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Motivations matter

by on June 23, 2013


“I’ve never had a bad day in my life” is what I thought when I watched this woman in the Korah dump in Ethiopia.  I would like to say that it was a weird strange trip to get there, but my arrival in this dump was only the result of a source cancelling and a translator/ guide willing to take me.

Stories are everywhere, with the right writer anything that moves and some things that don’t move can become a story.  I worship this storytelling ability but unfortunately I lack that touch.   So when my source fell through, I fell on my backup idea which was to convince whoever was guiding me to  “take me to the worst.”  I felt that if I covered a story that was bad enough its awfulness would tell itself and wouldn’t require my weak story telling skills.

So I went there, I tried so hard, I went to the worst.  And you know what happened, I couldn’t come up with a story.  I was there, I saw these amazingly strong women sort thru garbage, literally scraping a living out of nothing.  I might of been able to tell their story but there is always an outside factor.  In this case the outside factor was violent gangs not wanting me to photograph in certain parts of the dump and a NGO’s worried about their PR not wanting me to shoot in others20130509_Pribil_Ethiopia_Feature039.

Anyway this blog post is entitled “Motivations Matter” because the motivation of this photo haunt me.  I knew when taking this photo that it would never be part of any story that might possibly help this woman.  I took it selfishly because in this day I ran up a 1000 birr taxi expense and I felt that I better come back with something.  The motivations of this woman are clean mine are tainted.


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