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British documentary photographer Liz Hingley has one major goal: to shed light on the extreme poverty that takes place in our own backyards. We recently caught up with Liz, who received PhotoPhilanthropy’s 2012 Activist Award for her project, The Jones Family. Liz captured the story of two parents and seven children living on a council estate (government housing) in western England after having resided in caravans for three generations. She told us more about how the project began, where her relationship with Jones family stands today, and what she’s up to next.
Liz met the Jones’ after becoming a photographer for Save the Children’s UK Child Poverty Campaign and learning that 3.5 million children live in poverty in the UK.
“The Jones family’s warmth, creative imagination and individuality inspired me and challenged my perceptions,” said Liz. “When the oldest son told me he was studying animation and was the first in his family to go to University, I felt there was an important story to tell. That’s why I didn’t want to produce images which simply illustrated peoples stereotypes of what poverty is or looks like.”
Instead, Liz told their story – not with images depicting hardship and impoverished conditions – but with photos that captured everyday moments.
The project took place over the course of two years, where she was able to form a trusting relationship of mutual learning and sharing with the Jones’. And when asked what she always had in her bag while shooting the project, Liz told us it was her Mamya RZ and “sweets for energy and to share.”
Through her experience with the Jones family, Liz was also able to make a lasting impression on the community. Because of her work, Save the Children ultimately formed partnerships with local authorities and communities in the West Midlands, which may have a real impact on the children in the area.
So what’s next for Liz? Well for one, the project is not yet over. Liz is in the process of pulling images, writings and other visual materials together to form a book which she plans to publish by 2014.
She’ll also be moving to China in May 2013 where she’ll continue her research on multi-faith urban communities and the trade of contemporary religious objects.
Check out more of Liz’s work here: http://www.lizhingley.com/
For more ideas on how you can help those less fortunate, check out 5 Ways Photographers Can Give Back.