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THE GRENFELL JOURNAL
A monthly journal for explorer clothing brand, Grenfell - Martin Middlebrook
GRENFELL // November 2016
Luxury British clothing brand appoint Martin Middlebrook as 'Brand Ambassador'.
Named after pioneering missionary Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, Grenfell and its signature Cloth, have since 1923, become synonymous with adventurers and explorers alike. Worn by such legendary names as Donald Campbell CBE and Sir David Attenborough, Martin is proud to be associated with this iconic British clothing brand
At Grenfell we are honoured to have Martin Middlebrook, as part of our family, as a brand ambassador. He embodies the spirit of the true explorer, as created by our brand founder Sir Wilfred Grenfell. For us, this means an integrity in everything that you do and a desire to pioneer in your field. Martin does this in his pursuit of the meaningful image. As Sir Wilfred said "Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men but from doing something worthwhile".
IO Donna Magazine // November 2016
Italy's leading Sunday magazine publishes work from Martin's project on the ivory trade, in a special report on Africa. In a piece written by famous italian writer Michele Farina, the article runs to 6 pages.
BILLIONAIRE MAGAZINE // Stop Ivory September 2016
Billionaire Magazine feature Martin Middlebrook's photos on Stop Ivory's historic activities in support of achieving far reaching political aims to stop the slaughter of African Elephants.
ARTE REFUGEES BOOK PUBLISHED // Paris, May 2016
A book from the landmark Arte series on refugees, has been published. Containing the work of all the artists who collaborated on the project, I am proud to have also been selected as part of it. The book contains 20 of my images from the Beldangi Refugee Centre in Nepal.
THE PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW 2016
Martin Middlebrook's joins photographer's Edmond Terakopian, Elisabeth Blanchet and Paul Sanders at the Photography Show, for a panel debate on staging and manipulation in photojournalism. The debate revolved around the question 'how far can photojournalists go to get the results demanded by news desks?
STOP IVORY // Saving the Elephants
This September, Stop Ivory has an opportunity to present a compelling case to decision makers at the moment they cast their vote on legally binding policy for elephant protection. Its success would ensure people will still encounter living elephants a century from now, free and embedded in nature. The consequences of inaction are that these majestic animals will soon be reduced to folklore and dusty reliquaries in museums. Integral to its campaign is the completion of a photographic series by Martin Middlebrook, for a 40 day crowdfund campaign has now been launched.

On March 3, the United Nation’s World Wildlife Day highlighted the elephant crisis as its theme for 2016: “The future of elephants is in our hands,” was its statement. One hundred years ago, 20 million elephants roamed the forests and savannahs of Africa. Today, less than half a million individuals survive in the wild.
Stop Ivory is the focal point for African efforts to conserve elephants. It has commissioned Martin Middlebrook to produce a photographic series to support the changes necessary to bring this iconic species back from the brink of extinction. The photographs will be published in book and exhibited at this year's CITES Conference of the Parties in Johannesburg, South Africa. CITES is the UN based global institution charged with the regulation and laws surrounding the trade in endangered species.
“In an underground bunker in Nairobi I viewed 140 tonnes of collected and confiscated ivory; $100 million-worth that will be burned in a symbolic ceremony in April,” says Middlebrook “Amongst the horde were some of the largest tusks that once roamed the savannahs and forest of Africa. If anything remains, it will be a subspecies with impoverished tusks – in an evolutionary war, it now pays to be small.”
Middlebrook's portfolio of work represents not only the elephants themselves, but also the extraordinary people with whom they co-exist - conservationists and communities alike. “We have already completed the first chapter following a trip to Kenya,” say Middlebrook. “Now, we must repeat the process to broaden the visual scope and ensure we illustrate the bigger picture. To fulfill the projects potential, we plan to visit at least three more countries: Botswana, Gabon and China.”
• 60% of African elephants have been slaughtered in the last 10 years
• Nearly 100 elephants are being killed every day
• At this rate, most African elephant populations will be gone in a decade
• Poaching is controlled by organised crime and terrorist groups
• This illegal activity threatens the integrity of ecosystems, local livelihoods and poses risk to national and international security
TRIBES OF OMO // Ethiopia 2014
In November 2014, photojournalist Martin Middlebrook fulfilled a long-held ambition to photograph the ancient tribes of the Lower Omo Valley in the south of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is the seat of humanity, the birthplace of mankind, it is where our ancestors came from – it is where we come from.
Comprising 14 different tribes, these extraordinary people face an increasingly bleak future in Africa’s Great Rift Valley. With rapidly increasing tourism, and the construction of the Gibe III dam, the traditional way of life for these pastoral tribes is fast eroding. The Ethiopian Government is also implementing a policy of land grabs and resettlements, enabling the government to lease out vast blocks of land for cash crops, such as the growing of biofuels, predominately to international companies from Malaysia, Italy, India and Korea.
This once inaccessible region has become a haven for tourists keen to add ‘Omo’ to their bucket list. It’s still a journey, but as infrastructure has improved so has accessibility, and the region and its tribes are at an uneasy crossroad. Home to 200,000 people, each with a distinct culture living in lands bounded by geographical features from mountain ranges to dry river beds, the invasion of thrill seekers is changing their world forever. The photos taken were an attempt to witness these extraordinary people before the homogeny of western humanity swamps their past, as the construction of the Gibe III dam will soon flood the ancestral lands they have farmed for generations.
