In September 2013 Mission Rabies, was launched with the backing of the Dogs Trust, Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS) (a charity with whom I have previously worked) and a host of other International Sponsors. Brain child of Luke Gamble, vet and TV start of Sky’s Vet Adventures, the project is the first step in an attempt to eliminate rabies globally by 2030. A third of rabies cases occur in India and in one month the project vaccinated 60,000 dogs in 12 rabies hotspots in 28 days.
As official photographer my first trip covered the Opening Ceremony and first few days of vaccinations in Goa, with a second trip to West Bengal and Assam for the conclusion of the month-long campaign on World Rabies Day.
The end product was a set of high-impact images that communicated the rationale behind the project, the hard work of the Mission Rabies, and the progress they made. External use of my images included an article in the online edition of National Geographic and a feature on Luke Gamble as part of Al Jazeera’s Health Heroes.
How do I work to ensure a successful outcome for the organisations I work for?
Understand your objectives: as with all my clients I devised a bespoke brief with Mission Rabies covering public health education, images for training publicity, website and fundraising purposes, of volunteers and team members, the opening and closing ceremonies and sponsor placement as well as inspiring photography from the places they were making a difference.
Culturally sensitive: on any assignment I am an ambassador for your organisation. I apply my experience of working, travelling in and photographing on many continents to maintain and enhance your reputation. No shot is ever worth taking if it is not done ethically or if it portrays the subject unfairly.
Commercially aware: during most projects the newsworthiness of the story is time-sensitive. On Mission Rabies I was providing batches of photographs to for uploading to websites, social media and the press each day.
Flexible and dynamic. Schedules change, people don’t turn up, weather scuppers plans, cars break down, new ideas emerge, old ideas are discarded. This is normal and I’m used to dealing with it and devising alternatives.
Teamwork: For Mission Rabies I worked closely not just with volunteers and staff on the ground but also the marketing team in the UK and a film crew from Red Earth Studio.
Be proactive and looking to contribute ideas each day. After the event I worked closely with Mission Rabies to create a beautiful keepsake A3 Photobook issued to key project sponsors and personnel, as well as supporting further publicity efforts.
I’ve continued to work with the Mission Rabies team and the Dogs Trust Worldwide. You can see more of my work from a further return trip to Goa and in 2015 to Africa for the launch of Mission Rabies Malawi.