Who is Ben Buckland?
Ben perfectly encapsulates “a picture is worth a thousand words” with his award-winning human rights photography. Tasmania-born and Switzerland-based, he is also a Senior Advisor on torture prevention at the Association for the Prevention of Torture apart from capturing stunning visuals for an array of humanitarian and human rights organisations. Human rights photography has led Ben to war zones and places of detention, where people are suffering but also leading change. As he describes his approach to capturing images in difficult environments, he strives “to tell engaging and compelling stories through [his] images that are about hope.” For more information, check out Ben’s Twitter wall here and his website.
Get to know the man behind the camera lens as he speaks about what sparked his interest in photography, the importance of visual storytelling when it comes to communicating human rights messages, and the desire to share his photography skills with human rights defenders. Ben also gives insight into just a few of the many powerful photos he has taken over the years.
We also invite you to watch Ben discuss what he finds to be the challenges of human rights photography, the connection between photography and action, and the importance of having enough time in capturing human rights images, particularly when photographing individuals who are in vulnerable situations due to different factors such as their environment or being subject to reprisals. Ben also shares his thoughts on how human rights photography can be more creative in making better use of space dynamics, away from being static.
Donate your work
Ben Buckland donated some of his work to ISHR. Thanks to his support, we are able to illustrate our web pieces with his photography and enhance the key message of our stories visually as well.
As a photographer, I think it is important to give what we can to help human rights organisations, whether by donating money or donating skills we have or by training people and defenders on how to tell better stories. All of us are working towards achieving human rights goals.Ben Buckland
You can also support us and donate your art! Click here to learn more!
Upgrade your photography skills
If you are interested in pursuing human rights photography but are unsure where to start, check out Ben Buckland’s website: it includes a page of free tutorials wherein he offers his expertise in planning, defining objectives, composition, perspective, ethics, and consent – all the essentials and basics when it comes to capturing the best images. You can find these video tutorials with additional information here.
The Suitcase Project
One of Ben’s latest exciting endeavours is The Suitcase Project. Buckland, along with fellow photographer Ramin Rahman, co-founded The Suitcase Project just weeks after Ramin fled Kabul in August 2021. Often, when people must leave their homes for the chance of a better life outside of war-torn or violent hometowns, others tell their stories for them. The Suitcase Project returns the agency back to the subjects of news reporting; they become the storytellers. Storytellers pass along a suitcase equipped with a camera, one roll of 35mm film, and a diary. They are invited to take 36 photographs and share their stories on the theme of “home”. Their stories are then shared via The Suitcase Project website and in exhibitions. Ben Buckland and Ramin Rahman describe the project as “a way to build something new and start something good,” and emphasise how “by deliberately gathering different perspectives, the project creates a space for dialogue and shared storytelling – all connected by one camera and one shared diary.” There are many ways to get involved with The Suitcase Project – click here to learn more about the project, becoming the temporary owner of a suitcase, hosting an exhibition, and more.