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I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

A young boy swims at the beach during sunset on the island of Tarawa, Kiribati.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

A young boy rests beneath a tree outside his house after falling over whilst playing with his friends. Due to the lack of space on the islands and the massive overpopulation on the main island of Tarawa, rubbish and junk has become a major social and environmental problem for the I-Kiribati.

As you can see on his left knee, he has a fresh wound from cutting himself on some pretty serious metal. The majority of I-Kiribati have very scarred legs (and other parts of their bodies) due to growing up surrounded by and playing in rusting cars, on old fences and all manner of pretty dangerous rubbish. Only recently in the past decade have local communities started to implement a garbage collection system, and have cordoned off an area of the island to use as a tip.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

On my final night in Kiribati, I went down to the beach to see my final, astonishing sunset. A bunch of kids were swimming and playing in the water, so I went over to see what they were up to. This girl was 'it' in a game of hide and seek, so was counting before she could get up and chase her friends. She wasn't the best however at not peeking..

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

I was wandering around Betio, the poorest town on the island of Tarawa, Kiribati, when I saw this man pumping water from his well in preparation for cooking lunch.
The only source of fresh water on Kiribati for most locals is sourced via well, either their own or communal ones. Due to climate change however, rising sea levels are contaminating the water table underneath the islands, so the locals are running out of sources of fresh clean water. Every time there is a king tide (which used to be once a year, but is now increasing in frequency) the islands flood, and the salt water pours into the wells, kills their crops, and ensures that the fertile ground that they grew crpos on is now soaked with salt. The people of Kiribati face some very hard decisions in the coming years.

 

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

A portrait of a young boy who lives in the poorest slum of Kiribati, located in the town of Betio on the south island of Tarawa.

 

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

A father and daughter sit on the stoop of their beachside house, which they have built amongst the ruins of a Japanese WW2 gun emplacement.

These huge gun emplacements were built to defend the Japanese held Kiribati, which was captured to sever the USA’s trading and military routes across the Pacific Ocean in the 1940s.

On the 20th November 1943, the US beseiged Kiribati for 4 days in what is now known famously as the Battle of Tarawa. 

Destroyed cannons, bunkers, rusting tanks and other debris still litter the island and beaches and have progressively been incorporated into the local’s lives.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

In my final few days staying on Tarawa, the main island of Kiribati, I drove north across old Japanese causeways built during WW2, through villages and coconut plantations in an effort to reach the northern half of the island where there was a lot less population density than the intense crush of Betio. I waded across the split between north and south Tarawa at low tide carrying all my gear with my two assistants as we began our trek through the tropical jungle in search of interesting faces and stories. The first village we came to we were approached by about 12 kids curious as to what the Imatungs (foreigners) were up to. This young girl was incredibly excited to have her picture taken outside her house while her friends huddled around me laughing at every photo of her. It was a really genuine and fun experience for something so simple and innocent.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

Two kids escape the midday heat inside their house in Betio, Kiribati.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

Due to the remote nature of the Kiribati islands, it’s hard (and very expensive) to both import and export goods - which includes rubbish and non-biodegradable waste. Broken down, abandoned vehicles that have been stripped of all their usable parts are strewn across the islands, where they become a playground for the local kids.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

This shot pretty much speaks for itself; just an adorably cute kid playing on the steps of a local under-construction church while his parents played bingo in the Maneaba (communal meeting building) behind me.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

This man is a coconut farmer. Due to the gross lack of space in South Tarawa and the overpopulation of the island, there leaves little room for agriculture or traditional farms. The main export from Kiribati are their coconuts and the crude coconut oil called copra. Due to the almost permanent humid conditions and tropical location of the islands, coconut trees flourish in Kiribati.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

As I was taking photos of the kids from the deaf class, word spread around the school that such an event was taking place, and within minutes I had a queue around the building of students (and teachers) wanting portraits. This lady was one of the last teachers to get her photo taken after being pushed onto the bench by her colleagues. I'm amazingly thankful she was though because she had one of the warmest smiles I've seen. To me, I find the most power in a portrait comes from subtle expression; where the connection is understated but conveys a lot. Even the briefest encounters can yield powerful insights into people's personalities, and I think this woman is no exception.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

