SOS Children's Villages | p2 - Davao


I used the time during the flight from Cebu to Davao to select and edit some of the photos I had shot. I was happy with the results, but decided to do more portraits of the children of SOS Davao. There's a lot going on in the eyes of these kids and I needed to capture as much as possible.

Due to my schedule, I could only visit on a school day, so I wasn't able to arrive as early as I would have liked. I shot around the village for a while, just wandering and talking to the kids doing their chores or playing outside. Knocking on doors and going inside, hoping to find a fan to cool down. But it was after school and I knew I had limited time before the light went. I shot mostly outside and started to pick up a posse of the younger kids as I moved around, a few of them demanding I take their photo every minute or two (which I did). A small boy climbed on to my camera bag (which was hanging on my shoulder) and I had no chance of persuading him otherwise. It was hot and humid and the extra weight reminded me how a DSLR kid would have felt and I was thankful for my small Fuji X cameras. I held out as long as possible, but in the end my shoulder faded as fast as the light. I knew I had enough, but I wished I could have had one more least.

SOS Children's Villages are active in 133 countries and territories. They give homes to children who have no parents or who's parents are unable to look after them properly. They give children, like the ones you see here, good homes and a family life. Possibilities and dreams for the future are suddenly a reality for kids that otherwise would have very few chances in life.

Please take a minute or two to visit the SOS websites and see the latest news.

SOS Children's Villages | p1 - CEBU


Eight thousand miles of planes, trains and automobiles and I was back in the Philippines after five long years. My task was to visit and photograph the children at two SOS Children’s Villages, the first in Cebu and the second in Davao. I had no idea what to expect and as I walked through the main gates I realized that once again the camera, that little box with a piece of glass stuck on the front, had taken me to another place that I would never experience otherwise. It’s the best part of being a photographer and I’m so grateful for it. It’s been an honour and a privilege to have shot some of the things I have, and standing at those gates, I knew I was about to embark on something very special.

SOS is an organization that gives homes to orphaned and underprivileged kids in some of the world’s poorest countries. They build villages with homes for these children, look after and educate them until they are ready to go out into the world and have careers and families of their own. Each house has a mother (Nanay) who looks after the children that live there (sometimes as many as 14). There are eight children’s Villages in Philippines and I wish I could have visited them all.

At SOS Cebu I met kids as young as five years old all the way up to teenagers. My guide for the day was the very helpful Migueliza (known as Megs) and I couldn’t have wished for anyone more helpful. The children were all so friendly and I got the feeling they really enjoy having visitors in their village. There were smiles and tears and the children asked me as many questions as I asked them. I’m glad to say the experience has been etched inside my head.

Please take a minute or two to visit the SOS websites and see the latest news.

Update - Nov 12th 2013:

Typhoon Haiyan hit Cebu 4 days ago. At this point I believe all children and staff are safe, although there is some damage to the village. SOS Children's Village in Tacloban was hit the hardest, but again I believe that everyone is safe.


Looking For The Punch

text & photography by Derek Clark

With thousands of acres of beautiful Scottish Forest at their disposal, competitors from all over the UK rolled out an impressive assortment of off road 4x4 vehicles. Some obviously began their lives as Land Rover, Suzuki or Jeep, but others were not so obvious and many were even custom built from the ground up.

The Scotia Challenge was back in the northern town of Aberfeldy, a place known for it's outdoor pursuits and picturesque scenery which attracts thousands of visitors each year. But deep in The Griffin Forest, far away from the town, the roar of engines and the screech of winches could be heard in the distance, muffled only by the thick dense mass of trees. Vehicles must reach a serious of punches hidden at various locations in the forest using a map of the location. A punch could be attached to a tree or bolted high up on a rock-face.

Road to Utopia

Text and photography by Patrick La Roque


There’s the Cuba of eternal sunshine, families of giants laughing it up on sandy beaches, looking down on us from their glossy billboards. The all-inclusive cardboard world — mojitos galore.

