As a task we were asked to listen to a podcast and write about the photographer that we had learnt about. I chose to look at Giles Duley as I had seen his work at one of the expeditions we had visited on a field trip.
Giles Originally worked as a professional Fashion and Music photographer for around 10 years in the 90’s however he left this field after he became disillusioned with celebrity culture, he then went and worked at a Bar and eventual started working as a full time career where he eventually rediscovered his craft and his ability to tell a story for those who have no voice to tell their own.
In 2000 he returned to photography and funded his own travel to go to other contires and document the world’s conflict in various different places.
I was able to find out that in 2011 Giles lost both of his legs and his left arm after accidently stepping on a IED (Improvised Explosive Device) in afganastan whilst he was on a routine trip with the US army. Less than 18 months later after this incident happened he returned to afganastan after being told that he would never walk again and that his career was over. His response to this was ‘I am still a photographer’
His return was also featured in a documentary called ‘Walking Wounded : Return to the frontline’. This documentary has also won awards. Since this Giles has gone on to win a few other awards. In 2013 he won the May Chidiac Award for Bravery In Journalism as well as also winning the AIB Founders Award for Outstanding achievement. In 2013 he was also made a Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.
The most recent work that he has done was the work he was commisioned to do by UNHCR to document the refugee crisis around europe in 2016, this then resulted in the creation of ‘I can only tell you what my eyes can see‘
The quote below is one that I found on the website of the Podcast, it is a quote from Giles himself about the the injuries he suffered from.
He also spent many years doing editorial photography, he mentioned that when he first started doing documentary work he felt as though he still needed to be told what images that someone else wanted ratehr than what he wanted to do himself.
‘Documentary photographs got too stuck in the world of magazines’
He mentioned that whilst he was doing his music photography he never felt like he was doing his own work because he wasnt alwasy sure on what he was doing, He said that he didnt know the term or the ‘talk’ of photographers as he had never done assisting or internships to gain skills. He then also talked about how he found himself taking photographs which he didnt enjoy doing, taking pictures of people he wasnt interested in and became increasingly bored of what he was doing. During the time of doing fashion photography he didn’t enjoy taking pictures of females in their underwear as it made him feel uncomfortable because he wasn’t enjoying the way women were being portrayed.
He went on to talk about how he just dropped photography and knew that he didn’t want to do what he was doing, so moved away from london, he goes into more detail about how at this stage he was at a low depression and fell out of love with photography and couldn’t even bring himself to look at pictures. After a couple of years of working with a young boy as a full time career, he spoke with their family and they discussed capturing his life and showing his story. This was one of the things that made him want to go back to photography. Seeing how photography could have an impact on someone elses life made him feel like this was his purpose. He also mentions the fact that this was his eurica moment when he decided that he could help someone elses life by taking photographs and documenting the worlds culture.
‘When we take photographs the story doesnt end when we leave’
‘My work wasnt done when I had finished taking photographs, my work was done when people were talking about the stories’
‘My role is to make sure that the right people see these stories, and that the right people engage with these stories, so that things are done’