WENDY STONE PHOTOGRAPHY
Wendy Stone has worked with the following organizations and NGO's in Africa, as a photographer and photo exhibition designer:
OLS, Operation Lifeline Sudan
UNDP, United Nations Development Programme
UNHCR, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
WFP, The World Food Programme
ICRC, International Committee for the Red Cross
The Rockefeller Foundation
The Ford Foundation
The Bernard van Leer Foundation
Association for Better Land Husbandry
Washington Times Magazine, The World & I
TICAH, Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health
The World Agroforestry Centre
CDC, Centers for Disease Control
PATH, Program for Appropriate Technology in Health
USAID, United States Agency for International Development
Family Health International
Project Concern International
Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa
International Livestock Research Institute
Falling in Love With Africa
My life-changing relationship with Kenya began with a miscommunication.
It was 1988. I was living in New York and got an exciting assignment to photograph Rockefeller Foundation grantees in East Africa for their annual report. When I arrived in Nairobi, I found that the Director was away on mission for another ten days.
So, there I was wandering around trying to figure out what to do with myself until the Director returned. Two days later I joined a road trip with fifteen backpackers in an open overland truck headed up to the Jade Sea (Lake Turkana) in a remote and desolate region in Northern Kenya. For the next eight days my camera never stopped clicking. I was in awe of the magnificence of the Kenyan landscapes, the proud and individualistic nomadic tribes, the amazing warmth and hospitality of the people and the stunning wildlife in the national parks. By the time I started the photo mission for Rockefeller I had already made up my mind that I was not leaving Kenya after the assignment.
Since that road trip to Turkana thirty-five years ago, door after door of opportunity has opened for me. Africa is still a source of wonder, a teacher that has helped me widen and deepen my skills, awaken my courage and my commitment to photography. I have traveled to more than twenty African countries working with many United Nations agencies, international aid and relief organizations, magazines and newspapers. I have had opportunities and adventures that are difficult to put into words-- but the photos say it all. My first experience working as a news photographer was in 1991 when Eastern Africa was front page news. Photographers and journalists were flying in from all over the world to cover the fall of Mengistu in Ethiopia, the civil war in Somalia and the relentless war in South Sudan. Recurrent famines and droughts plagued the region. I covered all of these stories with the enthusiasm of a new photographer on the scene. When I look at these photos now, I feel fortunate that my career is photography and that my work joins that of many others in providing a lasting visual image of the history and beauty, the universality and the uniqueness, of this extra-ordinary region of our world.
I traveled to South Sudan for many years during the war and documented the plight of the Dinka and Nuer peoples. My photos of the “Lost Boys” have been used in five documentary films and I was interviewed on Dateline News about my experiences with them. I have photographed the traditional lifestyles of the Mbuti Pygmies in the Ituri Rainforest in Congo, the Turkana people in the remote region of northwest Kenya, the elaborate ceremonies of the Maasai, and the Muslim traditions of the Swahili people along the Coast. Every photograph is an act of trust.
I worked as the regional photographer for the Ford Foundation in East Africa for twelve years photographing the work of their grantees work in the fields of community development, peace and social justice, health, education, and arts and culture. I photographed and designed several major photographic exhibitions for the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Agroforestry Centre. Africa stretched the boundaries of my experience and awakened my courage to keep growing and learning.
From exhibitions, I moved to books. My first photographic children’s book was published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books in London in November 2011 in collaboration with the writer Karen Williams. “Beatrice’s Dream: A Story of Kibera Slum" is a story of hope in the life of an AIDS orphan living in Kibera slum in Nairobi. I am so very happy to say that now Beatrice is living with her husband and two beautiful daughters in Nairobi and they are part of my extended family. My second book is self-published. It is called "Children of Africa" and it is a collection of 210 of my favorite photos taken over the years. It is available on Amazon books. I am represented by Getty Images.
While I have never lost the sense of awe that I feel watching a leopard or a family of elephant or a sunset in the wild, I have also deepened my respect for the people, urban and rural, old and young, who have been a part of this incredible journey of experience and documentation. Some of them have ended up in my photos. Others have been my teachers or friends. To all of them, I remain indebted and deeply grateful.