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End of Year Update #BeforeTheyWereFallen

Before They Were Fallen  is a project dealing  with remembrance. Myself and Katy Regan use the power of photography and testimony together, to link memory, the passing of time and loss to create a body of work which pays tribute to  the British soldiers who gave their lives in the Afghanistan conflict.

This blog is dedicated to giving news of  the exposure the work has been receiving, which with the help of our really excellent public relation guru  Helen Nesbitt has been impressive. Thankyou @helennesbitt.

Please forgive the numbers and technical nature of the post here, I just wanted a place to share all the wonderful exposure and  the progress of the work in detail, a summary is available on the news page.

Press and Publicity

16/09/2015 Phill Coombes BBC

This post leads to a sharp spike of visits ( 5000 a day ) to my site louisquail.com and 5100 shares, whilst on the main page.

Following this publicity I discovered 200 secondary shares on the National Arboretum blog with many overwhelmingly positive comments  and is hopefully representative of secondary sharing which is hard to track.

 

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British Forces Broadcasting Service  carry out a radio interview by Nicky Smith  (@producernicky)  which can be downloaded here.

 31/10/2015 Publication

Guardian Weekend ( publishes as scheduled, running the project over seven pages ; the project is shared 3100 times on Facebook and other platforms; Candis Magazine scheduleto run the story in the February 2016 issue.

Touring show – 18/09/2015, Four Corners Gallery – 05/11/2015 Oriel Colwyn.

The exhibition has been well received at both venues. In Wales we received  local coverage from the North Wales Pioneer and  impressively a visit from ITV Wales with a prime time news slot on the 05/11/2015 (395000 estimated viewers); in addition  they hosted the work on the main ITV web site.

There have also been  many supportive and warm comments.

To coincide with the  showing at  Fife FotoSpace Gallery in Glenrothes, Scotland (18/01/2015 until 25/02/2106)  a talk about the work  at Napier University was given and both Forces TV (27000 viewers daily 582 online sharers ) and Scottish ITV (6800000 estimated viewers ) broadcast short films.

There have been two more requests to show the work , news to follow, perhaps at the end of this year.

Helena Tym told us in her interview, “For me, Cyrus lives until the last person who says his name, dies. …I want people to know that our soldiers are not just machines who go out there for killing, that they’re human beings; who had family who loved them very much”.

So keeping the memories alive is hugely important and knowing the work has been so well received is  also very rewarding. I will leave you with this spontaneous tweet from respected photographer Abbi Trayler-Smith. Its  very welcome  and representative of the warmth of feeling the work has generated.

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As always its been  a privilege to share these stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Libya Tear Sheets

Big Thanks to the magazines publishing the story completed recently in Libya , notably A-magasinet (www.aftenposten.no) , and Der Tagesspiegel.

Link

A Big Thankyou  to  the magazines publishing the story completed recently in Libya , notably Der Tagesspiegel and A-magasinet (www.aftenposten.no) , hope to publish these tears soon. Here’s the link to  full story for those of you interested:

http://www.louisquail.com/PDF/Talking_About_a_Revolution_final.pdf

Here are a few thoughts on my motivation.

Out of all the countries in the Arab spring Libya for me seemed the most interesting.  There was something inspiring and clean cut about the way the people removed such a brutal dictator whilst  introducing democracy and keeping control of the revolution ; side stepping the drift into insurgency ( as has happened in Syria).

In Libya the whole country it seems is behind the process of democracy. After the recent, and highly regrettable, killing of the American ambassador , 30 000 people came on to the streets to remove the militias allied to Islamic extremism deemed responsible. This truly is a popular Revolution.

However, although we have heard much about the Islamic extremists how many people know  about this huge  popular response to extremism  days later.

The nature of the news machine is to report the most dramatic, the most inflammatory stories if you like. My personal response to this is, and has always been to think  ‘there has to be a more complex and honest way to report on and understand a situation’.

I reported in my introduction:

“Our perceptions of Libya are constricted by a news industry that focuses on the most dramatic events – the fighting and global strategy. However, it’s only by talking to the individuals intimately involved with the revolution, that we can truly see the big picture and understand the legacy of Muammar Gaddafi.

So driven partly by my fascination with Libya and partly by the urge to tell stories in a less sensational manner I felt compelled to visit Libya.

I was first inspired to work like this in Kosovo and have since been to Afghanistan and Haiti, (www.louisquail.com) working in a similar way.

Of course there are many difficulties still in Libya as it recovers not just from revolution but 42 years of a brutal dictatorship.  While I was in Libya there was a gun battle outside my hotel, and the airport hijacked by a disgruntled militia (more of this on my earlier blogs).  Shocking as this is, it was in no way indicative of my lasting impression of Libya.

I met some truly amazing people, such as the lawyer, turned soldier, turned lawyer Ghelaio who fought to protect his family and is now fighting for a truly free Libya or the 15 female revolutionaries in Tajoura who risked their, lives fighting for freedom.

When every house hold has a gun, and easy access to grenades its not surprising that trouble happens, but what I was always amazed by was how little trouble there was. This is a country with problems but also of moderation.  For the most part the Libyans were friendly, and optimistic that there would be a better life for them and their country men.

I shot on film, taking my time, and interviewed people, sometimes at length. I felt it was also important to document and pay tribute to the ordinary people involved in extraordinary events and to report on their tragedy, courage and stoicism not to mention other unexpected qualities such as  moderation and tolerance.

Often for the most part people seemed grateful that they could at last speak openly, and people were always friendly.

My one regret was I didn’t get to see the fabulous Roman city outside Tripoli. I’m betting if I return to Libya in a few years or so it will be along with thousands of tourists enjoying a peaceful country with an amazing history.

The wars end anniversary is on the 23/10/12, it seems a fitting time to show this work and remember the courage and loss of the Libyan people.

Jamie Chau for the Sunday Times


So continuing the pattern of random posting here’s a portrait taken over the summer. He has an audience of 20 million and is broadcast in over 20 countries in his role as an anchor man on Chinese TV, but was very down to earth and if you excuse the cliche a very nice chap. I photographed him with his parents and also a Chinese ex-pat club in Tower Hamlets for a feature on the British Chinese returning to the birthplace of their parents- reverse immigration. There were also some great characters in the club that didn’t make it to the magazine so feel free to have an exclusive peek.

Link to The Sunday Times Article by Clio Williams