Joaquin at the Waterfall
Joaquin at the Waterfall

During my time living with and photographing the artisanal gold miners of Rio Carate, it was my gold mining friend Joaquin that worked as my guide. On this day, he guided me high into the mountains to a remote stream where he had been mining for gold. The hike was a grueling ascent, and an incredibly dangerous descent, as we clung and scaled along the sides of crumbling jungle cliffs. It was all to easy to see the danger that these men and women confront on a daily basis to make a meager living off pulling gold dust from a river. Taken in Carate, Costa Rica. September 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

William in his Hammock
William in his Hammock

The mining community of Rio Carate in southwest Costa Rica gets a bad rap. They are known to those outside their community as being violent, always willing to engage in hard drinking, and notorious for illegal means of income. But, during the time I spent living with them, I encountered a tight knit community of honest people who work harder than anyone I’ve yet to meet. They are quick to demand what they believe is theirs, but respond to kindness and generosity with warmth and welcome. Taken in Carate, Costa Rica. September 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Cesar and Maria
Cesar and Maria

This is Cesar and Maria, sitting on their bed within their riverside camp adjacent to Rio Carate. During the day, Cesar toils in the river, digging and panning for gold. Maria is from the city of San Jose, and has only been living on the river for a few months. When I asked her why she had decided to move to the camp and adopt such a different lifestyle, she chose not to say. But, they welcomed me into their home with warmth and kindness. Taken in Carate, Costa Rica. September 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Gold Panning in Rio Carate
Gold Panning in Rio Carate

Gold miners of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula live a life of self dependence and isolation from the more developed parts of the country. Residing in jungle camps carved from the mountainsides, they toil in the rivers to extract extremely high quality gold. Many miners work within legal areas, but most spend at least half of their time venturing illegally into Corcovado National Park, where rivers yield higher returns for their efforts. But, there is enormous risk. Every year, multiple miners die from rock slides, and others are arrested for mining within the national park. Taken in Carate, Costa Rica. September 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Carillo Works on Joaquin's Foot
Carillo Works on Joaquin's Foot

Living in camps and ranchos carved from the hills alongside Rio Carate in Costa Rica, people live and die by the contents of their gold pans. And though they get a bad rap, known for hard drinking, fighting, and illegal activities, during my four days living with these artisanal gold miners, I encountered something far different. I found a tight knit community, a family of men and women who have spent their lives together in their mountainside camps. Here, gold miner Carillo massages the foot of Joaquin, a younger miner whose foot was crushed by falling rocks several years prior. Taken in Carate, Costa Rica. September 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

 This young girl lives with her family in a small village near Namungalwe, Iganga District, Uganda. Her family has benefitted from the Uganda Village Project’s programs to improve the health of Ugandan villagers by providing medical services, including testing for HIV and malaria, improved water access, and education about better hygiene practices. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

This young girl lives with her family in a small village near Namungalwe, Iganga District, Uganda. Her family has benefitted from the Uganda Village Project’s programs to improve the health of Ugandan villagers by providing medical services, including testing for HIV and malaria, improved water access, and education about better hygiene practices. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Rejoicing in Hospital
Rejoicing in Hospital

This woman spent years suffering from an uncorrected obstetric fistula, a debilitating injury to the birth canal caused by prolonged child labor (in most cases). Women with a fistula often suffer incontinence. And in rural Uganda, this can result in social isolation, abandonment by the woman’s family, and subsequent poverty with no way for her to support herself. But, after receiving a free medical procedure sponsored by the Uganda Village Project, this woman is overwhelmed with joy at the prospect of resuming a normal life after years of struggle. Taken in Jinja Hospital, Jinja District, Uganda.

Ten Years Old in Hospital
Ten Years Old in Hospital

This ten-year-old girl, pictured here with her mother, was in hospital to receive a free medical procedure, sponsored by the Uganda Village Project, to correct an obstetric fistula, a debilitating injury to the birth canal. Most women suffering from a fistula receive the injury giving birth, but the age of this patient implies that in all likelihood, she sustained the injury to her birth canal as a result of being raped. During our interview with her, she expressed her happiness at how much better she felt after the procedure, and she said she was looking forward to leaving the hospital and resuming school.

Ituba Queue
Ituba Queue

At a Healthcare Fair organized by the Uganda Village Project in the Ugandan village of Ituba, students queue up to register for free medical services, including screening for HIV, Malaria, and STI’s. Without programs like these, these children would not have access to these basic, but crucial, medical services. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

A New Well
A New Well

A young girl from a Nabitende village in Iganga District, Uganda demonstrates the use of a shallow well. Clean water can be a constant issue for Ugandan villages that do not have an improved water source. This well’s construction was sponsored and overseen by the Uganda Village Project, and it’s presence has greatly impacted the lives of the residents of this village. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

 This is Timothy, a Ugandan living in a rural village near Namungalwe, Iganga District, Uganda. In all of Uganda, malaria is a constant risk, but especially so in the villages.  Here, Timothy displays his mosquito net, the first line of defense against malaria, which was provided by the Uganda Village Project. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

