Formerly a successful investment banker, British photographer Marcus Bleasdale has spent the last ten years documenting conflict and human rights abuses in the Balkans, Djibouti and Darfur. But since his switch to photojournalism — which has seen him work with Human Rights Watch and win Unicef’s photographer of the year award — it is work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that has held a special significance for Bleasdale. It is a place to which he has frequently returned.
Speaking to Standpoint from the Congo he said: “When I started working here over ten years ago it was one of the most underreported conflicts in the world; reporting from there is still limited.” For Bleasdale it has become a matter of urgency to report the plight of the Congolese people in a largely forgotten war which has claimed the lives of up to 5.4 million people, mostly victims of famine and disease: “I wanted to understand and encourage others to understand why this war was happening.”
It is this compulsion to tell the untold story, and the sensitivity with which he treats his subjects, that makes Bleasdale’s work both important and compassionate.