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Khouloud and her husband Jamal. Lebanon 2014

Khouloud and her husband Jamal. Lebanon 2014 Giles Duley

Giles Duley: I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See

And through Giles Duley’s eyes, one enters and shares the world he observes; we see what resonates for him as he travels and traverses the planet. And it is the legacy of war that echoes for him, which is also the name of the charity he’s initiated, raising awareness of the legacy of war on people. HOT’s Zelly Restorick writes.

And it is our legacy. We – not one of us – can say : it’s nothing to do with me, as the continuation of violence of one human against another has repercussions. War lies within the network of human’s existence. Why? Is it truly the only, the sanest way to make progress? To evolve? To be an advanced species? Civilised?

I grew up among a family whose stories were either before the war, after the war and during the war – and it was either WWI or WWII. The wars they’d experienced certainly didn’t end on VE Day, when it was declared that war was over. The reverberations travelled on.

Pros and cons all along the way for all the different players in the war and peace game of life. People who are pro – and think it is the only or best answer. People who make profit along the way. People who see it as a way to re-build a place in the way they want it. People who feel that violence is the only way. People who are injured or killed or whose home is destroyed. People who see those close to them injured or destroyed. I doubt there’s many of us who haven’t been touched by war in some way in our recent ancestral past or present.

Thankfully, not everyone agrees that declaring war is the answer.

Personally, I am keen to see Giles Duley’s photographs and to look into the subject’s eyes and see what I see – and am also very excited about the Syrian food and music – and the sense of a gathering, to promote conversation via Giles’ photographs storytelling.

Here’s what Dan Matthews, who’s part of the organising team for the supper club meetings and the exhibition, has to say about the exhibition:

“One of the world’s leading documentary photographers, and St Leonards resident, Giles Duley, is to present his internationally renowned exhibition, I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See at St Mary in the Castle from 7 July – 29 July.

“The exhibition, which will be free to the public every day from 10am to 5pm, features 26 images documenting the global refugee crisis. It won widespread critical acclaim following a debut at London’s Truman Brewery on 17 November – and was announced as an addition to St Mary’s calendar following overwhelming public demand for a talk and supper club Duley is hosting at the venue on 4 and 5 July. 

“St Mary’s manager, Sean Berkeley, said: ‘We had been looking forward to the event with Giles for many months, as it’s the first time he’s ever presented in Hastings, but it took us by complete surprise when he offered to include his exhibition as well. He is one of the world’s greatest humanitarian storytellers, so this is a huge privilege, and one which we really want as many people in Hastings and St Leonards to make the most of… hence why it’s free entry.’

“Since 2000, Duley has specialised in telling the stories of civilians who have been affected by conflict. His distinct and personable approach to storytelling which celebrates life and humanity in the most adverse of conditions has won him countless plaudits including an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society, collaborations with Massive Attack and PJ Harvey, and a plethora of celebrity followers, not least Angelina Jolie, who said: ‘Looking at his images, we can feel what he feels. It’s clear that he connects deeply to the human condition of people from all over the world.’

I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See.001

“Through his exhibition, Duley tells the stories of refugees with the empathy his work is noted for, from the horror of boats arriving in Lesvos, to stark portraits of people stood against white backgrounds. Significantly, images are accompanied with the stories of their subjects, most of whom the photographer has kept in close contact with for many years.

“Proceeds from the event and sales of the exhibition’s accompanying book are going to Duley’s charity, ‘The Legacy of War Foundation’ which uses storytelling to distribute knowledge about the long term impact war has on civilians, as well as supporting individual victims and communities on the ground with various bespoke projects tailored to their specific needs.

“Duley is delighted to be bringing his work to this prestigious venue in his hometown and is very keen for his images to stimulate action and activism from those who see it. He said: “Documentary photography comes with great responsibility. Not just to tell the story honestly with empathy, but also to make sure the right people hear it. When you photograph someone who is in pain or discomfort, they trust you to make sure the images will act as their advocate.”

Mryam with her father. Gaza 2015

Mryam with her father. Gaza 2015 Giles Duley

The Power of a Story: An Evening with Giles Duley

Three course Syrian meal, talk, musical performances and exhibition at St Mary in the Castle on Hasting’s sea front on Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 July from 7pm to 10.30pm. Tickets are £25. Tickets: St Mary In The Castle

Giles Duley: I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See

Exhibition of 26 photos at St Mary in the Castle from Saturday 7 July – 29 July. Open for viewing from 10am – 5pm. Free entry. All donations to The Legacy of War Foundation and Legacy of War.

These events are held in collaboration with Hastings City of Sanctuary.

34381184Link to buy Giles Duley’s book

Responses to Giles Duley’s work:

“What shines out of the work is, above all, his respect for the uniqueness of each human being. Empathy is his gift.”

Kate Kellaway, The Observer

“Different photographers can use the same camera or light, or all shoot the same frame. But what is different is the soul of the person behind the lens, and the moments they recognize and are drawn to—the emotional connection they make. That is what I love about Giles’s photography. Looking at his images, we can feel what he feels. It’s clear that he connects deeply to the human condition of people from all over the world.”

Angelina Jolie

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Posted 21:15 Tuesday, Jul 3, 2018 In: Photography

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