This is Timothy, a Ugandan living in a rural village near Namungalwe, Iganga District, Uganda. In all of Uganda, malaria is a constant risk, but especially so in the villages. Here, Timothy displays his mosquito net, the first line of defense against malaria, which was provided by the Uganda Village Project. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Doting Father
Doting Father

A father sits with his daughter outside their village home in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Monica's Famous Smoked Perch
Monica's Famous Smoked Perch

Monica spent years suffering from an uncorrected obstetric fistula, a debilitating injury to the birth canal caused by prolonged child labor in most cases. Women with a fistula often suffer incontinence. And in rural Uganda, this can result in social isolation, abandonment by the woman’s family, and subsequent poverty with no way for her to support herself. But, after receiving a free medical procedure sponsored by the Uganda Village Project (UVP), Sarah participated in UVP’s reintegration program, where she began developing her business skills. She now runs a successful business selling her famous smoked Nile perch at a marketplace near Iganga Town, Uganda. By all accounts, her smoked fish (also known as pasted fish in Uganda) is the best in the marketplace. She was kind enough to let me sample some, and it was in fact delicious! Taken in Jinja District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Iganga Town Kids in the Street
Iganga Town Kids in the Street

I encountered these children playing in the street outside of the Uganda Village Project’s office in Iganga Town. Light skinned people are quite rate in Iganga District, and an anglo, like myself, walking down the road with a camera in hand attracts all kinds of attention. Whenever I would walk by, the kids would shout out, “Muzungu Bye!” Muzungu is the Ugandan word for foreigner, the etymology of which I discovered after some investigation. It means, “one who zooms around,” which harkens back to the days of the English explorers/colonialists who were seen by Ugandans to be always “zooming around,” supposedly. But like most things in Uganda, there are multiple interpretations.

Shrouded Woman
Shrouded Woman

This woman was in a attendance at the Ituba Village healthcare fair, orchestrated by the Uganda Village Project. She is dressed in a traditional shroud worn by Islamic women in the Buganda and Busoga subkingdoms within Uganda. Uganda is an extremely religious country. According to a 2014 census, Muslims make up 15% of the population, with Christians making up the other 85%. In addition to these two mainstream religions, belief in witchcraft is widespread, so much so that national newspapers provide coverage on issues of witchcraft and witches. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Lion Boy
Lion Boy

As a foreign photographer working in a new country, I am always initially apprehensive as to how people will react to having their photo taken. But, Ugandans as a whole, were incredibly receptive to being photographed, especially the kids. This group of village children couldn’t get enough of having their photos taken. To encourage these kids to let loose in front of the camera lens, I asked them to growl like a lion, to which this was the reaction. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Duck, Duck, Turkey
Duck, Duck, Turkey

A major part of the Uganda Village Project’s (UVP) work is putting on Health Fairs for rural villages at which residents can receive free screenings for malaria, HIV, and other STI’s. These events are not only crucial to the health of Ugandans living in these villages, but are also filled with fanfare, with music, performances by UVP interns, and games for the children. The children pictured here are engaged in a heated match of Duck, Duck…Turkey. Why “turkey?” Because geese are not present in this area of Uganda, and the UVP interns elected to change the game’s name to feature birds the kids are more familiar with.

Village Dance Competition
Village Dance Competition

This young girl was one of two finalists in the village dance competition, held as part of the day’s events for the Uganda Village Project’s healthcare fair. This event was held in the village of Ituba, Iganga District, Uganda. Here, village residents were able to access medical services otherwise unavailable to them, including testing for malaria, HIV, and STI’s. This girl ended up going on to win the dance competition. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Snaggletoothed
Snaggletoothed

At a healthcare fair organized by the Uganda Village Project at Ituba Village outside of Iganga Town, Uganda, this adorable little girl and I made quite a friendship. She loved the camera and spent the better part of the afternoon following me around and reaching up to hold my hand whenever I was standing still. Taken in Ituba Village, Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Woman in Yellow Gomesi
Woman in Yellow Gomesi

This elderly woman was in attendance at the Ituba Village healthcare fair, orchestrated by the Ugandan Village Project. She is seen her dressed in a Gomesi, a colorful floor-length dress, which is the most commonly used costume for women from Buganda and Busoga, two subnational kingdoms within Uganda. Taken in Ituba Village, Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Girl in the Red Dress
Girl in the Red Dress

It never ceased to amaze me how warm the people I met in Uganda were, and how open they were to being photographed, which I believe can be seen in this girl’s expression as she gazes confidently into the lens. Taken in Ituba Village, Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Protestor With Megaphone (DNC 2017)
Protestor With Megaphone (DNC 2017)

As night fell in Philadelphia following Hillary Clinton's nomination by the Democratic Party for president, thousands of protestors took to the street.  They were largely in support of Bernie Sanders, and accused the DNC of being rigged in Clinton's favor, an accusation that has since gained support from Senator Elizabeth Warren.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Portland Mini-Bike Winter 2010
Portland Mini-Bike Winter 2010

