Brent Stirton@brentstirton

Special Correspondent Getty Images/Verbatim Photo

http://www.brentstirton.com/

TARI GAP, SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS, PAPUA NEW GUINEA: A Huli #Wigman waits out a rain-storm in his room, #smoking and admiring his make-up while waiting for the rain to clear. The Tari highlands was once considered one of the most remote areas of the highland region of Papua New Guinea, the outside world has only really been felt in the last 25 years. Recent oil discoveries in the region are now changing it rapidly but for now, the #Wigmen continue to make #wigs from their own hair and keep their traditions alive.
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#papuanewguinea #huliwigman #huliwigmen #makeup #traditions #tribal #tarihighlands #liveforthestory @verbatimphoto


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Carlos Acosta retired from the ballet stage last year after 17 years with the Royal #Ballet. He has subsequently formed his own dynamic #dance company in his native #Havana. I had the privilege of photographing him just before he retired, I only wish I’d had longer than ten minutes with this incredible #dancer. .
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#carlosacosta #balletdancer #royalballet #liveforthestory @verbatimphoto


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It's #FreedomDay in #SouthAfrica so here's a lovely #lady embracing that in #Soweto despite the rain. Here's hoping that things can really improve now that Jacob Zuma is no longer the prez. I believe that no other country in the world has greater potential than South Africa if we have responsible leadership that cares more for the country than for themselves. .
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#photojournalism #liveforthestory @verbatimphoto #africa


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This young #boy is from the #Karawari people of the middle Sepik river in Papua New Guinea. The Karawari are the most remote of the floodplains people, with many villages along the river barely a generation old. The most recent settlements date only from 1996. Before this, these hunter-gatherer people lived mostly in caves and ledges in the foothills of the central range of PNG. Globally, people who live like this are changing so quickly, I feel very lucky to have spent a little time with a few of these unique groups before they are assimilated into an ever more homogenous world.
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#indugenousart #child #littleboy #liveforthestory @verbatimphoto


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Transkei, South Africa: I’m missing South Africa at the moment so here is an image I have always loved from there. This group of #circumcision initiates was walking back to their communal hut during their six-week initiation on the King’s land in the #Transkei. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to photograph this #ceremony there. A heavy storm cloud was rolling in behind them and just for a moment, sunlight broke through a gap and illuminated the front man in the group. I added a little fill-light and a moment later they were gone. As they vanished I remember my nose filling with the smell that only an African thunderstorm brings, elemental and electric. These circumcision ceremonies can be controversial, HIV transmission and incompetent cutting can bring terrible consequences to the participants. But this ceremony is also about centuries-old tradition, loyalty to your #tribal group, a respect for the history of your people. They bring enduring camaraderie to the participants who must endure pain without anesthetic in a ritual passage to #manhood. Millions of these young men have gone through these ceremonies through the years and they know and honor where they come from as a result. .
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#circumcisionceremony #passagetomanhood #liveforthestory @verbatimphoto


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#Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo: This week #Mai-Mai militia killed five of Virunga’s #rangers and a driver in a heinous ambush. Another ranger escaped wounded from the same attack. In the words of the parks Chief Warden, Emmanuel De Merode, “It is unacceptable that Virunga’s Rangers continue to pay the highest price in defense of our common heritage and we are devastated that their lives have been cut short in this way. “ All those killed were under 30 and represented the best and brightest of Virunga. This brings the total of Rangers killed in defense of the park to 175. All of these rangers will leave behind devastated and impoverished families. If you would like to help, please go to https://virunga.org/donate/
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#virungarangers @virunganationalpark #liveforthestory @verbatimphoto


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BOUBA NDJIDA NATIONAL PARK, NORTH CAMEROON: Today we congratulate the UK for their #ban on the sale of #Ivory. This ban will be total with the exception of older musical instruments containing less than 20% of ivory, certified antiques and museum objects. This is a great step forward for elephants. In solidarity I post this image from the largest mass killing of #elephants in recent history, which took place at Bouba Ndjida National Park in North Cameroon from January through March 2012. Eye witnesses located over 450 carcasses, the ivory poachers themselves told local villagers they have killed over 650 elephants in their hunt for Ivory over the 500 000 hectare region. The poachers, numbering over 100 men, were mounted on horseback, led by North Sudanese men and armed with RPG's, grenades, heavy machine Guns and AK47's. They were in two main groups, with a number of reconnaissance units of 4 men locating the elephants then bringing in a larger force to kill the bigger groups. Intelligence indicates that many of the hunters came from Chad and were led by these Sudanese men. These facts have emerged from a number of eyewitness accounts, mainly by French professional hunters who saw the horseman in the Park and moving across local hunting concessions. They had the appearance and attitude of #Janjaweed fighters from the South Sudan Darfur and Chadian conflicts and were disciplined, unafraid, arrogant and extremely efficient hunters. The elephants were herded together by teams of 4 to 8 riders who then decimated them with AK47 fire, killing all the elephants they could find, including babies with no ivory. Groups as large as 53 elephants were gunned down, with sections as large as 14 elephants lying within touching distance of each other. ⠀
This group of poachers was seen in Cameroon again recently. Curbing demand for ivory is one of the best ways to stop this nefarious business and save these magnificent, sentient animals.
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#ivorytradeban #ivorytrade #killedelephants #deadelephant #liveforthestory @verbatimphoto


