Sunday, December 26, 2010

Kudos from Children International

I recently did a photo assignment for the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Children International in Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. Here are their comments on my work. Its not often one makes a lot of money in this profession, so it is nice to get few appreciative strokes once in a while.

"Doug is a gifted and accomplished photographer! Excellent eye for drama, humanity, and the world in which we live. And it’s evident from his images that he has an aptitude for communicating emotionally with children of all cultures.

He made things easy for us, by understanding the project, taking charge once he hits the ground, and getting it all done on time with incredible results.

Children International will be using his Ecuador images for years to come, because they capture perfectly the real lives of the people we help. No qualms about recommending him to anyone or any organization".

Scott Cotter

Communications Director

Children International

Global NGO

Children in the slums of Quito, Ecuador. Copyright Doug Pyper

Scroll down to previous post for more on the project and a link to image gallery.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Poverty in Quito, Ecuador

Copyright Doug Pyper

The amount of poverty that exists across South America is almost unimaginable to someone from an affluent society.

Driven by powerful cultural beliefs and the emotional rewards of family life, along with largely Roman Catholic values, most couples have many children very early in life. In most cases, any sort of economic stability is only a minor consideration. They will choose love and family over monetary wealth always and will labour relentlessly any way they can to sustain it . An idea that we in North American society might give some thought to, where more often than not, these values succumb to rampart consumerism and the pursuit of physical comforts.

Unfortunately, the economic reality in South America is that many children go hungry....and needless to say, necessary health care is rarely accessible in this struggle to survive.

Copyright Doug Pyper

The people of Ecuador are a pure joy! They are happy, content, friendly, respectful, accepting of each other and deeply dedicated to is their nature. Truly, this is what fuels my love for this country. It saddens me that children go hungry here as they do elsewhere in the world.

I very recently completed an assignment for Children International. We visited three families in the one of the poorest areas of the city of Quito, Ecuador.

Here is a selection of images from that shoot. Viewable as slideshow:

Please feel free to leave your comments on child poverty in South America and worldwide.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Threats to Indigenous People of Colombia.

My friend Anna Rose recently wrote this letter to the president of Colombia. It was delivered by postal mail. She states well the horrific situation transpiring there and the concerns we all should have about this and similar situations around the world.

10 December 2010

Señor Presidente Juan Manuel Santos
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño, Carrera 8 No. 7-26
Bogotá, Colombia

Dear President Santos,

I am a health professional living in Canada. I am enjoying learning Spanish, but I am not up to writing much in it, yet. I am writing because of my concern with the multiple threats to the indigenous nations within Colombia. I first became aware of some specific instances of violence against indigenous villages when I read a book last year by a Latin American journalist. In presenting cases for letter-writing in their annual Write for Rights Day this year, Amnesty International has given more examples and confirmed that the protection given by the Colombian Government to the peoples and their lands is inadequate. Colombia is signatory to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which clearly outlines the protection of and assistance to indigenous people which each State must work towards.

- commence an impartial and exhaustive investigation into the death threats issued to the leaders of the Consejo Regional Indígena del Cauca by las Aguilas Negras
- bring the perpetrators to justice promptly
- implement fully Constitutional Court Ruling 004 of January 2009 which lays out
effective protection measures

As affirmed in the UN Declaration, “all peoples contribute to the diversity and richness of civilizations and cultures, which constitute the common heritage of humankind.” I am told there are at least 32 indigenous nations in danger of extinction in Colombia. It would be everybody’s loss if even one nation vanished due to paramilitary violence, forced eviction from their lands by developers, and lack of protection against these threats by your government.


Anna Rose
Box 115, Gray Creek, BC
Canada V0B 1S0

c.c. Hon. Lawrence Cannon, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Finally Some Photos!

Finally some photos of Bolivia!!

I’m chilling out in Banos, Ecuador right now. It’s my favourite little town in all of South America, tucked away in the lush green eastern Andes Mountains. The pace of my recent travels through Bolivia (for five weeks) was near frantic, followed by a four day race across Peru that was exhausting. Spare time was virtually non-existent.

I’ve been in Banos for a week now and have finally found time to edit and upload to my website some images from Bolivia. You’ll find a collection of twelve separate galleries from different locations in the country.

I had written a blog post about my travels in Bolivia, but lost it in a copy/paste operation. Bummer! I decided it was too much work to re-write it.

The images themselves will tell the story to a great degree. They are all fully captioned and the “descriptive text” introducing each gallery is probably more informative than the blog post I lost. It offers some detailed background on each of the image galleries and my personal point of view on experiences, locations and issues.

The very best way to view image galleries is SLIDESHOW MODE. Better yet: pause the slideshow and use arrows to navigate at leisure back and forth through each gallery.

Here’s the link. Enjoy! Viewable as Slideshow:

Hope to start doing stories regularly now that things have slowed down little. Keep checking back if you like.

Looking forward to Christmas in Banos!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Location of my Blog Title image?

The image currently at the top of Blog is my friend Anna Rose on the banks of Howser Creek in the Purcell Mountains north of Kootenay Lake, British Columbia. (Copyright Doug Pyper)

This pristine glacial-fed creek is currently under threat from independent power producers . The plan currently under review by the BC government would divert the creek into a huge tunnel to a power generating station leaving the creek bed dry forever.

A similar plight faces of thousands of creeks and rivers across our province under the recent BC Energy Plan legislation. A frightening situation which puts the future of British Columbia and our beautiful natural resources at risk.

