A series of videos to support SFA cashmere certification for cashmere herders in Afghanistan.
I have spent the last year on an ongoing project creating videos for the United States Agency for International Development, supporting their work in Afghanistan. These videos will be released one by one over the next few months.
A few years ago I went to the UK to create a series of A/V stories about Brexit - through the words of those who had voted to stay, and those who chose to leave. I was never happy with the production and editing of the pieces - I was proud of the work I had done and felt the end results didn't do it justice. So I recently got hold of all the original audio files, and recut everything as I had always imagined they would be.
So all ten episodes are now available here:
From flying a drone in Pará State, Brazil, shooting high in the canopy of the Amazon, my hammock and studio for a few days, filming in La Mancha, lunch with friends in Manaus and dinner with my co-director Nicolas Wild in Ramallah, Palestine. And being exhausted with a very swollen face outside Jericho Mosque - the lowest point on the planet playing havoc with my sinuses. 
My new reportage, co directed with French comic book artist Nicolas Wild was broadcast in France and Germany on December 10th 2022. Filmed in Palestine and Israel in February and March this year, it charts the history of water in the region. A unique proposition, the final film combines animation, video, drawings and photography to tell six stories.
It received one of Arte's highest ratings of 2022.
I am deeply honoured to have been a part of a team investigating possible crimes against humanity in Brazil, for the enrichment of the rural caucus and a network of actors who land grab and murder on behalf of the cattle and mining industry. Cutting down the lungs of the earth along the way.
This significant legal piece and online platform was submitted as a communication to the International Criminal Court on the 9th November 2022.
The online platform:
This Digital Evidence Platform provides a visual overview of the evidence presented in the Communication, submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor (‘OTP’) of the International Criminal Court (‘ICC’) on 9 November 2022. The Communication was filed by Climate Counsel in conjunction with Greenpeace Brazil, and Observatório do Clima (the ‘Filing Parties’) on behalf of Rural Land Users and Defenders who are victims of the alleged crimes against humanity. The Filing Parties request the ICC Prosecutor to open an examination to further investigate these crimes. The Communication is supported by Greenpeace International, The Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT), Instituto Zé Claudio e Maria, and Global Witness.
Platform created by Interpret, a group of architects and spatial designers dedicated to environmental justice.

SEASCAPES FROM CONFINEMENT - Fifty Days with the ocean.
For reasons I can’t explain, I name my image folders by consecutive days, Day One, Day Two, and so on - most projects will end by Day Twenty Five. But when I was confined during the first Covid 19 lockdown in March 2020, confined to a beach house on the west coast of France, those days just kept coming.
With each pronouncement from the French Government that we would all stay at home for another week, I just kept shooting. It was my pub, my garden, my daily commute. My final folder was Day Fifty. Fifty consecutive days of rising with the sun, monitoring the tides, observing the wind direction and finishing as the sun slipped away. I had arrived in late winter and by the end, we had mired ourselves in a glorious summer of empty skies and vacant beaches.
I don’t know what to do with these images. I took them to pass the days and ameliorate the frustrations - borders were closed and I couldn’t work, and life had become a vacuum only punctuated by breaking news and daily death figures. I still don’t know what to do with them, but I know this much - my housemates spent their confinement watching the news from dawn to dusk shadowing their lives with the bleak temperament of the day, but I woke before dawn and stared at the most spectacular sunrises, watched seals bobbing on the horizon and Sandwich Terns pummelling shoals of sand eels as they slipped by on the tide. And I think it saved me.
14th May 2022 - TWO MAJOR PROJECTS to be launched this month
Massacre - an investigation into crimes against humanity in Pará State, northern Brazil.
Eau Secours - a 40 minute reportage for Arte TV about the control of water in the Middle East - Israel and Palestine.
Being setup by the dastardly French and Germans - invite the only English guy you know to appear on your national news the night the UK left Europe, in the European Political Capitol. Thanks for that.
