Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Friday, April 27, 2012

I started this blog in 2006 under the name of "A Photo A Day" when I moved to Latin America for half a year. I'm back on the continent, but now for a much longer time. I've settled in Medellin and will be covering all of Latin America from here.
I don't really update this blog much anymore though. But you can keep following my work on the website of my new project:

Here's the press release:

Bienvenidos á Medellin! Today journalist Jeroen Kuiper and photographer Ronald de Hommel launched the Medellin Office, a journ­alistic multi media production bureau focusing on Latin America.
We are based in Medellin, Colombia.

Working for media in several European countries, we produce stories about Colombia and other Latin American countries from our office in Medellin. Upon request, texts can be delivered in English, Dutch, German and Spanish within 24 hours.
You can contact us for assignments at contact[at]

Ronald de Hommel is a Dutch freelance photo­journalist. He specializes in global social issues relating to the environment, developing countries and conflict. He is one of the initiators and coordinator of the multi­media project 'Disputed Waters' ( He works for a wide variety of Dutch and international publications and NGO’s. His work is represented by ANP Photo (Netherlands) and (France), He has won several Dutch and international photojournalism awards in recent years.
Contact: ronald[at]

Jeroen Kuiper is a Dutch freelance journalist. He focuses on envir­onmental, political and social issues, but has been writing about sports and economy as well. He works among others for the Dutch weekly ‘de Groene Amsterdammer’ and German weekly ‘Freitag’. He regularly contr­ibutes to a dozen other magazines, mainly in The Netherlands and Germany. He is part of the international journ­alists´ team of He published his first book: ‘Het andere Duitsland‘ (The Other Germany) in 2009.
Contact: jeroen[at]

Friday, December 16, 2011

85 countries

I hadn't counted for a while.
I visited 85 countries so far, if I didn't miss any....
Asia is definitely leading.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The crisis that could have been avoided

I spent last week in Kenya on an assignment for the Dutch NGO Wilde Ganzen. Now that the drought in this country, Somalia and a part of Ethiopia is so much in the news, and many people have given generously for emergency support, they want to emphasize that what is needed just as much is support for structural development of the region. 

A multi year drought prevented Turkana pastoralists from growing crops on their arid yet fertile land after all their livestock was stolen by cattle raiders. 

So I travelled to two regions in the East and in the North of the country where farmers and pastoralists have suffered from serious drought for the past 3 years, but have actually not had a normal harvest for almost 10 years. Food support for them is useless. They have to be able to adapt to changing climatic patterns. So development of a more efficient water supply, modern irrigation and advanced agricultural techniques are what is needed. 

In the east in the area of Mwingi I visited several water catchment areas where a small dam of just a few metres high can store enough rain water in the wet season to support several communities throughout the long dry season, even during a drought. Pilot projects where greenhouses and drip irrigation manage to dramatically reduce water consumption showed how it is possible to sustain life in this arid region. 

In the north around Isiolo no projects like this support the poor Turkana families I visited. Traditionally they were pastoralists with big herds of goats. Several years ago the small community I spoke to was visited by cattle raiders that, in one night, stole thousands of pieces of livestock leaving the whole community in devastation. The 78th Tank battalion in the army base just a few hundred meters away was not able to prevent this. 

After losing everything they tried to turn to agriculture to get back on their feet, but the continuing drought has made every attempted crop fail. They now survive by collecting firewood and making charcoal to be able to buy a little flour and sugar each day on which their children survive. 

It's cynical to be here knowing that two years ago I spent weeks trying to get some Dutch and international media interested in a story about the drought that was already internationally known of at the time. Oxfam International had issued a press release warning for the serious implications if nothing was done a the time. While I was trying to convince media I also tried to get permission to visit Dadaab refugee camp on the border with Somalia, by now the main media 'tourist' centre of the crisis (as a colleague I met here described it). Road access was impossible without an armed convoy and the many relief agencies and UN departments could not help me with a place on a relief flight unless I had a serious media outlet that was interested in the story. In the end I had to give up my attempts. The crisis was not urgent enough, other news was more important. 

So now it is important enough and the circus has landed in Kenya. It's sad that this is how the media work. But I will keep trying to attract attention for the lesser known or approaching crises of this world like we're doing in 'Disputed Waters'. And I'm happy to work for NGO's that focus on structural development that will not forget about a region after the emergency is over in the eyes of the world. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

2nd Prize in Black & White Spider Awards!

