Liberia77

Photography is connection.
Photography is history.
Photography is life.

Produced byStranger Productions

Project Updates

News and information about the Liberia ‘77 project.

Guys with Guns

We were in Liberia because my dad worked for Exchem, a subsidiary of Canadian chemical company C-I-L. (You might know their paint.) The Exchem plant supplied explosives to a couple of big iron ore mines in the country’s interior at Bong and Nimba. They also manufactured shotgun shells for the West African and European sporting market, i.e. hunting and skeet shooting. On the weekends, armed with fine Italian 12 gauges and a load of work perk ammo, my dad and his workmates would head out into the bush to hunt for pigeon. Local kids were hired as guides and retrievers, ensuring a Sunday night dinner of my mom’s great squab stew.

Cut to 5 weeks later…

Sure, the original idea was to keep this journal current during our Liberian shoot, but as internet access was as spotty as my bug bitten feet, it just didn’t happen. New media in Liberia is still pretty new.

A bunch of stuff happened in the last month – about 80 hours of video and 5000 photos worth. It’s a lot to process; digitally, physically, and emotionally. So this space will now become a testing place. For stories, for ideas, for images – and mostly for trying to figure out what this trip, and subsequent film, is all about.

But today it’s a place for thanks. Firstly, to all the beautiful people we met in Liberia – those who shared their stories and homes and hearts. Every new day brought someone amazing.

And a thanks to those reading this. For reading this. For all the encouragement, for reaching out and reinforcing my sometimes shaky belief in this value of this project. I’ve gotta admit I’m still not sure what’s driving it, and more often than not, I’m wracked by the self-indulgence and egocentricity of it all. But for it to work, I know it’s got to be bigger than me, and thanks to you guys, I’m starting to believe it just might be.

And an especial thanks to my big little brother Andrew and my friend (and colleague) Melanie, who sweated their asses off for the last month, and put up with my overheated brain (see above re: self-indulgence, ego and insecurity) to not only make a remarkable trip happen, but to also record it.

So yeah, sitting here tonight at the Sunset Grill in Kits Beach in Vancouver, one of the top spots on the planet, I’m thankful for a lot of things — for food (cheeseburgers, especially), for drinkable tap water, for my lucky life, and even for the internet — and I know that the end of this journey is just the beginning of another.

Keep you posted.

Jeff T.