Thursday, December 12, 2013
This is my tenth year photographing the Link To Hope Shoe Box Appeal. in Eastern Europe there are always moving and harrowing stories to tell and images that break your heart, as well as ones of emence joy.
It can be hard to single out one person to give to when you go into environments that compared to how many of us live are very poor and needy. Certainly a new pair of Rockfish wellies was definitely out of their reach. So we asked Cornel Fedor [ image at the bottom of him giving out shoeboxes] an inspirational man who works closely among the local people encouraging and supporting them, " Who do these boots belong to?" After much thought he told us of a girl named Florina. This was a very special pair of boots that were on a mission to represent other boots that Rockfish are kindly donating.
Florina Rocked In her New Wellies
Florina is a very bright girl just like many of us, she is trying her very best in a difficult situation. Sadly in her village near the Transylvanian Mountains she comes from one of the poorest family. We were told her only real hope out of her situation was to marry well. Her father unfortunately is only able to get seasonal work on farms in the summer and it is common for him to be paid in vegetables. The rest of the year he goes door to door in search of odd jobs. [ image at the end of Florinas' mum who is 42] Florina in often severe weather conditions walks miles in the hope of finishing her education. When it rains most of the roads turn to mud and the snow when it arrives settles in for months on end.
We met Florina at the annual Christmas concert and it was made clear that she was wearing her best clothes. We asked if we could do a little impromptu photoshoot outside the local community centre as they were still tuning up their instruments. Florina speaks little English but when the moment came and we gave her the Rockfish Wellies no one had to translate her face said it all. As Simon Graham part of the UK team and representing Latham WATKINS got the boots out of the box Florins' face went from joy to embarrassment, because unbeknown to us she did not want to expose the holes in her socks. After getting over her initial shyness, we spent a lovely 10 minutes with this sweet girl and we all noticed how she grew in self - assurance. By the end of the shoot she was walking with a new found confidence and poise, for us Florina looked amazing in her new RockFish Wellies.