Eliza Deacon – Moshi, Tanzania
I’ve been living in Africa for the past 18 years, first Botswana and more recently Tanzania. I was traveling the world, came to Africa and never left. Photography has always been my passion; after studying it at college in the UK, I went to work for Reuters news agency as a pictures sub-editor for 4 years. That still remains one of the most incredible times of my life and I learned much from the photographers I worked with. I wanted to be a photojournalist more than anything but, being young and lacking confidence, it never quite came together. So it goes. Much as I loved being involved in the news, the real world – and real life – beckoned and so in late 1993 I went to Bosnia and drove aid trucks in and out of Sarajevo amongst other things. That was also an amazing time, for good and bad reasons, and another learning curve (quite a steep one).
After Bosnia came Botswana (thank goodness you’re moving through the alphabet, my father said), and 9 years spent in the company of elephants. The camera, which had been dormant for a few years, resurfaced, but sadly the lack of any good photo labs in the area made for frustrating shooting. Tanzania and the digital age arrived, and it all came together again. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to travel quite a lot: Mozambique and an amazing women’s community project on an island up in the north, Egypt which took my breath away, Morocco and time spent in the thin air of the Atlas mountains, South Sudan and courageous women working as midwives in a country beset by so many difficulties. And then of course there’s day-to-day life in Tanzania. My fiance is a coffee farmer, he farms Arabica coffee on the slopes of Kilimanjaro and that is the place I love to be more than anywhere else.
Now I work as a freelance photographer having set up my own company last year; I called it Red Dirt Road as I seem to spend my life driving along them. I photograph a variety of things, one has to be a bit of a ‘jack of all trades’ out here; from Arusha hotel room interiors, to flower farms, to schools, to safari camps, to documenting life here, the good and the bad. I am also a photo stringer for IRIN, the news gathering side of the UN and this is something I want to develop more. I also work as a copywriter and a website designer. Being self-employed here is tricky, especially living miles from anywhere. But so far so good....it’s all a wonderful adventure