Another incredibly animated character, this girl iss also a student from the deaf class.
So. 
Much.
Sass. 
She's 12 years old and you could tell from how she interacted with her classmates and teachers that she was a real firecracker. An absolute pleasure to make her portrait, she was having a great old time pulling all kinds of expressions and just being a general goof, but when it came to her smile that's where the magic was. The I-Kiribati people are famous for their smile, and I now know why.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

Biibii, another student at the school is in the youngest of the 3 classes for deaf students. She is deaf in her left ear, and also has a condition (Waardenburg syndrome) that affects some people with hearing loss in that one of her eyes is a brilliant blue colour when usually she would have 2 brown eyes.
The amount of preventable health conditions prevalent in Kiribati is directly related to the limitations of such a large population living in such a confined area. The density of South Tarawa is comparable to New York and Tokyo's population in the main parts of the city, however the infrastructure is non-existent. A large percentage of the population is unemployed and live in abject poverty. Due to the lack of sanitation, the poorest people relieve themselves in the lagoon in the centre of the island, and anywhere else they can find. These same people also fish, bathe and swim in the lagoon, which breeds high levels of e-coli and other bacteria due to the contamination. This constant exposure affects kids, adults, and future generations as diseases are easily and quickly spread between communities, which makes it very hard to control outbreaks.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

This boy is 12 years old, and is a student in the deaf class. Oh boy what a character! Within 1 minute of arriving in the classroom, I was bombarded by the kids signing furiously in my direction, all seemingly arguing over something. The teacher explained that they were fighting over what my nickname should be, and this boy's amazingly eccentric and flamboyant gestures won out to give me my sign language nickname (which ended up being based on my haircut). This guy's smile was an absolute delight, it would totally light up his face and was truly infectious. For someone whose main form of communication is sign language, I'd never thought it possible to be able to communicate personality so clearly through movement, but as he spoke to me that assumption just blew away.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

This boy is 6 years old and is a student in the class for the vision impaired. As I took photos of lots of the other kids, he was loitering around clearly wanting his own picture taken, but every time I offered he hid away shyly. With some (a lot of) encouragement from the teachers, he took a seat and allowed me to make his portrait

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

The majority of the students that attend the Kiribati School and Centre for Children with Special Needs are from the poorest families in the country, who would otherwise not be able to afford to send their kids to receive any formal education. Luckily due to various sponsorship programs and fundraising efforts by the amazing team responsible for managing the school's affairs, kids are able to receive an education to give them a shot at a better life than their circumstances would have allowed.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

With the highest paid person in Kiribati being the President, and that salary being $30,000 AUD per annum, it gives you an idea of the scope of how hard it is to make a 'profitable' living. Most foods are imported from Fiji, along with all manufactured goods, petrol, and all other main essentials that aren't available or possible to be sourced from the islands. When I arrived in late June, there was a petrol shortage on the island, as the tanker had been delayed in Fiji for a few weeks, and as a result they were rationing the petrol that was left. For 80,000 people to be rationing a commodity that we as Australians (and the majority of the world) take for granted was a pretty big wake up call to me. We aren't used to having someone tell us 'no, that isn't available, not here, not in the next block, not the next suburb, not in the entire country'. It bursts a bit of a reality bubble to realise that at some point things will run out, even for a short while. Amazing that we get so accustomed to having everything available at our fingertips all of the time, and the most inconvenienced we get is when it's a half an hour drive away. Sometimes it's nice to be told that what you're after is gone - reminds you what value you place on things and where your priorities should lie.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

Yet another example of the famous I-Kiribati smile.
For all the comforts and luxuries that we enjoy and take for granted in Australia (and elsewhere around the world), it's spiritually refreshing to visit to countries and places where the quality of life is so far removed from what you are used to, yet the communities have such joy and happiness ingrained in their culture. It's almost as if all of the distractions we have in our Western lives have pushed out the pure experiences that are to be had from the simple joys of community living; singing, dancing, and just enjoying others company. There's a lot to be learned from communities such as the people of Kiribati

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

Another beautiful Kiribati smile.
Regardless of the obstacles that the I-Kiribati people face, they are effortlessly happy, genuine and welcoming people that have such a rich and unique culture it's a shame that more people aren't experiencing it. As the 3rd least visited country in the world, they get an average of 4000 tourists a year. Walking around the main island of Tarawa I would rarely encounter another Westerner, and the friendly waves from strangers and wonderful hospitality of people lounging in the open walled community meeting centres (called Maneabas) was amazing. If you're looking for an off-the-beaten path trip to meet some amazing people in a beautiful part of the world, I couldn't recommend it enough.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