Just discovered I won second prize (Merit of Excellence) in B&W Spiderawards in category photojournalism with this image I took in the Central African Republic. 

Caption: Rebels have used a small school in Patcho in the centre of the country as their headquarters for a while. They decorated the walls with their graffiti. The building is now used as a school again but the community has no money to paint the walls....Right in the heart of Africa, surrounded by Chad, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo is the Central African Republic (CAR). In line with its neighbours this country is ravaged by internal conflicts. Several rebel groups are engaged in a permanent war with the government. Army and militias have burnt down thousands of villages. The population fled into the bush where an estimated 100,000 still live. ..The Central African Republic has many Internally Displaced People (IDP's). Nobody knows how many. It is almost impossible to register them. There is only one IDP camp in a country the size of Texas. Many crossed the border to Chad, but the majority lives spread out in the bush. Whole communities live in small huts trying to hide amongst the barren trees. Small patches of land are cultivated but don't produce enough to feed the population. The main crop is Cassava. The shortage of food and the unbalanced diet result in children with swollen belies, malnourished babies and a rate of death amongst children under the age of five which, at 167 out of 1000, is one of the highest in the world.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Disputed Waters is online!

    Today is online.

Today is online

Disputed Waters is a multi media project of a group of freelance photographers and journalists. We explore stories about transboundary rivers where water may become a source of conflict due to climate change and an increasing world population.

Disputed Waters is all about slow journalism. We take the time to produce in-depth stories, something that is getting more and more difficult in the current media where there’s less time, less editorial space and less money available. We decided to create our own The website has been designed and developed together with to experiment with formats and content types.

Why rivers?
We’re interested in what effects climate change and a growing world population will have on our globalised society. Many specialists predict that the wars of the future will be fought over water. Well, we believe that’s pretty likely. And rivers will play a big role in them because they’re often the most important water source for countries and they have to be shared. We’ll focus on the big geopolitical stories, but will also zoom in on the personal stories of how rivers impact the life of the common man.

The website is a work in progress. The first river, the Colorado, is mostly covered on the site, although we’ll keep adding more stories. We will visit the next river, the Nile, for the first time next week. We will publish updates during the trip on our blog, Twitter and Facebook page.

Publications in international media are used to cover some of the expenses of the project. This is not enough for this type of journalism, so we try to use alternative means of financing like crowdfunding and the sale of other publications.

Disputed Waters is initiated by photographers Ronald de Hommel and Johannes Abeling. Journalists Jeroen Kuiper and Olivier van Beemen have been involved from the beginning. Soon several colleagues will join us to cover the next rivers.
Ronald and Johannes won the second prize in the prestigious Dutch photo contest ‘de Zilveren Camera’ with one of the photo series from the project. See them on the site:

Features of the website:
-Visual navigation by scrolling around on an abstract map to find stories and images.
-The big story is told in a non-linear way through many different items that can be viewed in a random order.
-The site has space to experiment with video and webdocumentary. was designed to work with computers and iPads. Especially on touch screens the possibility to scroll around to follow the rivers gives a natural experience.
-The site has been built to exploit many of the new possibilities of HTML5. (Unfortunately older browsers like Internet Explorer may not perform perfectly).
-The site runs on the Wordpress Content Management System. The possibilities of this system have been stretched to the limits to give the makers the freedom to publish lots of different types of content on the interactive maps.
-Through our Facebook Page visitors can interact with the makers and suggest subjects. Also through crowdfunding, supporters can indicate a preference for specific rivers.

For more information about the project, or for the publication of stories contact Ronald de Hommel:
For publication of an announcement about Disputed Waters or a referral to our site we have some free images available.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Las Vegas Water Cop

Las Vegas Watercop from Disputed Waters on Vimeo.

Water Cop Kevin Perry of the South Nevada Water Authority on patrol early in the morning to track down water waste in Las Vegas. This short is part of the Disputed Waters Project. by: Ronald de Hommel, 2010

Sunday, December 05, 2010

BabelBlog is online

From now on you can keep track of the productions and publications of the 11 Babel Photographers in Paris (of which I am one) via (In French)

The Soundslieshow that I made with Louise Williams about the Haitian Rice industry is still online at the Irish Times website:

Friday, November 05, 2010

Opening Photo Exhibition

I would like to invite you to the opening of a group exhibition with some of my work.
The exhibition is part of the MOIS OFF program during the month of photography in Paris. 

