Dumped: A reportage from Guatemala by James Loveday

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Photos by James Loveday

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James is a photographer from London. He began working in photography after completing his degree in Ancient History at London’s UCL in 2006. He then assisted several top fashion photographers in London and during a two year spell in New York where he also began shooting his own work.

His portfolio is varied and he is as comfortable shooting high end fashion editorials as he is shooting serious documentary photojournalism. The reportage projects have included this project on Guatemala, a survey of America and the American road all shot from the highways, an exploration of the people who use the website Craigslist and a personal project on all of his bedrooms over the last few years.

You can see and buy the book he published here

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1) Can you tell us something about you?
I’m a photographer based in London, I shoot fashion and music on a regular basis but when I have the time I like to go and shoot documentary projects, and things that really matter. Life is not all just pretty girls!

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2) What do you like doing reportages?
I must say I didn’t enjoy shooting this project in Guatemala. It was personally very hard. I was stuck out on my own in a country where I didn’t speak the language and was seeing and hearing about horrific things happening to the people there on a daily basis. The thing which kept me shooting however was that there is so little coverage of this that it was important to get it out and for people to see what it is like being in Guatemala.

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3) How did you decide to go to Guatemala and start doing this reportage?
A friend of mine is working there in human rights and I had been talking to him for a while about flying down from New York where I was living at the time. Finally I got there and started to figure out what I should go shoot and how to go about it with the contacts he found for me. I definitely wouldn’t have covered nearly so much stuff if people there hadn’t been so great in helping me get to the places I went to.

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4) What were your first impressions and what kind of reaction did the people have there when you started taking photos?
My first impression was Fucking Hell!! The people’s were all different. When I was shooting on the dump itself the people didn’t mind at all, they really embraced the camera, but the security were less than happy! I was escorted from the dump 4 times by armed guards and was made to delete photos by the owner of the dump because they showed children working there and people living on the dump. The people in the community around the dump eventually got used to me as I would show up day after day with my camera to the same main street. So after a while they didn’t mind me there at all and posed for me. The cemetery of course was different as it was closed to the public. But the people working there appreciated the job I was doing and wanted me to shoot everything so more people could see exactly what had happened in all it’s grim details.

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5) What’s are your next projects?
Well this project is not over yet! What I really think this project deserves is a book and an exhibition. I have put together a book on blurb but I am trying to get a publisher to distribute it properly. There may be an exhibition in Barcelona on the horizon too, so watch this space!

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