4 minute read
Malin Fezehai was the photographer behind the first iPhone picture to ever win a World Press Photo Award. Here, the visual journalist shares what it means to be in charge, and how she hopes to live a more sustainable life because of it.
As a photographer and visual journalist specializing in human-interest stories, Malin Fezehai’s work has taken her across the globe. Some stories she was drawn to include stories about climate refugees, people dislocated by war, and different rituals around the world.
From surfing in Senegal to climate displacement in the South Pacific, she uses her camera as a bridge to tell the stories of the countries, and people, we may not have the opportunity to meet. “I’ve probably worked in 30 countries across the world,” she says, “and during my travels I have become aware of trying to travel in a more sustainable way, and minimizing my own carbon footprint and my own impact in the world.”
For Fezehai, this is what it means to take charge. “For me, taking charge means committing to making better choices for yourself, and the world around you.” Whether it’s traveling mindfully, opting for conscientious hotels, or taking simple steps such as carrying a reusable tote bag, for Fezehai it’s this dedication and determination that represents being in charge. Here, Fezehai tells us more about her work, the steps she takes to live a life more responsibly and ethically.
How do you think storytelling
can make sustainable living
a more tangible goal?
For me, storytelling is about creating awareness. It works like a bridge connecting you to people who are really different from you.
There are issues that you might not think are affecting you right now – but it’s through storytelling that you can connect with them. Ultimately storytelling is about connection and creating awareness, and when people know more, they’ll make better choices for themselves and the world around us.
What are some things
you do on a personal level
to live more sustainably?
So I travel a lot for work, but I don’t travel that much for myself. But when I do I try to find places where they care about sustainability. So right now we are at Uluwatu Surf Villas, which is one of my favourite places to stay here in Bali, because they care a lot about sustainability. Their villas are made out of reclaimed wood that have been brought here from Java.
They are also conscientious about how they use water; each villa has a water catch system installed on the roof, and that means that when it rains, the water goes into these tanks and then goes through a filtering process and is used as shower and drinking water, which also means that there’s no bottled water in the villas. All the water that’s then used in the villas goes through another filtering system and becomes the water that they fertilize the grounds around here with, for gardening.
Storytelling is about connection and creating awareness,
and when people know more, they’ll make better choices
for themselves and the world around us.
How are you
on a daily basis?
I’ve actually got really into surfing.
For me it works as a metaphor for life. You’re on this board with a massive wave coming in behind you, and you’re just trying not to be overwhelmed.
And you just have to take charge of your body and get up on the board and life is like that too. Sometimes you just have these moments where you feel overwhelmed, but you just try to take charge and take control, and make the best choices that you can make in that moment.
What kind of challenges
do you face in work?
Have you had moments
where you’ve had to take
charge to achieve
something you believe in?
To work in photojournalism and documentary, you need to have conviction. And that means that you really have to be passionate about the story that you’re trying to tell.
I always tell younger photographers to focus on what they are really interested in, and really commit to the story idea. You’ll have moments where you’re afraid that you might not get the content that you want, and you’ll have to surrender to the story yourself and let it take you where it wants to take you.
And you just have to commit to being really persistent with bringing a story to life, and commit to the stories that you’re trying to tell.
What does taking
charge look like to you?
For me, taking charge means committing to something. It means committing to making better choices for yourself, and the world around you.
How to travel more
to Malin Fezehai
01. If you need to fly somewhere, I would try to find a direct flight, to try and minimize the amount of flights you’re taking.
02. Try to look at alternative ways to get there – are there train options, or more eco-friendly ways of traveling?
If you’re going on a roadtrip, rent a car that’s fuel efficient.
03. Carry a water bottle with you (and try not to use plastic bottles). Plastic is a big problem, especially in developing countries. Fabric tote bags are also a better alternative to plastic bags.
04. Shop locally; try to visit local businesses, avoid big chains and international produce that’s being imported.
05. Try to stay in an eco-friendly hotel, or a hotel that’s conscientious about the community around them, and are supportive to the locals.
06. Try to be conscientious about how you visit somewhere. Tourism can be really beneficial to communities, but I think we need to be mindful about how we visit places, because when places become flooded with visitors, it can sometimes ruin the reason why people wanted to visit there in the first place. So be mindful about where you stay and how you interact with the community.
Milan Fezehai has shared her thoughts on taking charge and sustainable travel for the launch of Hyundai’s new electric vehicle line-up, IONIQ.