The opening is:
18:00 h

46 rue Montorgueil, Paris 2éme
Metro Chatelet - Les Halles

The exhibition is open from Nov 10 until Nov 27
every Wednesday until Saturday
12:00h - 20:00

I will be there during the opening and on Nov 24 and 25.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The People Outside, the rice growers of Haiti

While all eyes are focussing on the reconstruction of the urban areas of Haiti which were devastated by the earthquake, little attention has been paid to the needs of the country's agricultural sector.

Shackled by antiquated land-owning structures, regularly buffeted by hurricanes and flooding and undermined by subsidised American rice, Haiti's rice farmers face an uphill battle to secure a living.

As Haiti assembles plans for a post-earthquake future, the country's rice farmers are demanding reform of their industry in order to feed their families, and the country, in the future.

sound: Louise Williams, photos: Ronald de Hommel, Dublin/Paris oct. 2010.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gingerbread houses in Port au Prince

The wooden structures of the classical 'gingerbread' architecture of Port au Prince resisted the tremors of the January 12 earth quake a lot better than the more modern concrete structures in Haiti's capital. Some say the rebuilding of Port au Prince should be inspired by these old building techniques.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Can Haiti Feed itself?

Can Haiti feed itself? - Images by Ronald de Hommel

Tuesday Sept 14 2010. On the radio

Today I was interviewed on Dutch Radio 1 about my experiences in Haiti. You can listen to the broadcast here. (In Dutch)

Tent camp in Port au Prince.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Monument Valley, Utah. Friday 13th August 2010

On my way, during a trip for the Disputed Waters Project along the Colorado river. See also:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wachten op Wade

Het Monument van de Afrikaanse Renaissance, met een van de laatste Noord Koreanen, die nog bezig zijn om de puntjes op de i te zetten.

In Afrika is het moeilijk plannen - dat weet ik nog van een eerdere reis naar Senegal en Mali. De wekelijkse trein tussen de hoofdsteden van beide landen had bij vertrek uit Dakar twee dagen en vijf uur vertraging. Bij aankomst in Bamako was daar nog een halve dag bijgekomen. Ook herinner ik me de lange uren wachten bij een vertrekplaats van de taxi-brousse, een oude Peugeot 504 waar een man of negen in past. De vertrektijd is het moment dat de taxi vol zit, en dat hoeft niet iedere dag te gebeuren.
Tijdens ons verblijf van een week in Senegal willen we dolgraag het 84-jarige staatshoofd spreken, dat van zich deed spreken door de oprichting van het Monument van de Afrikaanse Renaissance, een neostalinistisch gedrocht gebouwd door ruim tweehonderd arbeiders uit Noord-Korea. Aanvraag voor een interview met president Abdoulaye Wade loopt niet via de persafdeling van het presidentieel paleis in Dakar, maar via een communicatiebureau in Parijs.
Ruim voor vertrek heb ik mijn aanvraag ingediend, maar - het is een vaker voorkomend euvel bij Franse communicatiebureaus - communicatie is niet de sterkste kant van het bureau. Ondanks herhaalde beloften word ik steeds maar niet teruggebeld door de juiste persoon.
Na nieuwe telefoontjes en nog meer mails word ik op maandag, twee dagen voor ons vertrek terug naar Europa, eindelijk teruggebeld. De communicatiedame in Parijs is gepikeerd - hoe durfde ik tegen haar secretaresse te beweren dat zij haar terugbelbeloften niet na zou komen.
En dat terwijl ze dankzij haar inspanningen zulk goed nieuws voor me heeft: in principe bestaat er geen bezwaar tegen het interview. Een secretaresse zal mij dinsdag bellen om een tijdstip voor te stellen. ‘Maar let op. Het is wel Afrika. Alles kan nog veranderen.’
Dan bega ik een fout: of ze er, als het enigszins mogelijk zou zijn, rekening mee wil houden dat ik woensdag waarschijnlijk ook Youssou N’Dour spreek, die sinds kort een eigen tv-zender heeft en steeds meer politieke interesse toont. Hij komt op dinsdagavond terug uit het buitenland en ook met hem hebben we nog geen vast tijdstip. Mocht de president een gaatje hebben op dinsdag, zou dat erg goed uitkomen.
President Abdoulaye Wade in zijn presidentiële kantoor.

