In 1987, an exodus of some 20,000 boys and girls took place. They were fleeing genocide in what is now known as South Sudan, a war that continues today. More than half perished in their journey, from crocodile and lion attacks, drowning, thirst, starvation, or militia ambushes.
In 1991, after being forced from an Ethiopian camp where they had found solace for four years, these Lost Boys and Girls settled in Kakuma, a refugee camp established for them in Kenya by the United Nations. When international attention was brought to their plight, 3,800 were resettled in the United States in 2001. Most of the others returned to South Sudan, risking their lives in the continued civil war. But 410 are still in Kakuma – two and a half decades later.
These refugees are now men and women with sons and daughters of their own. After 26 years, they still cling to the hope of finding a safe haven of their own, where they would be free to work and raise their children without fear. Some are defiant; some, dispirited. All are lost.
Prints are available 11" x 17" on 13" x 19" on Moab Entrada paper. Archival pigment prints. Editions of 10.
Lost is a special edition of 10 boxed sets. It includes 12 portraits, a letter-press introduction, and an essay, all printed on hand-made paper and cradled in a custom clam shell box made with organic materials. All profits go directly to the children of the Lost Boys and Girls to help with their educational fees and to establish a library.
The land is vast. One can see as far as the mountains of Uganda hundreds of miles away. Hundreds of thousands have walked this road — from Eritrea, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Somalia, and South Sudan — escaping civil war and persecution. It represents freedom and safety. But the cruel irony is that few ever escape its terminus in Kakuma. They are refugees trapped with nowhere to go.
Each morning, I stand and watch with curiosity as those from many cultures walk by. They’ve all endured unimaginable heartbreak and violence, living in a place they legally may never call home. They face systemic corruption, a lack of food and water, and harsh living conditions with temperatures hovering around 100°.
My view is of a thread of road that cuts this wide expanse of desert and open sky. As its travelers walk into their day, they look towards the horizon and continue to hope that one day they’ll be allowed to venture somewhere ‘out there,’ where they’ll be welcomed and can once again have a place they may call home.
Prints are available in 10" x 10" on 13" x 13" or 20" x 20" on 24" x 24" dimensions. Archival pigment prints on hot press paper. Editions of 10. For purchasing information, contact Foto Relevance.
OUT OF DARKNESS
The photographs and stories in this body of work are based on the lives of refugees from across the world, and the people dedicated to helping them. They all now live in Houston.
Each conversation, its story and the gentle nature of its teller, left me enriched and inspired, but emotionally exhausted. As one refugee told me, “one of the only things we have in common is the insane violence we have all witnessed.” Most wouldn’t discuss that violence in detail; when they did though, it was beyond comprehension. One man witnessed his family being raped and butchered in a single morning; all forty-two family members were massacred.
Those I photographed are one of the .089% of the more than 25 million refugees worldwide will ever be resettled.
Prints of formal portraits with black backgrounds are available in 9" x 6" or 17 x 11" on Moab Entrada paper. Environmental portraits are available in 17" x 11" on 19" x 13" on Moab Entrada paper, or in 31" x 20" on 36" x 24", on hot press paper. Archival pigment prints. Editions of 10.
THE GROUND ON WHICH I STAND
Tamina is one of the few remaining emancipation communities in the United State. It's thought to be the oldest freedmen’s town in Texas. Freed slaves, a handful of whom had funds to buy their own land, created this community in 1871. They built their own churches, schools and businesses, tilled their land, and worked in the flourishing lumber industry. Their stories reveal a deep-rooted kinship, with values centered on family and community. Regardless of the challenges these people have faced, their faith, gratitude, and humor always thread their tales.
The portrait, “Johnny” (the image of the man in the plaid coat) was on display at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery during January 2017.
Read more about Tamina and The Ground on Which I Stand in the following links:
Prints are available 11" x 17" on 13" x 19" on Moab Entrada paper. Archival pigment prints. Editions of 10. For purchasing information, contact Marti Corn
The Ground on Which I Stand, a collection of portraits and landscapes, along with the oral histories of 14 people and their families is published by Texas A&M Press. For an autographed copy, please contact Marti Corn.
Salzwedel is a bustling medieval town of 20,000. Its charming cobblestone streets wind between centuries-old stone buildings, with a river flowing through. Scarred remnants of the wall which once divided East from West Germany still remain. In the center of town, there is an abandoned four-story building covering most of a medieval block, with soaring ceilings, arching windows, and a looming clock tower. Throughout the 20th century it has been used to serve people — as a private girls’ school in the early part of the century, a hospital during World War II, and a school for the Young Pioneers, part of The Free German Youth founded within the Soviet occupation zone of Germany. Now, it is being reclaimed, becoming known as Kunsthaus, an art center that will feature a permanent collection, visiting exhibits, and a floor dedicated to artists-in-residence and art courses.
While in residency at Hilmsen, a neighboring village, I invited residents who support the arts to have their portraits made. Each was asked why art is important to them, how it affects their lives, and which medium they would like to explore. Some brought their children and others arrived with their instruments. All brought enthusiasm and show of support for Kunsthaus.
Prints are availablein 17" x 11" on Moab Entrada paper. Archival pigment prints. Editions of 10. For purchasing information, contact Marti Corn
KIBERA TO GEM
The countryside surrounding Nairobi is rich and lush – in contrast to the poverty seen in every direction from inside the city.
These images were made during my first journey to Kenya, where I traveled with Pangea Network meeting with women in Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums, located on the outskirts of Nairobi and then driving out to Gem located on the western border's edge.
Prints are available in 5" x 5" on 8.5" x 8.5" or 10" x 10" on 13" x 13" dimensions. Archival pigment prints on hot press paper. Editions of 10. Some are also available as Photogravures.For purchasing information, contact Marti Corn.