2004 — professional
Roger LeMoyne studied film and Music at Concordia University in Montreal, toured Canada with a band and worked in film and music before turning to photography. Since the early 1990’s, he has spent most of his time documenting the human condition, conflict, human rights issues and international aid in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe.
His work has appeared in publications ranging from the magazines Paris Match, Life, Time and Macleans Magazine to other venues such as Unicef annual reports, the International Conference on War-Affected Children, Visa pour l’Image, Contact (Toronto) and Gijon (Spain) photography festivals. His first book, “Details Obscurs” --a look at the effects of contemporary conflict on civilians-- was published in 2005.
His images have garnered more than 50 awards internationally, including the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize in 2007, the “World Understanding Award” from POYi 2006, The Prix Bayeux Calvados in 2006, the Alexia Grant in 2004, Communication Arts, World Press Photo in 1999 and most recently a grant from the Quebec Arts Council to photograph gold-mining in the Amazon.
A freelancer his entire career, his pictures have been distributed by Gamma-Liaison, Getty Images and currently Redux Pictures of New York.
He lives in Montreal with his wife, a physician, and their two young children.
How has the Alexia grant influenced your career?
Beyond allowing me to produce the body of work in the grant proposal, I don’t really know, to be honest. It certainly helped me produce work and it was the first sizable grant that I received (the biggest to date).
One of the most valuable aspects of it was to help me have faith in what I am doing. There are so many reasons to doubt oneself, to want to give up and do something else. To be part of a group of photographers that one respects is psychologically supportive. It’s nice because you feel like you kind of know the photographers before you even meet them. I have remained friends with Jan Dago, Teru Kuwuyama and a few others.
How did your project lead to greater exposure or solutions for your issue of focus?
There was reasonably good publication both in magazines and books and other media. I wish there had been more, of course, but at least there is an audience that was more informed by the work. The images of child soldiers that I produced at the time have also been used by many humanitarian agencies. Has any of this helped the Congolese? The question haunts me, but I don’t have an answer.
Tell us about a moment from the project that you will never forget.
One of the many things that stay with me was the funeral of a three year old girl that had died of malaria. It was in gold-mining town that once had a clinic and other resources, but all had been abandoned because of the fighting and insecurity. Africans are knows for their stoicism and at times don’t express grief much, but there was deep emotion and sorrow at this child’s death.
Have you, or do you plan on expanding your project? How so?
With funding from the 2009 CALQ grant (see bio) I traveled to Brazil and photographed gold prospectors there. The story was published in Walrus magazine in 2010. This Brazilian work mirrors many of the aspects of life for the gold miners in the Congo. I am currently working on a Peruvian chapter to the gold prospector story. I believe that this could eventually be a book-level body of work.
List your accomplishments, awards and interests since the Alexia grant.
I have continued working as a freelance photographer, much in the same way that I did when I received the Alexia grant. I have done work on Srebrenica in Bosnia and Serbia as a long-term project as well as gold prospectors in Brazil. I am currently in Peru researching a future gold mining project here. This theme came out of the work done in the DR Congo with the Alexia Grant.
The work I produced with the grant received the POYi World Understanding Award in 2006
Recent Awards & grants:
Orient Global “Freedom to Create” prize: Finalist, exhibitor, 2010.
National Magazine Awards 2009 (Canada) First Prize Photohournalism. HM Portrait. HM Photojournalism.
Concours Lux Photojournalism prize 2009
Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Quebec production grant for 2009
HP Prize at Contact Festival (Toronto) May 2008 Prix du Public
Lange-Taylor Prize 2007 The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. The prize is shared with writer Kurt Pitzer and focussed on the Balkans.
PX3 2007 (Prix de la Photographie de Paris) 1st place book category for “Details Obscurs”
American Photo Magazine Photojournalism/Documentary images of the year 2007 (HM)
Communications Arts Photography Annuals 2011, 2009,2006,
CALQ “Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Quebec”: production grant to continue work on Srebrenica project. 2006
Canadian National Magazine Awards: Silver in Photojournalism 2005
PDN Photo district news Photojournalism Award 2005
Concours Bayeux-Calvados pour Correspondants de Guerre-Prix du Public 2005 This was for the work done with the Alexia Grant
POYi World Understanding Award
This was for the work done with the Alexia Grant
The world's deadliest conflict today is unfolding in the western provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the last five years, it has claimed more than 2 million lives through violence, disease and starvation. As is often the case in conflict, children are the ones paying the highest price.
War is not what it used to be. Since WWII, conflicts have shifted away from organized armies fighting conventional warfare to civil wars and inter-ethnic conflict. These conflicts are often long-term, low-intensity, and involve untrained and undisciplined irregular armies or militia.
In the wars of the last decade, the greatest number of casualties was among non-combatants.
Civilian fatalities in wartime climbed from 15 per cent during World War I, to 65 per cent by the end of World War II, to more than 90 per cent in the wars of the 1990s. There has been an increasing use of civilian populations as cover, bargaining chips, targets of psychological warfare or as another resource for soldiers to exploit. The most vulnerable civilians of all are children. In the last decade 2,000,000 children have been killed and another 4,000,000 disabled in conflicts. At least half of the estimated 57.4 million people displaced by war around the world are children, many of whom have been orphaned. The cyclical nature of many long-term conflicts means that children grow up with war as a state of normalcy. The most obstinate wars are the ones in which combatants have been educated in conflict while still children.
I did not set out to cover conflicts in this light. The theme of war's civilian victims seemed to be thrust upon me as I traveled to areas of conflict. The fate of civilians was inescapable and drew the camera to it, while the geography and hardware of conflict seemed less real than the suffering it left behind, particularly among the young.
This project first materialized when I exhibited some of the work that I had been doing at the International Conference on War-Affected Children in Winnipeg in the fall of 2000. To date, this project covers events in Israel/Palestine, Rwanda and the Congo, Afghanistan, Kosovo and the former Yugoslavia, Southern Sudan and other countries.
The immediate goal of the work this grant would support is to draw attention back to the neglected conflict in the Congo and others in the Great Lakes Region.
The overall aim of this project on war-affected children is to raise awareness of the nature of conflict in our time and of the international community's obligation to intervene whenever and wherever human rights are violated. After WWII, the international community created global structures to mediate between nations and governments, but not between ethnic groups or within borders. But as war changes, the international community must also change its ways of dealing with war.
The subjects I would cover with the help of this grant are in the Great Lakes region in Africa:
• The situation in Ituri province in Eastern Congo where I worked briefly in 2003 photographing child soldiers, displaced populations and the international relief effort.
• Northern Uganda where the Lord's Resistance Army uses children as it's main sources of "manpower" through kidnappings and slavery.
• If budget allows I would also include Burundi, where circumstances similar to those of Rwanda in the early 90's remain in place.