Every year, Portland bicycling club, The Zoo-Bombers, hold their mini-bike winter, a multi-day celebration of their club and Portland bicycling culture.  This event is the "Chariot Race," in which racers ride on custom-built, pedal-powered vehicles, and attempt to either dislodge other drivers or disable other chariots.  The event is often violent, and attended by hundreds of fans on on-lookers.  Taken in Portland, OR, Winter 2010.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Young Student in Costa Rica School
Young Student in Costa Rica School

As part of NGO Frontier's Costa Rica project, volunteers taught English to local students once a week.  Taken in Carate, Costa Rica, April 2017.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Conservation Students in Belize
Conservation Students in Belize

As part of NGO Frontier's Belize Project, student groups often visited base camp where they were taught about conservation and the wildlife surrounding their home island of Caye Caulker.  Taken in Caye Caulker, Belize, July 2017.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Students Restoring Nature Trail in Belize
Students Restoring Nature Trail in Belize

As part of NGO Frontier's Belize Project, student groups often visited base camp where they were taught about conservation and the wildlife surrounding their home island of Caye Caulker.  These students participated in nature trail restoration on the north side of the island, where Frontier's base camp is located. Taken in Caye Caulker, Belize, July 2017.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Lobsterfest 2017 @ Caye Caulker, Belize
Lobsterfest 2017 @ Caye Caulker, Belize

As part of NGO Frontier's community outreach and conservation work in Belize, volunteers, like Cole seen here, participated in Caye Caulker's annual Lobsterfest by serving as official judges, measuring and weighing all lobsters submitted as part of the tournament.  Taken in Caye Caulker, Belize, July 2017.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Crocodile Chris Wrestling American Crocodile
Crocodile Chris Wrestling American Crocodile

After witnessing several large crocodiles near the NGO Frontier's Belize base camp, staff members contacted Crocodile Chris to come and conduct a crocodile survey to determine the safety of the camp.  While on survey with Chris and other Frontier staff, we encountered this young American Crocodile, which Chris captured, documented, and tagged.  Taken in Caye Caulker, Belize, July 2017.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Crocodile Chris With American Crocodile
Crocodile Chris With American Crocodile

After witnessing several large crocodiles near the NGO Frontier's Belize base camp, staff members contacted Crocodile Chris to come and conduct a crocodile survey to determine the safety of the camp.  While on survey with Chris and other Frontier staff, we encountered this young American Crocodile, which Chris captured, documented, and tagged.  Taken in Caye Caulker, Belize, July 2017.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Jill Stein Speaking at 2016 DNC Demonstration
Jill Stein Speaking at 2016 DNC Demonstration

During the second day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, demonstrators massed at Philadelphia's city center for a series of speeches from activists.  Seen here, Jill Stein, spoke passionately to demonstrators, promising that if Bernie Sanders was nominated, that she would run as a Green Party candidate.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Sun Sets on Another Masked Protestor
Sun Sets on Another Masked Protestor

Following the announcement of Hillary Clinton's nomination for president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, protestors moved from the Free Speech Zone inside Martin Luther King Jr. Park, and began to mass in front of the metal barricades surrounding AT&T Stadium.  While the convention was being conducted inside the stadium, many delegates walked out in a show of disapproval of Clinton's nomination, while protestors faced off with police, with only the metal barricades to separate protestors from local law enforcement and homeland security officers.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Protestors Hold Candlelight Vigil for the 2016 DNC
Protestors Hold Candlelight Vigil for the 2016 DNC

 Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Philly Bicycle Cops Shadowing Protestors
Philly Bicycle Cops Shadowing Protestors

As the size and intensity of protests taking place following Hillary Clinton's nomination for president in Philadelphia at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, police presence increased as well.  These bicycle police formed ranks and shadowed the rear of a large group of protestors marching from the city center to AT&T Stadium where the DNC was being conducted.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Demonstrator Climbs Barricade at 2016 DNC
Demonstrator Climbs Barricade at 2016 DNC

Following Hillary Clinton's nomination for U.S. president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, hopeful Bernie Sanders supporters who were attending demonstrations outside AT&T Arena in Philadelphia reacted with tears and disgust, massing against the barricades that separated them from the arena, the delegates, and the police.  As tensions rose, demonstrators began climbing the barricade and surrendering themselves to arrest by police waiting on the opposite side.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Tensions Rise Amongst 2016 DNC Protestors
Tensions Rise Amongst 2016 DNC Protestors

Demonstrators mass at Philadelphia's city center during the 2016 Democratic National Convention.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Stilt-Walker at 2016 DNC
Stilt-Walker at 2016 DNC

Demonstrators mass at Philadelphia's city center during the 2016 Democratic National Convention.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Tensions Rise in Philly at 2016 DNC
Tensions Rise in Philly at 2016 DNC

Demonstrators mass at Philadelphia's city center during the 2016 Democratic National Convention.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Mythical Chanting Outside the Barricade
Mythical Chanting Outside the Barricade

Protestors from many walks of life demonstrate outside the ten foot metal barricade surrounding AT&T Arena in Philadelphia on the second day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

