We spent a month in Monrovia, Liberia right as the Ebola epidemic was coming to an end documenting the tight-knit Budget Bureau neighborhood. Budget Bureau was devastated by the virus---many members of the community lost their lives, and orphaned children remained isolated in their homes without food or water as people feared contact would lead to contamination. Ebola strikes us as uniquely heartbreaking because it prevents people from touching the ones they love.
After Ebola, the community was more eager than ever for portraits of their loved ones. We had the photos developed and then gave them back to our subjects. Watching parents hold the first ever photographs of their children was one of the most moving experiences we've ever had, and it led us to bring a polaroid camera on our next trip.
Having an outsider, especially a Westerner, starting pointing a camera around in your community can seem pretty invasive. But if that outsider snaps a polaroid and then gives it to you, not taking a copy for themselves, it builds a bit of trust.