The portfolio of photographs bears witness to the incredible faces and decorative culture of a people whose history is being invaded and eroded too quickly for them to survive unchanged.
INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2015  // HONOURABLE MENTION // ​​​​​​​Portrait
Portrait from the Tribes of Omo portfolio recognised with honorable mention at 2015 International Photography Awards
MARTIN MIDDLEBROOK AND ARTE TV - DOCUMENTARY ON REFUGEES // Nepal 2014
In autumn 2013 Martin Middlebrook was assigned by Franco/German TV Channel Arte to form part of a reportage team that would document the lives of Bhutanese Refugees living in Jhapal district of Nepal.  In 1992 the Bhutan government commenced a policy of ethnic cleansing, and some 107,000 refugees were driven across the border, initially into a kind of no man’s land, and eventually on into eastern Nepal. The Nepalese government washed their hands of this humanitarian disaster, and so the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) established five camps.
Twenty two years on and several years into a resettlement programme only 30,000 refugees still reside in the camp, the vast majority having begun a new life in the west, predominantly the US. The team consisted of Régis Wernier, legendry Oscar winning film director (Indochine), distinguished writer Fatou Diome, and brilliant French cartoonist Nicolas Wild. Over a period of two weeks each created a unique execution that personally expressed their experiences in the camp.  The documentary will be broadcast in September 2014, with significant coverage on the web and also internationally in the traditional print media. The documentary series will go on to explore three other refugee camps, and the content created will be compiled into a book later in 2015.
To view the portfolio and documentary click here.
WINNER - THE OTHER HUNDRED // 2013
Voted by a world-renowned jury that included legendary picture editor Ruth Eichhorn, former World Press Photo Juror, and Director of Photography for Geo Magazines. Chosen as one of only 100 images from over 11,000 submissions from 158 countries around the world, to appear in The Other Hundred book.
The Other Hundred was launched as a counterpoint to the Forbes 100 Rich List, a way to express that humanity truly exists by other criteria. As the competition organisers say: ‘The implication of many of the rich lists and articles put out by the media is that being rich is the only way to succeed or live a life of meaning. We would like to show that not being rich is both normal and nothing to be ashamed of. The fact that 80% of the world lives on less than US$10 dollars a day does not stop most of them from living rich, full lives. Because we are looking for photographs that capture this reality, we do not want the photo-book to be full solely of images of suffering, conflict, starvation or disease. Instead, we would like to engage our audience by capturing both the struggles and the successes of The Other Hundred.’
INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2012 // HONOURABLE MENTION // Editorial - War/Conflict
I cannot know a country or its people by seeing a single image of poverty, or of greed or indeed of wealth, a picture of a skyscraper in Dubai tells me little of anything. Afghanistan is a misrepresented nucleus that sits at the centre of a western paranoia. It is more than just a malignancy, it is a people and a culture, a ’play thing’ and a religion, it is a thousand unexplained facets that never make the light of day, and would be misunderstood all the same. The essential power of the media misaligns the truth of our perceptions so that we are left with a poor mans distillate, a place of fact without resonance, a smash of issues without context. Afghanistan may be the ’New Great Game’ but mostly it is 30 million people with 5,000 years of heritage, which in 30 years has been reduced to a dark void in the pantheon of humanity.
INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2012  // HONOURABLE MENTION // Editorial - Deeper Perspective
Seeing Afghanistan through the eyes of its children is like watching tea leaves swirl and twist and disappear down a sinkhole. We are all born equal, some more equal than others of course, but we all exist with possibility in our genes and probability in our futures. In the West these facets are kept alive longer than in many places, but in Afghanistan they are often replaced by a desultory reality before childhood has even skipped into being. The exuberance of a boy is tarnished by the brutality of finding your way in a country of conflict. The innocence of a girls life so soon transmutes into fear and oppression, as her world becomes the possession of men. Against a backdrop of ruinous internecine struggles and impoverishing agitation from proxy interests, childhood is a Western whimsy, a fanciful stanza that retains a pulse but no heart beat in this land of blood and dust.
Afghanistan - From the Other Side, is a portfolio of humanity that reflects the passage of childhood, and reminds us what is inside us all. It speaks of the fizzing of our blood and the snapping of synapses, and it shows how quickly it is subsumed in an environment set to delete the life force within us all.
AFGHANISTAN 10 YEARS ON  // Arte TV Interview
In 2011, Franco-German TV Arts Channel produced a 10 part series looking at 10 years of conflict in Afghanistan. Martin Middlebrook was asked, along with 9 other photographers, including Steve McCurry, to discuss 10 of his images from this war ravaged country. Martin explains his philosophy, and what inspired him to take his chosen images. Click the link below to view the full interview.
FACES OF HOPE EXHIBITION - BRITISH MUSEUM  // 2011
In 2011 'Faces of Hope' exhibited at the British Museum in London, in support of their significant installation 'Afghanistan - Crossroads of the Ancient World'.
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