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By Nazima Raghubir- Capturing those raw, emotional and unexpected moments could easily be described as the job of a news photographer. Taken at the right time, at a sharp angle, flickering of a flash, photographs could tell so many stories without a word written.
This is what photographer Keno George has done. George has now published his first hardcover, coffee table book capturing those raw emotions and high energy that rocked the Parliament of Guyana in December 2018.
The 44-page book titled “The 2018 No Confidence Motion, A story through images” was launched by George in November, some four years after the passage of the motion that would lead to elections and removal of the then government from office. The book tells the story of the vote on the no-confidence motion in three parts, the arrival of the members of parliament, the debate on the motion and the vote.
George who was a photographer at the independent Stabroek News at the time told Loop Caribbean he has a “special love” for covering sittings of parliament. “I’ve always loved parliament, Parliament was always my one place to shoot,” George said, “because other than Parliament, sad to say, when it comes to Guyana, when it comes to news photography, there isn’t much going on, so Parliament, over that period of time, there was always something going on.”
Recalling the events of the day, George said he went about his day, capturing the arrival of members of parliament, scenes of a supporting group picketing outside of the Parliament building and what he considered routine photos. “I was not expecting anything, I would just say a normal day in parliament, get some good images,” George recalled, “it was two of us, another photographer Jameel Mohammed, who is named at the back of the book, we were there and the moment he (Charandass Persaud) said no, all hell broke loose.”
George said that he knew that he needed to work his camera and capture as many images as possible. “I was not thinking as far along as the book but I was thinking Parliament has always been the place where I’ve done some of my best work, so I decided to get as many images as I could.”
Flipping through the images, we asked George about his favourite image/s. George pointed to the moment he captured Former government minister Volda Lawrence requesting a break just after Persaud’s vote, “after the whole confusion of him saying no, she actually stood up and asked for a time-out and that is where the Speaker (Dr Barton Scotland) then, reminding her that there is no time-out during a vote,” George recalled.
He would then put those photos, the request and the Speaker’s intervention on pages facing each other. This adds to the chronological story-telling that George ensured he worked on for the public but also captured, anguish and tension.
George sees a bigger role for himself and his profession. He told Loop News, there needs to be more focus on documenting and keeping records. He recalled that he was recently looking for photographs of the 2005 floods that affected Guyana but there were so few he said. “If you are trying to go back to find something, it is really hard to do so,” George lamented, “So I am trying to make this part of history, start documenting things as we all should, so we will have them for generations to come.”
George who is now Photography Manager at the government’s Department of Public Information promises more publication of his photos in the future. George is one of the recipients of a grant for culture, history and art projects supported by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport.
The 2018 No Confidence Motion, A story through images is available in both hard and soft covers for purchase directly from George. https://www.facebook.com/KeNoGeorgePhotography
And the book can be purchased online via https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/kenogeorge/. (Loop News)