2016 DNC Protestor in Guy Fawkes Mask
2016 DNC Protestor in Guy Fawkes Mask

Many demonstrators gathering inside the designated Free Speech Zone at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Philadelphia, were sporting costumes or masks to hide their identity and protect their faces from the potential deployment of pepper spray by police and homeland security forces.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Bernie Sanders Supportes Mourn After Clinton Nomination
Bernie Sanders Supportes Mourn After Clinton Nomination

Following Hillary Clinton's nomination for U.S. president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, hopeful Bernie Sanders supporters who were attending demonstrations outside AT&T Arena in Philadelphia reacted with tears and disgust.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Bernie Sanders Supporters Mourning at Barricade
Bernie Sanders Supporters Mourning at Barricade

Following Hillary Clinton's nomination for U.S. president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, hopeful Bernie Sanders supporters who were demonstrating outside AT&T Arena in Philadelphia reacted with tears and disgust.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Demonstrator On Megaphone at Barricade
Demonstrator On Megaphone at Barricade

Following Hillary Clinton's nomination for U.S. president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, demonstrators massed outside AT&T Arena in Philadelphia. This man led a "funeral procession" for the DNC just prior to this photo being taken.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

DNC Death March
DNC Death March

Following Hillary Clinton's nomination for U.S. president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, demonstrators staged a funeral procession for the DNC outside AT&T Arena in Philadelphia. Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Demonstrator Gets Pepper Sprayed by Police
Demonstrator Gets Pepper Sprayed by Police

This woman, who was demonstrating outside AT&T Arena at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, joined with others at the barricade that separated them from the arena and police forces standing on the other side.  From the crowd, someone threw a water bottle over the barricade, and Homeland Security forces responded by indiscriminately shooting their pepper spray into the crowd, hitting this woman directly in the face.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Pepper Spray Victim Return to the Front
Pepper Spray Victim Return to the Front

After being pepper sprayed and then receiving field treatment from other demonstrators, this woman returned to the barricade to continue her protest of the 2016 Democratic National Convention.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Philadelphia Police Officer Through the Barricade
Philadelphia Police Officer Through the Barricade

A Philadelphia police officer at the 2016 Democratic National Convention places his hands on the barricade that separated police from demonstrators just after several demonstrators were attacked with pepper spray by Homeland Security forces. Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Young Woman Reacting to Homeland Security Pepper Spray
Young Woman Reacting to Homeland Security Pepper Spray

This young woman was struck with pepper spray in the face after a Homeland Security sprayed his can of mace into the crowd of demonstrators.  This was in response to a water bottle being thrown by a demonstrator over the barricade that separated them from AT&T Arena, the delegates of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and police and Homeland Security forces. Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Philly Police Officer Smiling Through the Barricade
Philly Police Officer Smiling Through the Barricade

A Philadelphia police officer smiles into my camera lens from across the barricade that separated him from demonstrators just after several demonstrators were struck with pepper spray deployed by Homeland Security forces outside the 2016 Democratic National Convetion. Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Masked Demonstrator Outside Barricade
Masked Demonstrator Outside Barricade

Following Hillary Clinton's nomination for U.S. president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, hopeful Bernie Sanders supporters who were attending demonstrations outside AT&T Arena in Philadelphia reacted with tears and disgust, massing against the barricades that separated them from the arena, the delegates, and the police.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Portland, Oregon-Cross Processed
Portland, Oregon-Cross Processed

This photo was shot on medium format, slide film, and then cross processed, creating this ultra saturated and contrasty image.  This photo was featured in the Blue Moon Client Showcase 2010.  Taken in Portland, Oregon, October 2010. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Brother Joe in Medium Format
Brother Joe in Medium Format

This photo of my younger brother, Joe, was shot on medium format, color negative film using a Hasselblad 500 c/m and a Zeiss 800mm/2.8 lens.  This photo was featured in the 2009 Blue Moon Client Showcase. Taken in Olympia, WA, October 2009.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