On Tuesday 13th April 2021, President Joe Biden announced that all US troops would withdraw from Afghanistan on 9/11, 20 years after an invasion that vowed to rid the world of Islamic terrorism. I arrived there myself in 2003, and it was an optimistic place. I visited a newly setup woman's group, designed to provide women autonomy in business in a country where they had been denied even the most basic rights. Twenty years on and with the Taliban resurgent, just waiting to take over the country once again, these images I took back then seem so tragically valuable as a fleeting moment of chance and hope was mired and lost in political rhetoric and machination.
Images shot on Fuji Provia Reversal Slide Film.
In 2002 I headed to Rajasthan in hope of photographing Tigers. These are a couple of shots I grabbed at New Delhi Central Station as I waited for my train to Sawai Madhopur. Shot on Fuji Provia 400.
I am stuck, locked down again at my place on the west coast of France. In my garage are all my old slides - images taken before the days of digital. But with modern dslr's, the chance to revisit those slides becomes very possible. So I bought a new light box, attached my macro lens and I have been going through the boxes of a previous life. And in so doing I have found work that was long ago lost and forgotten.
In many ways, in these times of no travel, it's been like going on assignment and waking up twenty years later, ready to edit. It's been a blessing and a treasure trove.
With Covid 19, and life being on hold, this year I've ended up by chance being invited to give talks to various photographic organisations and educational establishments. As 2020 draws to a close, I have shared my ideas and experience with:
On the official day of Brexit, 31st January 2020 I was invited to be part of Arte TV"s live news coverage of Brexit.
For the first anniversary (on the 16th November 2019) of the gilets jaunes movement, thousand protested on the streets of Paris.
IN ANOTHER LIFE - I might have been...
When I was six years old, I picked up a pencil and began to draw - and as far as I can remember, that’s all I did for the next fifteen years. In time, life took over, and I stopped painting, and I guess from about the age of 23 to 43 I never picked up a pencil again.
And then at 43 I was taken ill, and found myself alone in a small apartment, and I decided it was time to reacquaint myself with my paints. I created just two pictures, my first in twenty years, but then I moved to Afghanistan, and that was the end of a small experiment to see if I could still do it. The first two pictures below are those paintings, the unfinished piece was something I started painting when 20 years old that I never completed, and I suppose I never will.
I’d love to think I could still do it, still stretch some watercolour paper on a piece of wood, pencil in an outline, wash in some body colour and overlay the textures of feather and wood - but I am afraid that my eyesight is no longer what it was. So I shall have to content myself with photography and writing. But it was fun to find these in a portfolio in the garage of my home by the sea, in western France. Fun to remember the peculiar pleasure of losing yourself in a hundred hours of patience. Fun to imagine another life that could have been...
And another old painting I came across - painted when I was just nineteen.
For the Gilets Jaune’s 23rd weekend of protests, the call went out for the Black Block, the violent ultras from the far right and left to cause as much disruption as possible - and they did. Once installed at the Place de la République, the police as usual locked down the square and a day of baton charges, incitement, tear gas and flash grenades ensued. And as usual, shops were vandalised, the police were disproportionate, multiple injuries followed.
BREXIT - The Ten Part Arte Photo Essay
My new ten-part Arte series about Brexit is now available on my website. After weeks of intense work, both in the planning, followed by shooting in both Bradford, Hebden Bridge, Boston and Skegness in February 2019, I am happy to share the final stories.
New works from my series about the 'Gilet Jaune' protests that have caused havoc across France and seem to have lost no momentum.
Happy to announce my ambassadorial role with the Vanguard, manufacturers of tripods and accessories.
For 26 years, VANGUARD has been a global leader in high-quality photo-video accessories (tripods, monopods, ball heads, camera bags and cases), hunting accessories (archery bow cases, gun cases and gun pods/shooting sticks) and sporting optics (binoculars and spotting scopes). The diverse lineup includes products with first-of-their-kind features that are molding industry standards.
New work covering the Paris riots that have devastated parts of Paris, causing millions of euros of destruction.
It's been a year since I stared at the ocean and worked on my seascape project. The weather has been against me, constant sunshine and a flat sea. But just occasionally dark clouds would drift across the horizon or currents would disrupt the surface. It's been slow, but worth it. And I have another ten days.
BATEMAN AND CHING - New portfolio coming soon.
