Nigel Brennan exhibition to be held in New York

NEW YORK LIGHTS: An image from Nigel Brennan and Alanna Hankey which is part of the To Bathe exhibition to be shown in New York. Photo: Nigel Brennan
NEW YORK LIGHTS: An image from Nigel Brennan and Alanna Hankey which is part of the To Bathe exhibition to be shown in New York. Photo: Nigel Brennan Nigel Brennan

IT TOOK time for former Bundaberg NewsMail photographer Nigel Brennan to venture back into photojournalism.

Captured in Somalia while working as a freelance photojournalist, he was ransomed by Islamist insurgents, his family forced to sell their homes and assets to pay the ransom and secure his safety after 462 days.

Following his eventual release in November 2009, it wasn't until he travelled to India to capture the colour, chaos and devotion of Kumbh Mela in 2013, that he again showed the world his ability to tell stories through his images.

"It was the first time I really felt comfortable picking up my camera," he said.

"For me photojournalism now is quite self indulgent."

"I don't do it to make money."

Travelling with his partner Alanna Hankey, the pair produced To Bathe, an exhibition they showed at the Brisbane Powerhouse last year and they are now preparing to take to New York.

"It was Alanna's first foray as a professional photographer," Mr Brennan said.

"I bought her a secondhand camera before we went because I didn't want her continually asking to use mine."

Spending five days in India during the largest religious gathering in the world, held for 55 days every 12 years, 120 million worshipers bathe in a sacred river, an experience Mr Brennan said he would never forget.

"There are 10 million people on any one day so I was a little scared before I went," he said.

"It's eye opening."

The exhibition goes on show at Littlefield in Brooklyn from September 4-30 with half the profits from the sale of the limited edition prints going to Maliti Nepal, a non-profit organisation working to prevent sex trafficking.

Now a public speaker and crisis emergency management consultant, Mr Brennan is taking the positives out of a negative situation, instructing journalists and humanitarian workers in Australia, Asia and Europe about how to avoid the horrendous experience he endured in Somalia.

"I certainly wish I'd had hostile environment training before I went to Somalia," he said.

"I made a lot of mistakes."

Topics:  editors picks india new york nigel brennan

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