Famine has been conventionally associated with Africa, and portrayed visually through stereotypes. As in recent media coverage of the crisis in East Africa, photographs of starving children with fly-blown faces, removed from their context, remain common.
Dr Dave Clark, working as a multimedia journalist for China Daily, set out this summer to do something different. Focusing on the larger issue of food insecurity in Asia, he photographed, filmed and produced a six-part video series to provide a more complex story. Shooting in Nepal, Bangladesh and China, Clark explored the impact of population growth, urban growth, changing tastes and biotechnology. You can see all of the videos (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) on his Vimeo site.
This video series saw Clark put into practice many of the questions he had research in his PhD thesis, Representing the Majority World. Uppermost in his mind was the desire to avoid traditional famine imagery, even though – as in the photograph above – circumstances in Nepal offered him the chance to easily replicate the stereotypes.
Working with local journalists to find how food insecurity manifested itself in daily life, Clark has presented a rich account of food insecurity. Although he believes this series is far from perfect, Clark has nonetheless shown how different stories are possible.
Photo: Dolpa, Nepal, April 2011. Copyright Dave Clark.