BirdCloud in Portland 1
BirdCloud in Portland 1

While on tour, Nashville-based country rock group BIRDCLOUD stopped over in Portland, Oregon for a visit and a quick photo shoot.  Taken in Portland, Oregon, November 2013. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Jon Hanna in the Studio 1
Jon Hanna in the Studio 1
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Broken Water NEG 790_0007.jpg
Broken-Water-IMG_0009.jpg
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Broken-Water-WO6A0301.jpg
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Chel.jpg
ChrystaBell_001.jpg
ChrystaBell_02.jpg
ChrystaBell_MinhTron.jpg
deimien.jpg
DW1.jpg
DW2.jpg
Hassie_BNW_020213_0001.jpg
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IMG_0043.jpg
IMG_1589.JPG
IMG_9345.jpg
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isaac8.jpg
IsaacBrock.jpg
John1.jpg
Kanako1-2.jpg
Louise-Swimming.jpg
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Joaquin at the Waterfall
William in his Hammock
Cesar and Maria
Gold Panning in Rio Carate
Carillo Works on Joaquin's Foot
 This young girl lives with her family in a small village near Namungalwe, Iganga District, Uganda. Her family has benefitted from the Uganda Village Project’s programs to improve the health of Ugandan villagers by providing medical services, including testing for HIV and malaria, improved water access, and education about better hygiene practices. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.
Rejoicing in Hospital
Ten Years Old in Hospital
Ituba Queue
A New Well
 This is Timothy, a Ugandan living in a rural village near Namungalwe, Iganga District, Uganda. In all of Uganda, malaria is a constant risk, but especially so in the villages.  Here, Timothy displays his mosquito net, the first line of defense against malaria, which was provided by the Uganda Village Project. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.
Doting Father
Monica's Famous Smoked Perch
Iganga Town Kids in the Street
Shrouded Woman
Lion Boy
Duck, Duck, Turkey
Village Dance Competition
Snaggletoothed
Woman in Yellow Gomesi
Girl in the Red Dress
Protestor With Megaphone (DNC 2017)
Portland Mini-Bike Winter 2010
Young Student in Costa Rica School
Conservation Students in Belize
Students Restoring Nature Trail in Belize
Lobsterfest 2017 @ Caye Caulker, Belize
Crocodile Chris Wrestling American Crocodile
Crocodile Chris With American Crocodile
Jill Stein Speaking at 2016 DNC Demonstration
Sun Sets on Another Masked Protestor
Protestors Hold Candlelight Vigil for the 2016 DNC
Philly Bicycle Cops Shadowing Protestors
Demonstrator Climbs Barricade at 2016 DNC
Tensions Rise Amongst 2016 DNC Protestors
Stilt-Walker at 2016 DNC
Tensions Rise in Philly at 2016 DNC
Mythical Chanting Outside the Barricade
2016 DNC Protestor in Guy Fawkes Mask
Bernie Sanders Supportes Mourn After Clinton Nomination
Bernie Sanders Supporters Mourning at Barricade
Demonstrator On Megaphone at Barricade
DNC Death March
Demonstrator Gets Pepper Sprayed by Police
Pepper Spray Victim Return to the Front
Philadelphia Police Officer Through the Barricade
Young Woman Reacting to Homeland Security Pepper Spray
Philly Police Officer Smiling Through the Barricade
Masked Demonstrator Outside Barricade
Portland, Oregon-Cross Processed
Brother Joe in Medium Format
BirdCloud in Portland 1
Jon Hanna in the Studio 1
Broken Water IMG_0005 copy-2.jpg
Broken Water NEG 790_0007.jpg
Broken-Water-IMG_0009.jpg
Broken-Water-WO6A0192.jpg
Broken-Water-WO6A0301.jpg
Broken-Water-WO6A9919.jpg
Chel.jpg
ChrystaBell_001.jpg
ChrystaBell_02.jpg
ChrystaBell_MinhTron.jpg
deimien.jpg
DW1.jpg
DW2.jpg
Hassie_BNW_020213_0001.jpg
IMG_0014-edit.jpg
IMG_0043.jpg
IMG_1589.JPG
IMG_9345.jpg
IMG_9517.jpg
isaac8.jpg
IsaacBrock.jpg
John1.jpg
Kanako1-2.jpg
Louise-Swimming.jpg
Michael_vw1 copy.jpg
mm1.jpg
nando2.jpg
Nick_Fence4.jpg
PileOns_small.jpg
VashonBike4.jpg
WO6A2966.jpg
WO6A9954.jpg
Joaquin at the Waterfall

During my time living with and photographing the artisanal gold miners of Rio Carate, it was my gold mining friend Joaquin that worked as my guide. On this day, he guided me high into the mountains to a remote stream where he had been mining for gold. The hike was a grueling ascent, and an incredibly dangerous descent, as we clung and scaled along the sides of crumbling jungle cliffs. It was all to easy to see the danger that these men and women confront on a daily basis to make a meager living off pulling gold dust from a river. Taken in Carate, Costa Rica. September 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

William in his Hammock

The mining community of Rio Carate in southwest Costa Rica gets a bad rap. They are known to those outside their community as being violent, always willing to engage in hard drinking, and notorious for illegal means of income. But, during the time I spent living with them, I encountered a tight knit community of honest people who work harder than anyone I’ve yet to meet. They are quick to demand what they believe is theirs, but respond to kindness and generosity with warmth and welcome. Taken in Carate, Costa Rica. September 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Cesar and Maria

This is Cesar and Maria, sitting on their bed within their riverside camp adjacent to Rio Carate. During the day, Cesar toils in the river, digging and panning for gold. Maria is from the city of San Jose, and has only been living on the river for a few months. When I asked her why she had decided to move to the camp and adopt such a different lifestyle, she chose not to say. But, they welcomed me into their home with warmth and kindness. Taken in Carate, Costa Rica. September 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Gold Panning in Rio Carate

Gold miners of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula live a life of self dependence and isolation from the more developed parts of the country. Residing in jungle camps carved from the mountainsides, they toil in the rivers to extract extremely high quality gold. Many miners work within legal areas, but most spend at least half of their time venturing illegally into Corcovado National Park, where rivers yield higher returns for their efforts. But, there is enormous risk. Every year, multiple miners die from rock slides, and others are arrested for mining within the national park. Taken in Carate, Costa Rica. September 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Carillo Works on Joaquin's Foot

