Aura, Oxford

Finishing a B-Tech course in Dance, she hopes to complete a foundation course in Sweden.

Aged 18, she's aware of the fact that such opportunities like this in Guatemala are either very rarer or completely non-existent and is grateful for her current privileges.

She sometimes thinks about what her daily life would be like if she had not been put up for adoption.



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"In each case, prospective parents paid tens of thousands of dollars in fees. All that money fuelled a lucrative adoption industry in Guatemala, and an underground trade in abducted children. It got so bad that Guatemala halted all new international adoptions in 2007. The country's been trying to reform its broken system ever since. But there are still a lot of questions about what went on in the past, and about one case in particular." - https://www.pri.org/stories/2015-01-08/one-girls-controversial-adoption-and-what-it-says-about-guatemalas-broken

Although the above statement is true as is one of the reasons for the closure in 2007, I find that many so called experts have often always pushed that as the only reason, and is often perceived as the only thing that happened in Guatemala.

Many fail to remember that many legitimate adoptions did also happen.

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Interviewing Children who originate elsewhere yet now live in the UK, managed to collect many interesting background stories from the point of view of one child from each country.

Although her website contains snapshots of her interviewees, she also conducted interviews of each subject for Channel 4.

I really liked this idea and thought I could recreate a version of my own except focuses with children specifically adopted from Guatemala. As this is my own past too, I'm aware of a key organisation/charity that aims to support both parent and other adopted children from Guatemala.


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My Thoughts...


On text…

•Size of headline/leader - In the top Left hand corner, we read from left to to right. Big lettering in white to add contrast against the photograph behind.

•Size of photo captions - Captions in White, adding contract so it's legible. Roughly 1/5 of the size of main Header.

•Size of main text - Dotted around, perhaps 1/4 of the size of the headers.

•Margins and shape of text on the page - Full bleed of main photographs, all text is designed to be small so that the reader focus stays on the photographs themselves.

•Font/typeface (note that nothing gimmicky is used in the more prestigious publications) - There seems to be a mixture of "Helvetica" and "Times New Roman".

On Images…

•Is there a double-page spread? - There is a double page spread at the beginning of the story to entice readers in and another about halfway through which also tend to be landscape.

•Which images are larger – why are these important? - The two images on each of the double page spreads are the biggest, possibly to capture readers attention, but also due to the fact that the photographer won the "photo of the month".


Types of Images…

•Look for wide shots – setting the scene and people in place - Although there is a mixture of portrait and landscape shots included in order to cover the photographer, it is clear that all the shots are panoramic, landscape shots.

•Establishing shots – showing the reader where the story is happening - The captions within each shot help the readers establish where these shots were taken and also give an insight into as to how they were taken as well.


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Having looked at David Booths work, I found myself having to re-create my own version using flash to freeze movement.

With many of these athletes overcoming struggle of everyday life with their disability, some understandably wanted their identity hidden, yet liked the idea of being photographed, so by creating fun yet effective photographs without capturing their faces, many felt was an good alternative.

With the nature of Karate, seeing the colour of this athletes belt to important, as this represents a sense of achievement of this young man.


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This trip has been agin insightful to me, working again with this extraordinary charity run organisation is a brilliant insight into the lives of people with both economical struggles, but also struggling with disabilities of all sorts - in this case learning disabilities. One can see the frustration on the faces of some of the athletes when they get some movements wrong. Funded by Erasmus + , the opportunity to go abroad and continue training on the sunny beaches of El Puerto de Santa María, Spain clearly means so much to both adults and kids of all ages.

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Having been told via a timetable what I'll be having to shoot, I was able to prepare my camera settings ahead of time. Having never been to Centre Parcs I wasn't really sure what to expect, so this was certainly useful. I did some research on photographing birds of prey when in flight.

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Being able to be a part of this last week has been such a privilege especially as this sort of a gathering isn't something that's part of one's everyday things to witness. An exchange between the very "open" Spanish Martial Arts company (DKF - Spain) and the classically private Brits (DKF - UK), this exchange was certainly an experience to behold.

The difference between the two groups in terms of confidence was evident especially, when it came finding ways to communicate with each other. Typically, the athletes from Spain were very loud and confident, and were definitely willing to have a go at finding ways to break the language barriers - always a good laugh and part of the fun for both parties involved; on the other hand I felt the rather "private" British team had managed to create a little clique like group, which would have been fine if they'd then be encouraged by the adults/carers to venture around and talk to the Spanish Groups. Without encouragement from people we turn to for safety and without being shown examples from that carer, it's not at all surprising that some were too shy to get involved and attempt the language barriers. This all changed however as soon as the Karate Gi's were put on during the final day, there was nothing stopping both sides from communicating and enjoying their usual weekly activity that brought them together in the first place.

From a Photographers point of view, there were many brilliant photo opportunities that came about, with both adults and children struggling from physical disability such as being hard of hearing, paraplegic etc and others who have mental/learning difficulties. To see everyone having fun playing badminton, going bowling, kanu-ing and interacting with wildlife was truly something else to be a part of. One could almost describe as a family built up from a wider community, evidence in my opinion that this form of rehabilitation works wonders for everyone - shy mainstream people too. This was also brought to my attention when I a passer by spoke to me on our last day, sharing her opinion of how wonderful it is to see such a huge group of people in the same boat, having a place such as Center Parcs to go and get away from everyday life.


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Although Leahovcenco's work is usually wedding based, her series on the Mongolian Eagle Hunters has certainly caught my eye. The sharpness and colour quality within this series is without a doubt very striking to say the least.

Although the likely hood of having a sunset background between 1:30pm-2:14pm on a Thursday afternoon are definitely slim, Sasha's examples of dropping down low to get a simple yet effective background of the sky, is something which I need to find myself doing more often.

Having been pre-told that during my next week I'll be coming face to face with the challenge of photographing children and adults with disabilities as they interact with Falconry at Longleat Center Parcs, Sasha Leahovcencho's work is what came immediately came to mind.

Now having a much better grip around the manual settings around my camera, I feel confident I could perhaps create my own version of this, and correct any issues that might occur whilst shooting such as not getting a perfectly frozen image. That's of course not to say I may not experiment around with more motion blur.


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