seemed to me that the well itself was a huge social hub for the locals as they all gathered round to have their photograph taken. During my flight in the air steward told me that it was not a welcomed custom to point a camera at people here, that it was a religious no-no, and could potentially take the subject’s spirit away!! Not so with the people I engaged with – in fact I was frequently asked or even insisted upon taking portraits of these guys – particularly the children who absolutely craved a photograph.
I have included a selection of the community projects below in a slideshow….