And then there’s the country itself.

I'm headed to Santa Clara International Airport, glued to my bus window, watching the world moving thru its tinted haze, trying to make sense of a revolution. Why must utopia always beget distopia? Is it a gene we all carry, hidden somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of our DNA, a strain automatically triggered by power? We seem doomed to divisions, to societies of alphas and betas, regardless of doctrine or philosophy, regardless of ideals. All leaders eventually succumb to the same siren song.

I know things are changing in Cuba; but it's slow... Very, very slow. 
I’m glued to my window, the movie silently moving from one frame to the next. I’m looking for hope — But all I see right now is a failed experiment. 

The Hurting Game

text & photography by Derek Clark

I followed Willie Limond during the first half of 2013. From training at The Scott Harrison gym in Glasgow by former boxer Peter Harrison, through two fights to defend his Commonwealth Light-Welterweight Title. The first of those fights lasted 1 minute and 53 seconds and was stopped after he had knocked his opponent down several times. The second fight went the distance and was a grueling battle between two well matched boxers.

These fighters give so much to their chosen sport. It's a brutal past-time and takes so much dedication to reach the peak of fitness to be able to take so much physical and mental punishment. It really is the hurting game.

Ghosts of Repentance

text & photography by Flemming Bo Jensen

The town of Antigua in Guatemala is home to large, intense Catholic processions. Every Sunday during Lent, thousands of people take to the street as it snakes through impossibly narrow paths. 

Incense attacks the nostrils and its smoke turns everyone into ghostly silhouettes, scorched by the fiery Guatemalan sun. A chaos of people and the music of the procession.

I am not a religious man and do not understand the underlying significance of what is happening. But I watch, amazed, confused, aware of symbols without comprehension. And small moments, moments of great surrealism. Absurd and frightening. I am fascinated by these fleeting instants, and I wonder how many notice them, fragments from a dream, sometimes out of a nightmare.

A Hard Controlled Freedom

text & photography by Patrick La Roque

I’m driving east with the sun in my eyes, squinting through my glasses, blasting the radio at full volume. But I kill the music as I round the corner and hit the dirt road. Certain silences are meant to be heard.

Linda is alone this morning: the kids are off to school, her boyfriend working… It’s just her and the cows, the chickens, the rabbits; just her moving thru liquid beams of streaming light, kicking up dust and dirt in quiet determination.

Later she’ll admit her love of farm life, of the animals she cares for and depends on. The thrill of the market, the obvious pride in a hard, controlled freedom. She’ll tell me how she lost her husband. How she found someone new.

Later, as we chat over a cup of coffee…
Long after the day’s begun.

Death Makes Angels

Text & photography by Derek Clark

“Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders, smooth as ravens claws” - Jim Morrison

I've never seen the UK more divided on any subject as it is on ex-prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. Mrs Thatcher died on the 8th of April 2013, a long time since she ran the country back in the 1980's. But old wounds run deep and even now the country remains split, with one half heralding her as the saviour of Britain while the other accuses her of killing industry in favour of banks, bringing us to the current financial meltdown.

Some bruises never seem to heal.

Gods & Machinery

text & photography by Patrick La Roque

They come to tame the dragon, deep in the heart of its den. I follow them into a half-light I’ve come to associate with ceremonial spaces; this is a temple to motor oil, dust and gasoline.

The machine is massive, built to plow through dense northern trails thick with freshly fallen snow. But today it refuses to budge. Its steel frame shudders in fits and hiccups but the motor won’t start; such a capricious old beast.

Get the tools out. Sharpen those swords.

Screw this, loosen that. I’m circling & lurking as the ritual takes place. It’s all very quiet, the silence only broken by muffled questions & puzzlement. There’s no banter, just slow, rational work: from one to two, then two to three. Connect the dots. Solve the puzzle.

Suddenly, without warning, the Thing roars.

Exit the warrior priests.