Neil and Jean-Marie first met while at a workshop in Uganda focusing on how photographers can best work with NGOs. Since then, working both together and individually, they have provided pro-bono photographic services to charities throughout the world.
They learned about Blue Planet Network through PhotoPhilanthropy, a website that links NGOs with photographers interested in donating their skills. Blue Planet Network’s Chief Executive Officer, Lisa Nash, discussed with Neil and Jean-Marie their interest in volunteering. As they put it, “We were immediately convinced that this was an organization that we wanted to be associated with.”
The results of Neil and Jean-Marie are the photographs, stories and videos you see below, documenting Blue Planet Network-funded clean water and sanitation projects in the State of Orissa in India.
Neil has enjoyed being behind a camera for most of his adult life. Photography began as an avocation for him during the years he worked managing a software development area in the Manhattan financial industry. With retirement, it has become his primary focus.
Neil’s fine art images frequently concentrate on the deconstruction of familiar objects, magnifying and playing with isolated aspects of these in such a way that the entire object can be defined by implication. He couples this unique view with an impressionistic interpretation through the use of color, movement, and other techniques. He is equally at home capturing the essence of the natural and the man-made.
Neil’s photo essays in many ways utilize a similar approach to his fine art work, working from details to an integrated impression of his subject. He attempts to capture the arresting characteristic – gesture, facial expression or body posture – that will enable a viewer to enter immediately and impactfully into the photographed situation. He prefers whenever possible to use natural light to maintain the ambience of the setting.
Neil has studied photography at the International Center of Photography and Maine Photographic Workshops. His work has been exhibited extensively in Massachusetts and also in New York and Nova Scotia.
Neil and his wife split their time between homes in the Berkshires of Massachusetts and the Lahave Islands in Nova Scotia. Neil also travels widely, working with charities around the world. All these influences can be seen in his work.
You can view his work at www.neilbrander.com
Jean-Marie Antoine was born and raised in Belgium and studied journalism at the Institut des Hautes Etudes de Communications Sociales. His first job was in advertising, where he learned the importance of imagery to convey emotional impressions.
His gateway to the rest of the world opened when he won a photography award from the Fondation Belge de la Vocation. With the grant monies, he traveled to Asia and the Middle East, where he worked for two years.
Over the decades, Jean-Marie split his time between marketing communications consulting for European and U.S. firms and his photographic projects. Today, he fully dedicates his time to documentary and travel photography. His photographs have been published in Europe and in Japan.
Jean-Marie enjoys using photography as a tool to discover the world, meet new people, and understand different cultures, and to use his talent to express what he has experienced. He lives in Brussels with his wife Nadia and their son Maxime.