An image from my project on violence in Guatemala was featured in a poster and application for the Open Society Justice Initiative summer school session on human rights litigation. If you are interested in applying for this program, please click here: OSF
I am so thankful to Newsweek picture editor Leah Latella (who is also a rockin' folk singer and musician) for publishing my project, La Vida No Vale Nada, on the effects of violence in post-war Guatemala.
"Last year, there were 34.5 murders for every 100,000 people in the country. That’s a decreased rate from previous years, although the first half of 2013 actually showed an increasing number of murders. Violence still touches far too many lives in Guatemala, where nearly 100 people were murdered each week last year."
Please click on the link above to read the story and to the see the project.
My work from Guatemala's food insecurity project called, Green Hunger, was recently published in the Christina Science Monitor as part of a featured issue on rising food prices. It was an intense few days of working on this project last August and I'm thrilled its been published. Click on the picture to view it bigger. The spread is not online, so I've added my text below.
Jalapa, Guatemala - Throughout this fertile land is a hidden problem; chronic malnutrition among children. The rate here is the highest in Latin America and the sixth highest in the world, says the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Chronic malnutrition is not simple the lack of food but a lack of nutrients in the kinds of food consumed - mostly beans and corn tortillas. Researchers say half of the children under age 5 here are chronically malnourished , leading to poor development, both physically and mentally. The government, aware that the nation's future is at stake, has launched Hambre Cero (Zero Hunger), a program that includes food supplements for pregnant women and infants.
That's not enough, according to José Luis Vivero Pol, director of Action Against Hunger in Central America (ACH), a nongovernmental organization. He reports that the crux of the problem is the "hungry season" when crop reserves from the previous year run low. To address this in a sustainable way, he and others say, the government must see to the needs of small farmers for land, credit, and expertise in order to boost crop yields. National policies that encourage food exports at the expense of production for national consumption also need to be modified.
Guatemala, with a population of 14 million, is one of the world's top exporters of sugage, coffee, bananas, and corn. Ironically, those most affected by chronic hunger here are farming families.
Humanitarian organizations like ACH aim to educate villagers about nurtrition and urge them to grow vergetables native to their climates. They support beekeeping and building greenhouses to protect seedlings from severe weather. Also, fair-trade coffee growing amkes that crop more profitable for farmers to grow.
I'm happy to share that an image from my project, La Vida No Vale Nada, about violence in Guatemala, was recently chosen by American Illustration American Photography Latin America 2012 list.
I spent a week with friends in Antigua celebrating Semana Santa traditionally by making alfombras, or colorful carpets used for the processions. It was a delight to be a part of a creative group. I didn't really intend on photographing Semana Santa, because here in Antigua its quite touristy, although the processions are pretty amazing. I had first thought that I was going to make some travel images for stock, but found myself just taking a break from shooting. But it was until that Friday that suddenly things came together. Here's a slideshow of some images from that day.
You can also catch my snaps on my tumblr: http://liannemilton.tumblr.com/
Here in Guatemala on Dia de los Muertos, or otherwise known as Todos Santos - All Saints Day - families get together and fly kites, have picnics, drink, and be merry at the cemetaries of their deceased. On Monday I went with a friend to check out the kites at Santiago Sacatepequez....to the cemetary where it overlooks a lush green valley.
While famine rages in Somalia, many other countries face hardships also due to the rise in food prices and climate change. This is very much the case in Guatemala, where farmers can no longer predict the time to plant and harvest production is very small. Heavy rains and long droughts prevent healthy growth of crops, in particular maize, where the cost of corn rose 40% since last year. There is plenty of food in Guatemala, a country where half the population lives in poverty and violence is 4x more then Mexico. However most of the food production is for export (mostly to the US). Small farmers are especially vulnerable, where half the crop is for family consumption and the other half to sell at the markets. This year, many small farmers have produce low yields of crops mainly due to extreme weather (heavy rains, and long droughts).
Here are two images from my film edit. the scans are low res until i can get home to make higher quality scans, but was anxious to share since i haven't posted on my blog in a few weeks.