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Upstate New York: Today is #WorldAutismDay, surely a day to celebrate all parents who deal with extraordinary children who struggle with developmental issues and special needs. I recently spent some time with a mother who exemplifies going above and beyond for your child. @hillarysavoie is mom to Esmé, a lovely child who has multiple rare genetic conditions and who, despite astonishing odds, continues to survive, thrive and make progress. Hillary has a doctorate in Communication and Rhetoric and she has turned her expertise into being a warrior for her child and all children who come into this world with issues that would challenge the most saintly parent. Hilary is seen playing with Esmé in their garden, an unguarded moment in a challenging life made possible through a love rarely achieved by most of us. In her own words, Hillary sees it as, “doing my best to keep up with the plan in my daughter’s genes, embarking on a seemingly unending journey into the place where science, medicine, and love collide.” ⠀
You can read Hillary’s writing on romper.com and see more of her thinking at #theCuteSyndrome Foundation. I would encourage any parent struggling with the difficulties of raising a child with developmental issues to read her. As Hillary so elegantly writes, there is a quiet trauma in doing this alone.
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#developmentalissues #autism #liveforthestory @verbatimphoto #autisticchildren


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VARANASI, INDIA: This young #boy is a #burnvictim seen at one of the few hospitals in India offering plastic surgery to the poor. He represents a tiny fraction of the estimated 6 million people burnt in India every year. Since his initial #surgery he has recovered the movement of his neck and upper body, prior to surgery, he was hunched over and unable to stand up straight or move properly. His next surgery will free him further. He says it changed his life from one where all he wanted was to kill himself, to one where he thinks he has a future. Most of India's burn victims are deeply impoverished and are unable to secure the necessary funding for surgery. Huge numbers of people therefore live lives of incredible daily suffering without respite. India's poor has a heavy reliance on liquid fuels for cooking and lighting and this combined with its huge and dense population leads to the highest numbers of burn victims globally. Dr Subodh Kumar Singh runs GS Memorial Hospital on donor funds and his own money. He's a brilliant #plasticsurgeon who could be water-skiing behind yachts; instead he chooses this as his life's vocation.⠀
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#plasticsurgery #liveforthestory @verbatimphoto


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DAG ALLAL, TIMBUKTU, MALI: Here is a picture for #WorldWaterDay from a scene that stayed with me. #Tuareg men, the legendary kings of the Sahara, are seen planting grass on the banks of the Niger River to grow a forage crop for their animals in the sedentary Tuareg village of Dag Allal. This group is very unusual amongst the nomadic Tuareg for their sedentary, non-nomadic existence, these Tuaregs remain in place all year and care for their animals by utilizing agricultural techniques. They grow rice and forage grass in the nearby Niger river, using a canal and small pump to divert water into rice paddies. Their leader, El Hadg Agali Ag Mohammoud, 70, explained to me that never-ending drought caused this group to choose to remain in one place, "We live here all year, we take care of our animals by growing the grass that they wouldn't normally have in the hot summer months, other Tuareg don't always understand this, they think that this grass grows naturally. We sometimes have to prevent them taking it, we have to explain that we grow it for our animals and it is not free. Sometimes there is a confrontation as a result, this is not the traditional Tuareg way so we have to explain it to them. I think in the future there will be more Tuareg living this way.⠀
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#nigerriver #liveforthestory @verbatimphoto


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Today we say goodbye to Sudan, the last remaining male Northern White #Rhino. He died of age related complications at Ol Pejeta in Kenya, after being cared for by devoted rangers who guarded him 24 hours a day. It was mesmerizing to see the relationship between Sudan and his caregivers. It showed me that once again there is so much that remains unexplored in terms of communication and understanding between man and animals. I had no idea that this kind of relationship was possible until I saw it for myself. There are 2 remaining female Northern White Rhino at Ol Pejeta, who do a fantastic job of caring for these last remaining Northern White Rhino.⠀
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#extinction #lastrhino #northernwhiterhino #extinctspecies #extinction #liveforthestory @verbatimphoto


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This is Mercy in Uganda and Mary in a #classroom on the Kenya/Somalia border. Both of these #girls want to be #teachers when they finish their studies. There remains a critical lack of teachers for Africa. According to the UN, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of education exclusion. Over one-fifth of children between the ages of about 6 and 11 are out of school, followed by one-third of youth between the ages of about 12 and 14. According to UIS data, almost 60% of youth between the ages of about 15 and 17 are not in school. Without urgent action, the situation will likely get worse as the region faces a rising demand for #education due to a still-growing school-age population. Education seems the key to this issue, supporting girls like Mary and Mercy is a proven investment. Resources invested in girls helps them to avoid early marriage and motherhood, protects them from exploitation and pays huge dividends in their later contributions to society. .
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#teachersinafrica #portrait #africaneducation #liveforthestory @verbatimphoto


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