Living in camps and ranchos carved from the hills alongside Rio Carate in Costa Rica, people live and die by the contents of their gold pans. And though they get a bad rap, known for hard drinking, fighting, and illegal activities, during my four days living with these artisanal gold miners, I encountered something far different. I found a tight knit community, a family of men and women who have spent their lives together in their mountainside camps. Here, gold miner Carillo massages the foot of Joaquin, a younger miner whose foot was crushed by falling rocks several years prior. Taken in Carate, Costa Rica. September 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

This young girl lives with her family in a small village near Namungalwe, Iganga District, Uganda. Her family has benefitted from the Uganda Village Project’s programs to improve the health of Ugandan villagers by providing medical services, including testing for HIV and malaria, improved water access, and education about better hygiene practices. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Rejoicing in Hospital

This woman spent years suffering from an uncorrected obstetric fistula, a debilitating injury to the birth canal caused by prolonged child labor (in most cases). Women with a fistula often suffer incontinence. And in rural Uganda, this can result in social isolation, abandonment by the woman’s family, and subsequent poverty with no way for her to support herself. But, after receiving a free medical procedure sponsored by the Uganda Village Project, this woman is overwhelmed with joy at the prospect of resuming a normal life after years of struggle. Taken in Jinja Hospital, Jinja District, Uganda.

Ten Years Old in Hospital

This ten-year-old girl, pictured here with her mother, was in hospital to receive a free medical procedure, sponsored by the Uganda Village Project, to correct an obstetric fistula, a debilitating injury to the birth canal. Most women suffering from a fistula receive the injury giving birth, but the age of this patient implies that in all likelihood, she sustained the injury to her birth canal as a result of being raped. During our interview with her, she expressed her happiness at how much better she felt after the procedure, and she said she was looking forward to leaving the hospital and resuming school.

Ituba Queue

At a Healthcare Fair organized by the Uganda Village Project in the Ugandan village of Ituba, students queue up to register for free medical services, including screening for HIV, Malaria, and STI’s. Without programs like these, these children would not have access to these basic, but crucial, medical services. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

A New Well

A young girl from a Nabitende village in Iganga District, Uganda demonstrates the use of a shallow well. Clean water can be a constant issue for Ugandan villages that do not have an improved water source. This well’s construction was sponsored and overseen by the Uganda Village Project, and it’s presence has greatly impacted the lives of the residents of this village. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

This is Timothy, a Ugandan living in a rural village near Namungalwe, Iganga District, Uganda. In all of Uganda, malaria is a constant risk, but especially so in the villages. Here, Timothy displays his mosquito net, the first line of defense against malaria, which was provided by the Uganda Village Project. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Doting Father

A father sits with his daughter outside their village home in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Monica's Famous Smoked Perch

Monica spent years suffering from an uncorrected obstetric fistula, a debilitating injury to the birth canal caused by prolonged child labor in most cases. Women with a fistula often suffer incontinence. And in rural Uganda, this can result in social isolation, abandonment by the woman’s family, and subsequent poverty with no way for her to support herself. But, after receiving a free medical procedure sponsored by the Uganda Village Project (UVP), Sarah participated in UVP’s reintegration program, where she began developing her business skills. She now runs a successful business selling her famous smoked Nile perch at a marketplace near Iganga Town, Uganda. By all accounts, her smoked fish (also known as pasted fish in Uganda) is the best in the marketplace. She was kind enough to let me sample some, and it was in fact delicious! Taken in Jinja District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Iganga Town Kids in the Street

I encountered these children playing in the street outside of the Uganda Village Project’s office in Iganga Town. Light skinned people are quite rate in Iganga District, and an anglo, like myself, walking down the road with a camera in hand attracts all kinds of attention. Whenever I would walk by, the kids would shout out, “Muzungu Bye!” Muzungu is the Ugandan word for foreigner, the etymology of which I discovered after some investigation. It means, “one who zooms around,” which harkens back to the days of the English explorers/colonialists who were seen by Ugandans to be always “zooming around,” supposedly. But like most things in Uganda, there are multiple interpretations.

Shrouded Woman

This woman was in a attendance at the Ituba Village healthcare fair, orchestrated by the Uganda Village Project. She is dressed in a traditional shroud worn by Islamic women in the Buganda and Busoga subkingdoms within Uganda. Uganda is an extremely religious country. According to a 2014 census, Muslims make up 15% of the population, with Christians making up the other 85%. In addition to these two mainstream religions, belief in witchcraft is widespread, so much so that national newspapers provide coverage on issues of witchcraft and witches. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Lion Boy

As a foreign photographer working in a new country, I am always initially apprehensive as to how people will react to having their photo taken. But, Ugandans as a whole, were incredibly receptive to being photographed, especially the kids. This group of village children couldn’t get enough of having their photos taken. To encourage these kids to let loose in front of the camera lens, I asked them to growl like a lion, to which this was the reaction. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Duck, Duck, Turkey

A major part of the Uganda Village Project’s (UVP) work is putting on Health Fairs for rural villages at which residents can receive free screenings for malaria, HIV, and other STI’s. These events are not only crucial to the health of Ugandans living in these villages, but are also filled with fanfare, with music, performances by UVP interns, and games for the children. The children pictured here are engaged in a heated match of Duck, Duck…Turkey. Why “turkey?” Because geese are not present in this area of Uganda, and the UVP interns elected to change the game’s name to feature birds the kids are more familiar with.