‘U wilt de president toch niet op één lijn stellen met Youssou N’Dour’, vraagt ze bezorgd. Ik probeer haar uit alle macht gerust te stellen. ‘Nee, nee, met hem gaat het vooral over muziek.’
Dinsdagochtend. De secretaresse belt niet. Zou Youssou N’Dour het probleem zijn? De fotograaf en ik zijn in principe klaar met onze verhalen en wachten alleen nog op telefoontjes van de president en de zanger.
Wachten op de hotelkamer, skypen naar Parijs, wachten op het terras bij het hotel, bellen, wachten... Ik voel een vervelend soort stress die ik vaker voel voordat ik vooraanstaande figuren interview, maar nu erger is omdat ik niet eens weet óf de interviews doorgaan.
De secretaresse zal dinsdagmiddag bellen, krijg ik te horen. Nee, het wordt woensdagochtend. Maar ook dan blijft de telefoon stil. Youssou N’Dours manager bevestigt wel. We mogen voor een interview en fotosessie naar zijn club in Dakar komen, Le Thiossane, om zes uur.
Half vier op woensdagmiddag, zes uur voor het vertrek van ons vliegtuig begin ik de moed op te geven. Dan toch, de secretaresse van de president aan de telefoon. We zijn welkom op het paleis! Om half zeven. Precies als we Youssou N’Dour spreken. Kan het echt niet vroeger? Een mazzeltje: om kwart over vijf heeft de president ook nog een gaatje.
Het interview verloopt erg goed. Bijna anderhalf krijgen we uiteindelijk. De minister van Buitenlandse Zaken blijkt na afloop al zeker een half uur te wachten op zijn onderhoud met de president.
We rennen de taxi in, naar de club van Youssou N’Dour. De manager belt ons waar we blijven. Het is half acht als ik de zanger spreek, acht uur als Ronald een mooie foto van hem maakt en we springen de taxi weer in. Via het hotel naar de luchthaven. Krijgt de communicatiedame in Parijs toch nog gelijk. ‘Het is Afrika, niets is zeker. Maar er kunnen uiteindelijk hele mooie dingen gebeuren.’
Youssou n’Dour op straat naast zijn club in een buitenwijk van Dakar. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

2010-06-02 Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

Dutch influence in Cote d'Ivoire

The Harbor of Abidjan is the biggest in West Africa and aspires to become the biggest in the whole of Africa. They would like to be known as the 'Rotterdam of Africa'.

The Dutch Wax prints of the Dutch company Vlisco are famous all over Africa and are often imitated. Many designers leave the edge of the cloth (with the words: Wax Hollandais Vlisco) visible to show it's the real thing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

De kakkerlak van de Sorbonne

Studenten zijn er niet aan de Sorbonne van Abidjan. De Sorbonne in de grootste stad van Ivoorkust is geen universiteit, zoals de naamgenoot in Parijs, maar een speaker’s corner, naar het voorbeeld van Hyde Park in Londen.
In theorie mag iedereen er zijn zegje doen, over welk onderwerp dan ook. In theorie, want in de praktijk geldt de openbare debatplek als nationalistisch bolwerk ter ondersteuning van de Ivoriaanse president Laurent Gbagbo. Oraties ter meerdere eer en glorie van de oppositie zijn ongewenst.
Claude Nadaud, voorzitter van Sorbonne I.

Wij hebben net een van de twee voorzitters van de Sorbonne ontmoet, Claude Nadaud, die ons veel kwaads vertelt over de voormalige kolonisator Frankrijk. ‘Ivoorkust zal Frankrijk uiteindelijk koloniseren, want zij hebben daar totaal geen waarden meer. Het is een land vol gekken’, vertrouwt hij ons toe.
Een plaatselijke journalist in dienst van het Franse weekblad Jeune Afrique had ons al gewaarschuwd. De ‘Sorbonnards’, zoals ze zichzelf noemen, zijn fel anti-Frans, en in iets mindere mate anti-Europees.
De Sorbonne van Abidjan bestaat uit twee vierkante, open terreintjes, temidden van honderden marktstalletjes met gegrilde vis, gefrituurde banaan en schotels met het smakelijke rijstprutje yassa kip. In de lunchpauze zit het er vol ambtenaren en andere werknemers, die toestromen uit de nabijgelegen kantoren van het zakencentrum Le Plateau en plaatsnemen op bankjes en plastic tuinstoelen.
The ‘speakers corner’ La Sorbonne.

