It was over a drink at the Perpignan photojournalism festival in 1999 that myself and Anna Blackman decided to start PhotoVoice. Having independently set up participatory photography projects the year before and emboldened by a deep-seated belief in the potential of photography as a collaborative tool for social change, we founded the charity with the aim to support marginalised groups to self-represent through photography, to tackle injustice and stigma and to be seen and heard.
PhotoVoice is an award-winning charity that has pioneered the use of photography in social development. During its first decade, it developed participatory photography projects in diverse contexts, running over 50 projects around the world. Co-directing PhotoVoice during this period, I led its strategic growth establishing it as a respected and award-winning organisation with a turnover of just under £500,000. Integral to PhotoVoice’s success was the support it gained from its facilitators, partners, funders, volunteers and the professional photographers that participated in its annual auctions and lecture series. Patrons included the photographers Philip Jones Griffiths, Sarah Moon and Nick Danziger. In 2004 PhotoVoice was awarded the Best New Charity at the UK Charity Awards. In 2010, Anna and myself were awarded The Royal Photographic Society Hood Medal for outstanding advance for photography in public service for our work with PhotoVoice.
"'Power to the People' was the oft-heard clarion call of the 1960's. Now, at last, thanks to PhotoVoice, the disenfranchised and marginalised, the voiceless Other, have the tools to speak in the universal language that is photography. Long may their eloquence enlighten and delight us."
Philip Jones Griffiths, President of Magnum Photos 1980-1985, Patron of PhotoVoice
“Since its launch PhotoVoice has established itself as a pioneer in the sector, winning widespread support with the public and media and sharing its unique project methodologies with groups all over the world. With a tiny income it has accomplished great things, training socially excluded groups in photojournalism skills to give them a voice. Its students have gone on to study at university, found work in the photographic industry and have been commissioned by the BBC”
UK Charity Awards 2004, PhotoVoice: Best New UK Charity