Would you go again?
Yes, er..no..er, maybe.
Yes, I would go again. I felt tremendously privileged to be given such access to an amazing country and people, not least because of the contacts made possible by those in and around our group. Other than the last few days when we did the game drives, it felt like we were not on the tourist trail and we were really able to get to know the people. As a photographer it was the first time I have been in a place where people generally act so openly towards being photographed. In the UK, the camera has become an object of suspicion and people are wary of being pictured as evidence of something. In Uganda there was delight, and not just from the children, as we took a photo and then showed the image on the back of the camera.
No, I wouldn't go again. I suppose I would be concerned about going back to Uganda and not having that same opportunity to spend each day concentrating on a place and trying to capture it in a RAW file. I certainly don't think I could go back on an off the shelf tourist package to do 'gorillas in the mist' et al. Neither do I think I could go back on one of the "mission trips" to build a maternity hospital or the like. It would seem far more fruitful to pay a local to build it so there is employment AND a hospital.
Maybe? I spoke to Francis, one of our drivers, and there would certainly be a way of going back and having a different experience but keeping the important elements that, even with two months of reflecting since I got back, energise my interest and desire to photograph. I would like to return to be able to spend some more time in the landscape, but for a whole host of good reasons, that was difficult on this trip...so, maybe. I was also inspired by the people I saw who were actively committed to changing their nation; not necessarily at the political level, but those who were building schools - that was certainly impressive.
I have started writing the next series of posts in which I hope to show some of the photographs that I brought back that I am really pleased with - not necessarily "exhibition" quality (a technically pleasing image which speaks for itself without the need for any external explanation). Some of them, inevitably, will be in those posts because they stir in me a memory of a moment or a person that I wish to retain.