The Kiribati School and Centre for Children with Special Needs provides education and assistance to the poorest of children and young adults from around Kiribati. They rely on donations, and funding from both local and international organisations to ensure that the children most marginalised in the Kiribati culture are given the opportunity to keep pace with their peers in a school specially catered to their needs. Unfortunately, people with disabilities in Kiribati are often marginalised by the community, with some being effectively shunned by even their families. Luckily, there are services such as the school that provide opportunities to people with disabilities who otherwise may have never been able to attend school, learn to speak or count, or even interact and form relationships with other people who share similar disabilities. Only in recent years has a 'deaf club' been created by the school for people with hearing difficulties to come together to learn sign language, socialise and participate in other activities. In only a few short years the club has thrived with people who otherwise would never have had anyone to speak to, and has prompted very vital discussion amongst the community of the importance of supporting people with disabilities.

 
I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

Another contagious, beautiful smile from the inspirational kids at the Kiribati School and Centre for Children with Special Needs. I only got to spend 3 days at the school, but the amount of hospitality they showed me and friendly nature everyone had made it feel like I had known them all for a much longer time. It's not often you meet people you get along with straight away, however due to the nature of their culture, most I-Kiribati are so welcoming it's hard to forget you might have only met them recently.

I-Kiribati Series

I-Kiribati Series

Fun fact - new research suggests that facial expressions are innate, and not learned. This includes things like happiness, disappointment, and achievement. What IS learned is how we manage our emotional reactions.
While photographing the students in the blind class, it was a real treat to see first hand this in practice. Most of the children have been blind from birth, but the way that they were interacting with their classmates and teachers, and even the facial expressions that they were pulling were quite surprising given they have never seen another person smile or pull a silly face.

  Self-portrait on a rocky mountain top on the very edge of the Gobi Desert, Mongolia.

Self-portrait on a rocky mountain top on the very edge of the Gobi Desert, Mongolia.

  Self-portrait in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia.

Self-portrait in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia.

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Sephora

Sephora

Production company: Hogarth Australia

Agency: WPP AUNZ

Sephora

Sephora

Production company: Hogarth Australia

Agency: WPP AUNZ

Barnardos Mother of the Year

Barnardos Mother of the Year

Production company: One20 / Ogilvy Sydney

Agency: Ikon

Barnardos Mother of the Year

Barnardos Mother of the Year

Production company: One20 / Ogilvy Sydney

Agency: Ikon

Barnardos Mother of the Year

Barnardos Mother of the Year

Production company: One20 / Ogilvy Sydney

Agency: Ikon

Primary Healthcare - Kevin Bullen.png
Primary Healthcare Limited

Primary Healthcare Limited

Production company: One20 / Hogarth Australia

Agency: The Hallway

IMG_6298_Edit.jpg
Australian Government - Domestic Violence Campaign

Australian Government - Domestic Violence Campaign

Production company: One20 / Ogilvy Sydney

Agency: Ogilvy Sydney

Australian Government - Domestic Violence Campaign

Australian Government - Domestic Violence Campaign

Production company: One20 / Ogilvy Sydney

Agency: Ogilvy Sydney

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Jim Fishwick21907.jpg
IMG_4879Edit.jpg
IMG_5607_Edit.jpg
Ogilvy Australia

Ogilvy Australia

Production company: One20 / Ogilvy Sydney

Agency: Ogilvy Sydney

Ogilvy Australia

Ogilvy Australia

Production company: One20 / Ogilvy Sydney

Agency: Ogilvy Sydney

Nomads Series

Nomads Series

As is with most places in Mongolia, you can drive all day and not see a soul, then spot some Gers (tent houses) in the distance, pull up, walk inside (without knocking!) and the Nomads will welcome you like a long lost friend. We stayed with this woman and her family near a giant waterfall we found, and I asked her if I could photograph her tending to her yaks to which she agreed. The hospitality of the Mongolian people is amazing.

Nomads Series

Nomads Series

We had stopped for lunch when this Nomad rode up to say hi and have a chat. I asked if I could make his portrait and he was pretty chuffed to get a pic with his bike.