‘Jullie hoeven niet bang te zijn’, spreekt de orator van het moment ons toe wanneer we met twee jongens van de organisatie een van de twee spreekplekken betreden. Hij draagt een spijkerbroek, een kleurig overhemd en een petje en is populair bij zijn toehoorders. ‘Jullie blanken moorden, wij niet.’ Een lachsalvo volgt.
De spreker noemt zichzelf le cafard, de kakkerlak. Naast blanken gelijkstellen met moordenaars schept hij er bijzonder veel plezier in met een grote houten penis te poseren voor de fotograaf. Het publiek vindt het prachtig.
Le cafard, de kakkerlak. Naast blanken gelijkstellen met moordenaars schept hij er bijzonder veel plezier in met een grote houten penis te poseren voor de fotograaf.

Politiek engagement blijkt gelukkig niet zijn core business te zijn. Hij is een soort medicijnman en blijkt een middeltje in de aanbieding te hebben tegen erectiestoornissen. Vandaar de grote houten penis.
Een provocerende kakkerlak met erectiebevorderende kruiden aan de Sorbonne. Het is in elk geval weer eens iets anders dan een e-mail in je spambox met als onderwerp ‘Prove your manliness, buy our V1agr@’.  
Tekst: Olivier van Beemen

Veel marktstalletjes verkopen politieke DVD’s. Populaire onderwerpen zijn de koloniale misdaden van Frankrijk, de politieke ideeën van de huidige president en het einde van de wereld in 2012.

Fotograaf Ronald de Hommel en journalist Olivier van Beemen kregen een reisbeurs van Freevoice toegewezen waarmee zij twee weken lang reportages hebben gemaakt in Ivoorkust en Senegal in West-Afrika. Beide voormalige Franse koloniën vieren dit jaar de vijftigste verjaardag van hun onafhankelijkheid. Hun verhalen en foto’s verschijnen in Elsevier, het Financieele Dagblad, Het Parool en Supporter

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

2010-06-01 Assinie, Cote d'Ivoire

Assinie is still famous in France because of the Club Med resort. It gained notoriety because it featured in the movie 'Les Bronzés'. Ten years ago the club was closed because of the political situation in Cote d'Ivoire. the resort is still there. The lawns are mown but the buildings are in a sad state. Another ten years and nature will have recaptured this piece of French 'civilization'.

Monday, June 07, 2010

2010-05-31 Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

2010-05-31 Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. In 2006 chemical waste of the Probo Koala, a ship of Oil company Trafigura was illegally dumped in Abidjan. After the dumping 17 people supposedly have died and tens of thousands have gotten sick of the chemical fumes. There are many reports of people still getting sick near the sites. Khadidja Konaté (2,5) (with her morther Issa) was born without hands or feet near one of the dumping sites. She is one of several children that have been born with serious birth defects that are attributed to the effects of the toxic spill.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

2010-05-30 Yamoussoukro

'Le Fondation', one of several megalomaniacal constructions in the mostly rural capital of Cote d'Ivoire.

2010-05-29 Yamoussoukro

A 'friendly' militia.

2010-05-28 Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

The president of the Sorbonne.... of Abidjan. A government-supporting 'speakers corner' that does not like dissenting opinions.

2010-05-27 Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

I'm a Fan!

Friday, March 05, 2010

2010-02-25 Strasbourg

Place Kleber, the central square of Strasbourg. It's a collage of two images that were actually taken on different days.


Speaking about photo agencies.
As from this week I am represented by the Italian photo agency NAZCA Pictures for the Italian market.
Check out:

Sunday, February 28, 2010

26-02-2010 Strasbourg

Seats of Power from Ronald de Hommel on Vimeo.
I've been a member of Babel-Photo in Paris for almost a year now. A small collective photo agency. We have recently started the first collective project: 'chaises de pouvoir'. For the project I visited the Regional Council building of the Alsace region in Strasbourg. The new building is famous for its modern architecture by Atelier Chaix & Morel et associés. The goal is to produce a joint series of different councils throughout the country to be published before the regional elections in the middle of March.

Conseil Regional Alsace, Strasbourg

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

24-02-2010 Colmar, Alsace

Heineken Beer Rules!
Even in the the Alsace, the centre of beer production in France.

23-02-2010 Regional Politics

A Political meeting of the Greens in Colmar in the Alsace with local leader Jacques Fernique (l) and national representative Yves Cochet (r).

21-02-2010 Chinese New Year in Paris Chinatown

A Fresh start.
After a long silence I'll pick up my blog again. Starting with the Chinese New Year's celebrations in the 13th arrondissement of Paris.