Brent Stirton@brentstirton

Special Correspondent Getty Images/Verbatim Photo

http://www.brentstirton.com/

Today in #Argentina #women protestors are being arrested after government made a landmark decision to continue to #banabortion. The vote was closer than anticipated and signals a change in thinking in a country that is the birthplace of the current #Pope and has a strong Catholic base. For me the question remains why the celibate men who run the Catholic church, who are not subject to the pressures of everyday society, continue to have such power over the rights of women and their bodies? .
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#abortion #abortionrights #argentinaabortionvote


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I’ve seen a great deal of economic development in #African nations in recent years. #Chinese investment has had many positive effects but progress is often happening so quickly there is no thought given to the impact on the environment, to the role of nature in maintaining balance in these countries. Simple but fundamental things like how forests anchor and safe guard water tables are often not considered. One cannot easily blame the Chinese for being opportunistic businessmen in all this; I do think however that we can ask for greater #accountability from African leaders to ensure greater protection for these unique environments and for the true upliftment of Africans across the continent. ⠀
#environment #ChinaAfrica


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I was very fortunate to photograph Jones Benally, a famous and authentic #Navajo medicine man, as he danced the rarely seen Navajo Hoop Dance in a small #canyon in the badlands of Cameron, Arizona. The #hoopdance is traditionally performed at the end of a grueling nine-day ceremony and is a form of storytelling representing various animals, symbols and storytelling elements, all representing the never-ending circle of life for the Navajo. It was a privilege to meet you Jones, you embody the dignity of your people. For a guy from South Africa you opened my eyes to a whole different take on America. Thank you for the education. .
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#jonesbenally #navajohoopdance #medicineman #nativeamerican #liveforthestory


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I photographed this young #girl outside a funeral service in South Africa. She is an #AIDS #orphan, one of over 2 million #children in SA left without parents due to this scourge. I tried to photograph her as a symbol of all those #children. Her stoicism left me weeping in the car as I drove away. It has always amazed me that there are certain diseases that we simply accept, AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis etc. These are simply viewed as part of the landscape for vast sections of humanity. Meanwhile 9 out of 10 Big Pharma companies spend more money on marketing than on research. When I say more money, I mean close to double in most cases. South Africa has the biggest HIV epidemic in the world, with 7.1 million people living with HIV. HIV prevalence is high among the general population at 18.9%. That said, S.A has come a long way since the days of President Thabo Mbeki’s AIDS denialism. South Africa has the largest antiretroviral treatment programme in the world and these efforts have been largely financed from its own domestic resources. UNAIDS reported that 3.7 million people were receiving treatment in South Africa. This equates to 65% of the people living with HIV in the country. In 2015, the country was investing more than $1.34 billion annually to run its HIV programmes. South Africa has also made huge improvements in getting people to test for HIV in recent years with 86% of people aware of their status. The country has the largest ART programme in the world, which has undergone even more expansion in recent years with the implementation of ‘test and treat’ guidelines, whereby everyone with a positive diagnosis is eligible to start treatment. This has meant that the number of people eligible for treatment has increased from 3.39 million in the middle of 2015 to 7.1 million in 2016 – more than doubling in just one year. I say BRAVO to all those people who made this happen, it’s an incredible effort. It totally showcases what is possible in SA when good people come together in common cause. ⠀
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/02/11/big-pharmaceutical-companies-are-spending-far-more-on-marketing-than-research/⠀
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#AIDSorphan #HIVepidemic


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I photographed this #fisherman while on a trip to the Maldives, he was moving these #shark fins to a shipping container full of fins, he told me the container was bound for China and the #fishermen filled them regularly and as fast as they could. Shortly after I took this snap, the #Maldives banned shark fishing, one of the few nations to have done so. They did it largely because the sharks were worth a lot more alive than dead to the tourist industry. Studies have also shown that fish numbers generally increase in oceans without shark fishing. Humans kill an estimated 80 to 100 million sharks per annum; as a result shark numbers are down an average of 90% across species. This has a terrible effect on the balance in our oceans. I don’t work on the oceans much but if you’d like to know more on this subject I suggest you look at the work of @thomaspeschak, @brianskerry and @paulnicklen. They are all doing superb work on the issues facing our oceans today. .
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#sharkfins #wildlifeconservation #liveforthestory #sharkfishing


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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 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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