Black Series

Black Series

1/5

Black Series

Black Series

2/5

Black Series

Black Series

3/5

Black Series

Black Series

4/5

IBM Watson Melanoma Detection

IBM Watson Melanoma Detection

Production company: One20 / Hogarth Australia

Agency: Ogilvy Sydney

IBM Watson Melanoma Detection

IBM Watson Melanoma Detection

Production company: One20 / Hogarth Australia

Agency: Ogilvy Sydney

IBM Watson Melanoma Detection

IBM Watson Melanoma Detection

Production company: One20 / Hogarth Australia

Agency: Ogilvy Sydney

IBM Watson Melanoma Detection

IBM Watson Melanoma Detection

Production company: One20 / Hogarth Australia

Agency: Ogilvy Sydney

IBM Watson Melanoma Detection

IBM Watson Melanoma Detection

Production company: One20 / Hogarth Australia

Agency: Ogilvy Sydney

IBM Watson Melanoma Detection

IBM Watson Melanoma Detection

Production company: One20 / Hogarth Australia

Agency: Ogilvy Sydney

IBM Watson Melanoma Detection

IBM Watson Melanoma Detection

Production company: One20 / Hogarth Australia

Agency: Ogilvy Sydney

Killfloor Series

Killfloor Series

Part 6/6
My final portrait in this series is of a man named John, who works in the Boning Room. As I was touring the facility I noticed John across the room at his table with a few other workers, slicing away with their blades and chain-mail protective gloves. John was of particular interest to me as he had the look of a man I just wasn't expecting to see working at an abattoir (stereotypes huh?). An older Italian man, with a piercing stare and cheeky grin, he was the epitome of old-school work ethic. He was very gracious to allow me to make his portrait, and he is a fine example of the kind of people who work in the Australian meat industry. Intelligent, welcoming and happy people who worked hard and do jobs that few of us could stomach doing, let alone imagining. 
I met some really wonderful, beautiful people at an abattoir; not a sentence I'd ever expected to write, but no less true.

Killfloor Series

Killfloor Series

Part 5/6
Here is Tanya, a lovely lady who works in a department called Value Added.
What I found amazing walking around the abattoir is how many people were involved in the process. I'm talking hundreds and hundreds of people completing specialised tasks in a huge refrigerated warehouse that looked like a sterile, meat-filled willy-wonka factory. There's gangplanks with multi-tier levels where different people slice the different cuts of meat from varying parts of the carcass. There are hundreds of custom machines that do incredibly specialised tasks, like peeling the leather from cattle, or a large chainsaw to split the carcasses in two. I won't forget seeing the industrial sized, ceiling mounted vacuum cleaner to remove the spinal column - wow. The feats of engineering and refinement that have gone into making this process so streamlined are incredible, truly incredible.

Killfloor Series

Killfloor Series

Part 4/6
Meet Brienna, she works in the Boning room along with Karen.
The most confronting thing about the meat industry that I found while visiting the abattoirs was the sheer volume of meat that was being processed each day. The demand is such that Australia wide in May alone, 1.98 million lambs were slaughtered. That's ONE month's produce. In the same month 839,000 cattle (including calves) were killed. I'm a meat eater (lover), and even I was quite turned off by these numbers. If there's any one point that sticks with me most from my time at the abattoirs is that reducing our meat consumption should be high on people's agendas.

Killfloor Series

Killfloor Series

Part 3/6
This is Darren, and he works in the Offal room where they deal with the livers and kidneys.
I had some stereotypical misconceptions before I visited the various abattoirs, and was pretty hesitant about what I thought I was going to see; however the experience was pretty much the polar opposite of what I was expecting. The industry is so heavily regulated and modern, the efficiency of the job and the humane ways that the animals are treated was very reassuring. Sure, they are being led to their ultimate demise, but having seen the process, there doesn't seem to be any way in which it could be made better for the animals, save for shooting them while they eat unaware in a paddock. 
The practicality of this though is very slim as it discounts the entire efficiency of the abattoir's systems and procedures, which allows them to process hundreds of animals a day.

Killfloor Series

Killfloor Series

Part 2/6
Here is Karen, and she works in the Boning Room where the fresh carcasses are conveyor belted in on hooks to be disseminated by hundreds of staff. The production line and efficiency of the practices that I saw were truly incredible.

Killfloor Series

Killfloor Series

Part 1/6
Adam, from the Killfloor of an abattoir in north western NSW, Australia.