Claudia Leisinger - Photography

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Les Anlais naviguent dans le brouillard_Pelerin magazin

By Claudia Leisinger | March 15, 2017
Posted in: Story Commission

I was very excited to be commissioned to shoot a story on Brexit with  Frederic Niel a French journalist working for Pelerin. They wanted to focus on the fishing industry and I spend one of my coldest days (ever) in Hastings.

This is a story that needs to be continued. I really want to find out more about the farming industry and what the thoughts and fears of farmers are right now working in the UK.

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Save The Greenspace Playground_at Judith Kerr Primary School

By Claudia Leisinger | April 30, 2016
Posted in: Story Multimedia Judith Kerr Primary School video #SaveOurGreenspace

I created this video to support the Green Space Campaign at my daughter's primary school. The photos were all taken by me over a time frame of 18 months. I thank The Kinks for their perfect musical backdrop of quintessential Englishness.

A bit more about the campaign:

The Judith Kerr Primary School (JKPS) Green Space Campaign has been set up by the local community to prevent the school’s only playing field being sold off for development by The Dulwich Estate.

The playing field is an integral part of the school, used intensively for sports, play, education, and social events. The school will eventually have 350 children aged 4-11 years. The removal of the only playing field will reduce the outside space available by more than half and remove all green space.

The removal of the playing field will severely restrict the opportunities for education, play and sport for generations of school children. The development will add further congestion to a very busy intersection and its proximity to the school gates will constitute an ongoing safety risk.

The local community needs good schools and the playing field is a vital resource to JKPS to achieve this. The local community and JKPS will be best served now and in the long term by JKPS retaining its playing field.

Why is JKPS’s only playing field at risk of being sold?

JKPS is a state primary school and leases its building and grounds, which includes the only playing field, from The Dulwich Estate.

The Dulwich Estate incorporated an option into the lease allowing it to develop residential housing on the playing field subject to planning permission. If the development is approved, the playing field will be permanently lost to the school.

Read more and take action here.

Save The Greenspace Playground_at Judith Kerr Primary School from Claudia Leisinger on Vimeo.

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News in March 2015

By Claudia Leisinger | April 17, 2015
Posted in: Story Multimedia Commission BMW Foundation Earth Security Group 2015 newsletter news update on work March 2015 Brazil Of Flying Rivers & Flooded Lands

March 2015 was an unbelievably exciting time I went to Brazil, to the Amazon to shoot my latest project. 

"Of Flying Rivers & Flooded Lands: Damming the Amazon" 

I visited Munduruku Indians living alongside the mighty Tapajós River in the Amazonian forest, who are actively fighting a massive hydro-electricity dam planned by the Brazilian government. Once built, the São Luiz do Tapajós dam will flood vast areas of their land, putting existing villages under water, disrupting the river flow and with it the intricate balance of ecosystems. 

It is not only the Munduruku’s traditional way of life that is threatened, but also river dweller communities like Pimental. This picturesque village with its four churches, eight small stores, a well functioning school and roughly 300 inhabitants, would be completely flooded by the São Luiz do Tapajós dam.

But the impact of the dam will be felt long before it is actually completed. A construction project of this scale in an area with no existing infrastructure, as is the case here, will result in irreversible damage to the natural environment. Forest will make way for roads, housing for workers, shops, restaurants, brothels and more. 

At the Belo Monte dam on the neighbouring Xingu river, 20,000 labourers have migrated into the area to work around the clock. The Munduruku have supported the Xingu indigenous communities in their fight against the Belo Monte dam and witnessed the disastrous consequences first hand. They are now fighting not to suffer the same fate.

In the next months I will create a multimedia project using the stills, video and audio I shot and collected during my stay in Alter do Chao, Santarem, Itaituba, Praia do Mangue, Pimental and Sawre Muybu. 

I was also thrilled to shoot photos and video for BMW Foundation at their 3rd Global Table on Resources and Security in Brazil. 

This 3rd table focused on formulating project ideas to enhance urban quality of life. Read about it in more depth on their website.

You can see a first selection of my photos on their flickr account 

I have also updated my portrait section on my website, please have a look and let me know what you think.

You can follow the development of my new project "Of Flying Rivers & Flooded Lands" here on my blog, via Twitter @CLeisinger, via Facebook  and on my Instagram feed.


Boto dolphins at Santarem harbour.

Girl in traditional Munduruku head dress in Sawre Muybu.

Between digging up potatoes for dinner, in Sawre Muybu.

Jumping into the Tapajos river in Pimental.

Aline Karo Munduruku in Praia do Mangue.

1000 newly built council houses near Santarem ready for the communities displaced by mega construction projects like the São Luiz do Tapajós dam.

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Fish Porters revisited

By Claudia Leisinger | March 05, 2014
Posted in: Story Film 2014

Last year I decided to revisit the porters I got to know well while documenting their last year at the Billingsgate Fish Market. I was curious about what had happened to them since April 2012.

It was lovely to catch up with them and I felt the story I had worked on was actually not finished.

Now I want to document how this group of working-class men has dealt with the loss of their jobs, work many of them had done for decades and even begun on leaving school at sixteen, following in their fathers and grandfathers footsteps.

I want to examine how they have negotiated a difficult labour market in recession-hit times; and how being stripped of their heritage and identity has affected them.

The story so far shows these men exclusively at work, proud of what they do, in a job that many might consider menial - heavy manual labour at unsociable hours. It was important to me to visually represent their dignity and so I chose to show them full-length in a very classical portrait.

Now my plan is to photograph and interview them in a more personal space – namely, amongst their homes, families and community.

In doing so I hope to broaden the perspective from a very specific context to one with a universal resonance. The demise of working-class trades is a growing global phenomenon. I believe it is important to examine the impact on the individuals involved, those immediately around them and our society as a whole.

But what would be my end goal? I talked to one of the porters about my idea when he was reluctant to participate. He said: "I don't really want to be shown as the out-of-work man. I don't want to give the people who fired me the additional satisfaction to see me distraught."

That was when the idea of a collaborative book took shape in my head: a book of photos (archival, family and mine) and their stories; be it made-up tales, angry accounts of injustice or funny anecdotes.
Now, seven months later, I am still very fond of this idea and want to pursue it; but one thing that always stood out for me observing this community of men, was their very unique banter, their way of showing how much they cared for each other by teasing one another, their love of stories and their language.

So it became obvious to me that film is the best medium to convey this essential part of their beings.

So far I have interviewed three of my eight porters, filmed three in a pub in Essex (photos below) and managed to get seven of them together in one East End pub for a three-hour filming session.

Although I have worked as a camera operator before, it was mainly in a studio setting and not the on-the-fly, documentary-style filming; so the learning curve is enormous, but very exciting.

I definitely want to continue this story; there are some promising talks of ongoing collaboration with media partners, at the same time as I am working out a clearer structure, message and story arc for the film.

So, enough talk. In the photos below are ex-porters Chris, Mickey and 'Pikey' Bill.

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