Today (3 May) is World Press Freedom Day and this year the main celebrations for the event are being held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in recognition of the progress the country has made in the past couple of years in lifting its rating in the Global Press Freedom Awards (see www.freedomhouse.org) from ‘not free’ to ‘partly free’.
This week I am working in Colombo, but it is going to be as frustrating as last week in the Maldives, i.e. being in a place where there are so many photo opportunities but no time to get out and about with my camera. What makes it even more a pity is that there are so few tourists about in Colombo at the moment after the suicide bombing last week. There are soldiers with machine guns at every major intersection and embedded behind sandbags outside every Government building. Not that that is unusual for Colombo, but there seems to be more checkpoints than usual and a heightened state of alert.
Anyhow, what has this photograph to do with World Press Freedom Day? Well, preceding the 3 May celebrations, UNESCO held a conference on ‘Media, Development and Poverty’, and I took my camera along on the drive from my hotel to the conference venue hoping I might be able to grab a lucky shot along the way. No such luck, but in the morning coffee break there was a group of girls and boys in traditional dress performing village dances for the delegates. I snapped a few shots and this is the one I liked the best.
Sometimes you can find good photo opportunities in the most unlikely places! This was not an easy shot as the kids were crowded together (see workshop) and I was dancing around too (metaphorically speaking) trying to find a POV that gave me an uncluttered background.
And in case you are asking what press freedom has to do with poverty, Daniel Kaufmann of the World Bank Institute, explained it thus: “There is considerable evidence to show that increasing press freedom lowers corruption, and then in turn, lowering corruption increases per capita income three-fold.”
He described corruption as a one trillion US dollar a year industry which resulted in 11 per cent of the world’s population having to live on less than a dollar a day.
This girl does not look poor, but her gorgeous eyes could well be reflecting hope for those who are.
PP: Removed 50% of noise with NeatImage, cropped, adjusted levels and USM at 350% (0.4). Some may not like the small amount of noise I have left in this image, but when I tried to remove all of the noise, it created an unnaturally smooth skin texture. (In the workshop photo I removed all of the noise, and you can see the difference). I have also deliberately not over-sharpened this as I like a little softness in my portrait shots, so please don’t berate me for not sharpening enough!