The internationally-renowned documentary photographer Giles Duley is to present his work in Hastings for the first time.
‘The Power of a Story: An Evening with Giles Duley’, to be held at St Mary in the Castle on July 4 and 5, sees Duley hosting a three-course Syrian supper-club at which he will display selected photographs, share stories from his career, present a new un-released project and introduce live performances by musicians who have lived through war.
Having worked as a documentary photographer since 2000, the St Leonards resident has specialised in telling the stories of civilians who have been affected by conflict.
His extraordinary journey since then has taken him to dozens of countries including Afghanistan, Angola, Lebanon, Bangladesh, South Sudan, Rwanda, Iraq and Jordan among others, giving a voice to hundreds of individuals, each one unique, along the way.
Duley’s style is to focus on the personal and human, often spending weeks with his subjects before unpacking his camera. His distinct and powerful work has been featured in numerous papers and magazines around the world and he has talked about his experiences on television, radio and at several international and national events - his TEDx talk was voted one of the top ten TED talks of 2012.
Duley is a Trustee for the Italian NGO Emergency and ambassador for Sir Bobby Charlton’s landmine charity Find A Better Way. In 2013, he won the May Chidiac Award for Bravery in Journalism and the AIB Founders Award for Outstanding Achievement, and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.
In 2016 he was commissioned by the UNHCR to document the refugee crisis across Europe and the Middle East, the result of which was the book I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See and a collaboration with Massive Attack which saw the band use his work as visuals for their world tour.
In 2015 he embarked on a five year project, The Legacy of War, which he sees as his defining work and has recently spawned The Legacy of War Foundation, a non-profit organisation that uses storytelling to foster change.
Through documenting and distributing knowledge about the long-term impact war has on civilians, in addition to actionable humanitarian projects supporting victims on the ground, the foundation aims to empower individuals and communities living in the aftermath of conflict.
Despite these many accolades, Duley is first and foremost a proud resident of St Leonards and, as a former manager of The Hastings Arms, is a much-loved local. For this reason, the event at St Mary in the Castle promises to be a truly unique opportunity to experience the work and warmth of one of the world’s greatest humanitarian storytellers in such an intimate setting.
The evening will also include performances from Syrian musician Raghad Haddad and Sudanese Oud player Bashir Al Gamar.
Duley said of the event: “My hope is to reflect the hospitality I have received from refugees whilst making the work in this exhibition, and to create an environment that facilities conversation and understanding. Ultimately it’s about creating a space where stories will be shared and action inspired.”
The event is a partnership with Hastings City of Sanctuary, and intends to bring people together through creating a place of conversation, collaboration and community, provoking inspiration, animation and action, with all proceeds raised going to the Legacy of War Foundation.
Tickets cost £25 and go on sale at 10am on Saturday, June 16.