Village Dance Competition

This young girl was one of two finalists in the village dance competition, held as part of the day’s events for the Uganda Village Project’s healthcare fair. This event was held in the village of Ituba, Iganga District, Uganda. Here, village residents were able to access medical services otherwise unavailable to them, including testing for malaria, HIV, and STI’s. This girl ended up going on to win the dance competition. Taken in Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Snaggletoothed

At a healthcare fair organized by the Uganda Village Project at Ituba Village outside of Iganga Town, Uganda, this adorable little girl and I made quite a friendship. She loved the camera and spent the better part of the afternoon following me around and reaching up to hold my hand whenever I was standing still. Taken in Ituba Village, Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Woman in Yellow Gomesi

This elderly woman was in attendance at the Ituba Village healthcare fair, orchestrated by the Ugandan Village Project. She is seen her dressed in a Gomesi, a colorful floor-length dress, which is the most commonly used costume for women from Buganda and Busoga, two subnational kingdoms within Uganda. Taken in Ituba Village, Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Girl in the Red Dress

It never ceased to amaze me how warm the people I met in Uganda were, and how open they were to being photographed, which I believe can be seen in this girl’s expression as she gazes confidently into the lens. Taken in Ituba Village, Iganga District, Uganda. July 2018. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Protestor With Megaphone (DNC 2017)

As night fell in Philadelphia following Hillary Clinton's nomination by the Democratic Party for president, thousands of protestors took to the street.  They were largely in support of Bernie Sanders, and accused the DNC of being rigged in Clinton's favor, an accusation that has since gained support from Senator Elizabeth Warren.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Portland Mini-Bike Winter 2010

Every year, Portland bicycling club, The Zoo-Bombers, hold their mini-bike winter, a multi-day celebration of their club and Portland bicycling culture.  This event is the "Chariot Race," in which racers ride on custom-built, pedal-powered vehicles, and attempt to either dislodge other drivers or disable other chariots.  The event is often violent, and attended by hundreds of fans on on-lookers.  Taken in Portland, OR, Winter 2010.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Young Student in Costa Rica School

As part of NGO Frontier's Costa Rica project, volunteers taught English to local students once a week.  Taken in Carate, Costa Rica, April 2017.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Conservation Students in Belize

As part of NGO Frontier's Belize Project, student groups often visited base camp where they were taught about conservation and the wildlife surrounding their home island of Caye Caulker.  Taken in Caye Caulker, Belize, July 2017.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Students Restoring Nature Trail in Belize

As part of NGO Frontier's Belize Project, student groups often visited base camp where they were taught about conservation and the wildlife surrounding their home island of Caye Caulker.  These students participated in nature trail restoration on the north side of the island, where Frontier's base camp is located. Taken in Caye Caulker, Belize, July 2017.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Lobsterfest 2017 @ Caye Caulker, Belize

As part of NGO Frontier's community outreach and conservation work in Belize, volunteers, like Cole seen here, participated in Caye Caulker's annual Lobsterfest by serving as official judges, measuring and weighing all lobsters submitted as part of the tournament.  Taken in Caye Caulker, Belize, July 2017.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Crocodile Chris Wrestling American Crocodile

After witnessing several large crocodiles near the NGO Frontier's Belize base camp, staff members contacted Crocodile Chris to come and conduct a crocodile survey to determine the safety of the camp.  While on survey with Chris and other Frontier staff, we encountered this young American Crocodile, which Chris captured, documented, and tagged.  Taken in Caye Caulker, Belize, July 2017.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Crocodile Chris With American Crocodile

After witnessing several large crocodiles near the NGO Frontier's Belize base camp, staff members contacted Crocodile Chris to come and conduct a crocodile survey to determine the safety of the camp.  While on survey with Chris and other Frontier staff, we encountered this young American Crocodile, which Chris captured, documented, and tagged.  Taken in Caye Caulker, Belize, July 2017.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Jill Stein Speaking at 2016 DNC Demonstration

During the second day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, demonstrators massed at Philadelphia's city center for a series of speeches from activists.  Seen here, Jill Stein, spoke passionately to demonstrators, promising that if Bernie Sanders was nominated, that she would run as a Green Party candidate.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Sun Sets on Another Masked Protestor

Following the announcement of Hillary Clinton's nomination for president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, protestors moved from the Free Speech Zone inside Martin Luther King Jr. Park, and began to mass in front of the metal barricades surrounding AT&T Stadium.  While the convention was being conducted inside the stadium, many delegates walked out in a show of disapproval of Clinton's nomination, while protestors faced off with police, with only the metal barricades to separate protestors from local law enforcement and homeland security officers.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Protestors Hold Candlelight Vigil for the 2016 DNC

 Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Philly Bicycle Cops Shadowing Protestors

As the size and intensity of protests taking place following Hillary Clinton's nomination for president in Philadelphia at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, police presence increased as well.  These bicycle police formed ranks and shadowed the rear of a large group of protestors marching from the city center to AT&T Stadium where the DNC was being conducted.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Demonstrator Climbs Barricade at 2016 DNC

Following Hillary Clinton's nomination for U.S. president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, hopeful Bernie Sanders supporters who were attending demonstrations outside AT&T Arena in Philadelphia reacted with tears and disgust, massing against the barricades that separated them from the arena, the delegates, and the police.  As tensions rose, demonstrators began climbing the barricade and surrendering themselves to arrest by police waiting on the opposite side.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Tensions Rise Amongst 2016 DNC Protestors

Demonstrators mass at Philadelphia's city center during the 2016 Democratic National Convention.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Stilt-Walker at 2016 DNC

Demonstrators mass at Philadelphia's city center during the 2016 Democratic National Convention.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Tensions Rise in Philly at 2016 DNC

Demonstrators mass at Philadelphia's city center during the 2016 Democratic National Convention.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Mythical Chanting Outside the Barricade

Protestors from many walks of life demonstrate outside the ten foot metal barricade surrounding AT&T Arena in Philadelphia on the second day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

2016 DNC Protestor in Guy Fawkes Mask

Many demonstrators gathering inside the designated Free Speech Zone at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Philadelphia, were sporting costumes or masks to hide their identity and protect their faces from the potential deployment of pepper spray by police and homeland security forces.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Bernie Sanders Supportes Mourn After Clinton Nomination

Following Hillary Clinton's nomination for U.S. president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, hopeful Bernie Sanders supporters who were attending demonstrations outside AT&T Arena in Philadelphia reacted with tears and disgust.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Bernie Sanders Supporters Mourning at Barricade

Following Hillary Clinton's nomination for U.S. president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, hopeful Bernie Sanders supporters who were demonstrating outside AT&T Arena in Philadelphia reacted with tears and disgust.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Demonstrator On Megaphone at Barricade

Following Hillary Clinton's nomination for U.S. president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, demonstrators massed outside AT&T Arena in Philadelphia. This man led a "funeral procession" for the DNC just prior to this photo being taken.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

DNC Death March

Following Hillary Clinton's nomination for U.S. president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, demonstrators staged a funeral procession for the DNC outside AT&T Arena in Philadelphia. Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Demonstrator Gets Pepper Sprayed by Police

This woman, who was demonstrating outside AT&T Arena at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, joined with others at the barricade that separated them from the arena and police forces standing on the other side.  From the crowd, someone threw a water bottle over the barricade, and Homeland Security forces responded by indiscriminately shooting their pepper spray into the crowd, hitting this woman directly in the face.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Pepper Spray Victim Return to the Front

After being pepper sprayed and then receiving field treatment from other demonstrators, this woman returned to the barricade to continue her protest of the 2016 Democratic National Convention.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Philadelphia Police Officer Through the Barricade

A Philadelphia police officer at the 2016 Democratic National Convention places his hands on the barricade that separated police from demonstrators just after several demonstrators were attacked with pepper spray by Homeland Security forces. Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Young Woman Reacting to Homeland Security Pepper Spray

This young woman was struck with pepper spray in the face after a Homeland Security sprayed his can of mace into the crowd of demonstrators.  This was in response to a water bottle being thrown by a demonstrator over the barricade that separated them from AT&T Arena, the delegates of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and police and Homeland Security forces. Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Philly Police Officer Smiling Through the Barricade

A Philadelphia police officer smiles into my camera lens from across the barricade that separated him from demonstrators just after several demonstrators were struck with pepper spray deployed by Homeland Security forces outside the 2016 Democratic National Convetion. Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Masked Demonstrator Outside Barricade

Following Hillary Clinton's nomination for U.S. president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, hopeful Bernie Sanders supporters who were attending demonstrations outside AT&T Arena in Philadelphia reacted with tears and disgust, massing against the barricades that separated them from the arena, the delegates, and the police.  Taken in Philadelphia, PA, July 2016. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Portland, Oregon-Cross Processed

This photo was shot on medium format, slide film, and then cross processed, creating this ultra saturated and contrasty image.  This photo was featured in the Blue Moon Client Showcase 2010.  Taken in Portland, Oregon, October 2010. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Brother Joe in Medium Format

This photo of my younger brother, Joe, was shot on medium format, color negative film using a Hasselblad 500 c/m and a Zeiss 800mm/2.8 lens.  This photo was featured in the 2009 Blue Moon Client Showcase. Taken in Olympia, WA, October 2009.  Photo by Ben Blankenship.

BirdCloud in Portland 1

While on tour, Nashville-based country rock group BIRDCLOUD stopped over in Portland, Oregon for a visit and a quick photo shoot.  Taken in Portland, Oregon, November 2013. Photo by Ben Blankenship.

Jon Hanna in the Studio 1
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