About the Founders
Matias Paz Linares:
I lived in Madrid until I was 7 years old and then moved to London where I have been living for the past 9 years. I am from Bolivia and have always felt a strong connection to this incredibly diverse and breathtaking country. I usually spend 1-2 months in Bolivia every year visiting family, friends, and enjoying the variety of places, from the high Andes to the astonishing valleys to the Amazon basin.
Both the breathtaking landscapes and the ethnically rich communities sparked my interest in photography and in exploring diverse cultures. On numerous occasions, the resilience of people in adversity really inspired me whilst working with charities around Bolivia. Finding underprivileged children smiling, showing curiosity, and radiating positivity is priceless. You realise that with little help, you can open doors and have a significant impact on young lives, inspiring me to delve deeper into humanitarian and social issues around the world and hopefully make a difference.
Photography enabled me to capture faces of hope, resilience, aspiration, and pride of where they came from, regardless of their background or situation. Behind each picture, there is a unique story. Capturing a photo at a moment in time is a way of expressing that story when sometimes words are not capable to do so. The visual narrative created through photography can move individuals and communities to a different place, helping them understand the stories behind that photograph without saying a single word. For me, looking for a shot that tries to reflect that unique story is the epitome of why photography as a medium is so powerful, as well as its ability to be a universal language.
Through this project, I desire to use photography to educate, influence, and most importantly communicate global issues in a unique manner. By interviewing photographers from around the world and discovering their journeys, I hope that other people get inspired, become appreciative of the diverse cultures, and above all develop awareness of pressing global issues.
I grew up around San Francisco and lived there until the age of 6; which sadly means I cannot remember much of the beauty of California's national parks, which have inspired so many great photographers. From California, I was lucky enough to move to another beautiful place, New Zealand, where we lived on the small island of Waiheke off the coast of Auckland. I can still see the long sandy beaches and extraordinary wildlife of the country imprinted in my memory and to this day I feel a strong connection to the stunning landscapes and pristine beauty of the island and New Zealand as a whole.
During this time, my parents took me on one of their research projects in Indonesia, where I first witnessed the great hardships faced by many people, as I met a family who lived next to a landfill site, and earned a living by combing through the rubbish. But what struck me, even at such a young age, was their positivity and resilience. This was reinforced during another research trip to Nairobi some years after, where I met families living in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, who were living on $1/day, and yet despite this the people I met there exhibited the same resilience and positivity, carrying themselves with enthusiasm rather than letting their circumstances dishearten them. These experiences led to my interest in global development and humanitarian issues and my desire to shed light on these issues and have a positive impact. They also directly inspired me to write articles on Kibera and Indonesia.
At the age of 11, I moved to the UK, where I now live near the city of Brighton, amidst the beauty of the South Downs National Park, reinforcing my love of beautiful landscapes. It was here that I discovered the joy of photography and learned about many of the great artists who captured the beauty of places where I lived, such as Ansel Adams' pictures of the Californian national parks. They inspired my own passion for photography and my interest in the power it holds. When I now look through the lens of my camera I try to think about the meaning and impact of the story behind the picture, the vast swath of emotions it can make people feel and how it can convey a life story without saying a word. I now want to combine photography with my encounters with humanitarian issues and my love of landscapes to represent the experiences of human lives, social and environmental issues and global challenges.