I trained as a wildlife artist, and in addition to my other photographic works, I have been working on a long running personal project, using the skills that I learned as an artist.
Raymond Ching made great studies of the surface flow of water, long before photography was a truly available thing - he must have spent thousands of hours studying in situ until he finally understood and rendered his masterpieces.
Robert Bateman would place his subject ‘lost in the wilderness’ - the wilderness, the subject’s environment was of equal if not greater importance. Which of course it must be, because we are all the sum of our environments. Our histories.
These new pieces express the essence, perhaps the echoes of this way of visualising the natural world, a world that we live in and should protect with all our hearts, instead of dreaming of life on Mars.
COURSE CAMARGUASIE - new images added.
After an absence of eight years, I finally made it back to Provence in the South of France to grab some additional images for my Course Camarguaise portfolio. I began this project back in 2004, returning again in 2005. In 2007 I had all my kit, including my images stolen whilst continuing to work on this. None of those early images make it into this portfolio, though the best stuff I had shot at the time, were the images that were stolen.
I shot again in 2011, from where the majority of this portfolio comes from, but finally I returned to add some new work in early September 2018. I have a dream of returning one day, renting a van and working the whole season - shooting all the backstory stuff that would fulfil this portfolio. But in the meantime I am happy to add here and there. As must be!
Delighted to see my work from Afghanistan on the new album and single covers from Paris based DJ's, Bart & Baker.
Their new single 'Ami' tackles the subject of political and economic migrants. I have worked with Bart & Baker on a number of occasions over the years, and trust their beautiful sensitivity, their deep humanity. My Afghan work would not appear otherwise.
CHAMPIONS DU MONDE // New portfolio
300,000 French football fans celebrate the return of their victorious world cup winning team.
JHAPA DISTRICT // New portfolio
Reflections of an assignment in eastern Nepal
THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE WITH ELEPHANTS // Community Conservation portfolio.
A portfolio of images of people who live alongside elephants, protect them, or whose lives benefit from funds generated from elephant conservation.
SAMBURU COUNTY // New portfolio
Memories of a road trip across Samburu County in Kenya - trace images that evoke Africa.
My translator from Afghanistan, Roohullah, fled Kabul to Europe when his life was threatened by a criminal gang. He had already endured seven years of threats against his life by the Taliban. After an arduous 5 month journey and a further 15 months seeking asylum, and thanks to the help of many journalists and photographers who supported his application, he was finally granted the 'right to stay' in April 2018. He can now begin to build and new and secure life in Holland.
Roohullah saved me on several occasions - I am deeply proud to have been able to repay him in even the smallest of ways.
Thanks Boss!
Two days before the above photograph was taken, and just minutes away, Roohullah had prevented our kidnap by his quick reading of the situation. The man is a HERO!
Not everything makes it to the fore, some work gets put away and forgotten. A small selection of some of that work.
A new portfolio of unseen work from Afghanistan -
A lapping tide and well-trodden beach.
Trawler men head out as a bank of sea fog rolls in.
A sliver of silver breaks through the heavy clouds at dusk.
A painting in oil as winter waves pound the French coast.
The pleasure or revisiting work is to find things that you missed the first time around.
NEW CUTS // Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia - Hamer Tribe mother with child, and Hamer kids.
From the series 'The Seat of Humanity' - the difficulty of choosing just the one image.
When the wind blows, your black background isn't large enough and your model is drunk.
When your background was made for one, not four. And the light is just a little too bright.
If I go back, I will buy a bigger one...
China's leading humanistic vision magazine showcases images in article 'It's a CrisisPoint for Africa's Elephants'
ROOHULLAH - FORGOTTEN // September 2017
Roohullah was my fixer in Afghanistan. Because of his support to western media, his life was threatened, there was an attempt on his life, and he fled the country. He is now waiting for asylum in the Netherlands. I have directed a documentary for Arte TV about his story. It will be broadcast on the 4th November, 2017.
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.
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.
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.
Portrait from the Tribes of Omo portfolio recognised with honorable mention at 2015 International Photography Awards
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.
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.’
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.
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.
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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