Linelle Deunk X Marie-Stella-Maris Foundation
Photographer Linelle Deunk about visiting our clean drinking water project ‘Water for Mukono’ in Uganda.
Through a collaboration with GUP Magazine we have found an inspiring approach to share our social story with the world. Talented photographers will be facilitated to shoot documentary images and autonomous work, whilst visiting one of the clean drinking water projects supported by the Marie-Stella-Maris Foundation. Portrait and documentary photographer, Linelle Deunk, visited our clean drinking water project in Uganda.
"His appearance, his glance, his voice and tone struck me."
After an academic career Linelle Deunk changed track and continued at the Photo Academy in Amsterdam. In December 2010 Linelle graduated with her final project Nestgeur’, in which she followed a number of children of pre-pubertal age and went on to win 1st prize with a series about Pien in the Portraits Series, Zilveren Camera.
She continues to create award winning work, receiving numerous nominations during the past few years and winning many highly regarded commendations such as Zilveren Camera 2012-13, Dutch National Portrait Prize 2012.
“The title is inspired by the life of a 16 year old boy I met in the fields, Paul. His appearance, his glance and his tone of voice struck me immediately. The next day I had to go back, to get to know him and ask him about his story. He went through a horrible, fearful childhood; losing his parents at the young age of 12. He lived all by himself for several years until reaching the point of thinking ‘I don’t belong to this world.’
Luckily, a year ago a mother of seven started taking care of him, offering him work, a bed and most important a family home. She was able to provide clean water at her home, because she runs one of the beneficiary households in the projects. It’s a small but tough paradise, producing enough food for themselves and to sell. Gradually the boy returns to this, their, our and my world; replacing the bad memories for good.
After meeting Paul I decided to stay with another beneficiary family in the project. I am fascinated by the idea that when you take away all material context, and solely look at the individual, with his or her loved ones, our two worlds may not be so different. Clean water contributes to diminish the gap between both worlds and helps us realize that this world is for all of us.”
“Beforehand I was a bit insecure about the timing and results off course, because I had made the commitment to deliver both documentary and autonomous work.
It was hard work in terms of hours; we visited numerous areas of the project, did a lot of waiting because of the Ugandan rain showers, and thus had very limited periods of dry shooting during daylight. However, the waiting brought me unplanned and beautiful moments I otherwise would never have come across.”
"There is such a thin line between life and death."
People in the villages see access to water as a blessing; it’s such a valuable source of which we are not always aware in Western societies. It’s necessary for drinking and washing, for keeping livestock and it also creates many opportunities for work and income; growing crops or making bricks out of clay and possibly selling it.
Most important is that when the basics are fulfilled (e.g. hygiene, food, house) one can focus on other important things in life: school, work, development or taking care of others, like Paul.
For me as a photographer it was also refreshing to use water as a starting point, you get to see basic elements differently. You are surrounded by it: light, air, puddles, kitchen; you see it everywhere.”
"That water really is the basis of everything. It has never been this evident for me until I experienced this now."