Find out more here:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Website Changes, Fresh Blog and New Directions

It’s been a while since I’ve posted to my Blog. Actually more than a while..…my last post was on returning from Ecuador last March. I must apologize for my lack of enthusiasm in this regard.

I’m now looking at renewed focus on publishing, and promise to deliver on a regular basis. Though not the reason to begin blogging again, returning to and spending the next three months in South America will certainly be a major stimulant. I’m in no way planning a generic travel blog, although I’m sure the new surroundings will give birth to much inspiration. I will be travelling throughout Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

I envision my ‘new’ blog as multi-faceted, focusing on stories and images from near and far. It is my goal to create engaging photojournalism, showcasing creative images and expressing my thoughts and opinions on all things including environmental issues, regional and international culture, people, politics and the art and craft of photography in general. Hope to make it all informative, enlightening and an enjoyable read. Not to mention (of course) sharing my images on a regular basis. I will be posting links to my website image galleries and multimedia productions on a regular basis.

I had a great summer, during which I began thinking about how things are changing in the photography world and for me personally as a photographer. Recent changes to my website pretty much sum up where I’m heading with in my profession and my personal life…which are virtually inseparable. What’s new and exciting and what I’m leaving behind in some respects is due to the changes resulting from the digital age on this profession ….some things just don’t work anymore. One example is marketing stock photography globally through agencies. However, marketing stock images to local and regional clients seems as good as ever, if not better. In other respects changes are just a result of artistic growth, which seems to be drawing me in some new and exciting directions.

I have removed marketing “wedding photography” from my website entirely. I will continue to take some bookings and I do enjoy it, but quite frankly I find it (the business) all a bit of a circus these days with the advent of the digital camera…something I prefer not be associated with anymore.

As always my commercial work will continue, but my past focus on editorial, cultural and multimedia has blossomed into a major passion recently. I am equally excited about increased world travel and associated assignments and projects.

In my travels to South America this winter I will be engaging (along with other work) in a few assignments for NGO’s including a shoot for Children International in Ecuador. Very inspiring given my love for photographing children.

Hope you all had a chance to view my new image galleries from the past year on my website Portfolio page. Particularly special to me is the gallery “The Children of Ecuador” All galleries are viewable as slideshow. Check it out!

I have recently become a member of the International Guild of Visual Peacemakers….a very inspiring organization of humanitarian and cultural photographers. I have been a member of the Editorial Photographers of Canada for years. Both are now linked on my homepage.

Please visit my website to see the somewhat new look (changes) and check out images in my Portfolio from the past year if you haven’t been there for a while.

I’ll post about my upcoming trip to South America soon. Leaving in five days!!!


Friday, March 5, 2010

From Baños Ecuador

Sorry folks! I didn´t deliver the stories of my travels I promised on leaving Canada my last blog post in November.

Seems I´ve been just too busy to write......but my camera has rarely been idle. It became my means of communication with these wonderful Ecuadorian people as I struggled to improve my Spanish. I have included a link to a collection of 19 photo galleries below. The images leave no doubt about the willingness of these incredible people to share their hearts and souls with a stranger, and the joy that they felt in someone taking an interest in their lives is evident......especially with the children. In all reality, what I did here in Ecuador as a photographer would not be possible in Canada or many other places in the world for that matter.

I came to Ecuador to experience its geographical diversity so to speak. To explore a small country about the size of Colorado that seemingly had everything South America had to offer in one compact little package.

That was over three and a half months ago. I´ve since travelled thousands of kilometers back and forth across this precious land. From a journey down a jungle river in the upper Amazon basin to the warm blue surf of the Pacific Ocean.

And I have traversed and lived in the mesmerizing central highlands of the Andes Mountains that separate the two.

I´ve shared ramshackle buses with indigenous people winding their way from pueblo to pueblo on roads clinging to the sides of 20,000 ft peaks along heart stopping ledges. This made all the more surreal by the crates of live chickens on the roof and the resounding joyous rhythm of Latin American music....ever present on the buses of Ecuador.

I have lived on three separate occasions in Baños, a vibrant yet mellow little town, nestled beneath steep green slopes in the shadow of the active Volcano Tungurahua. The population was evacuated in 2000 during the most recent major eruption. It is a place I´ve come to feel as a home away from home and returned here often during my travels to chill-out. Strangely, it has a certain Kootenays feel to it.

This land has fulfilled all my expectations. But it is not a memory of a place I´ll bring home, but that of a people.

Ecuadorians are extremely poor for the most part, especially in rural areas and small towns. Yet they have a natural sense of earthy dignity, joy and love for each other that is rarely seen in North America.

That joy is in their eyes to see and in the melodic voices of their children to hear. They have given me a new way to look at life and at myself. It is this gift from these very special people that I bring home with me in my heart.

And before I leave I will re-visit a small indigenous village high in the western Andes called Chugchilan. In some almost mystical way it completely defined Ecuador for me.

"Yo cambio atra ves la montaña senderos de Chugchilan"

"I walk again the mountain paths of Chugchilan"

Hasta Luego Mis Amigos en Ecuador!

I take a part of you home with me, and leave a huge part of myself here with you. I will return soon!


Click Here
For Gallery Collection: THE PEOPLE OF ECUADOR

Then click on each desired gallery to view. Galleries best viewed in Slideshow Mode!