Photos of the Namaacha landscape and smiles of children in Chinonanquila surround Love Art Gallery on the lower level of Nicholson Commons. This is “Envisaging Mozambique,” a series of photos taken by Spanish professor Scott Bennett, while he and his wife,Veronica, co-led a three week short-term mission to Mozambique in Southeast Africa with PLNU Loveworks this past summer.
The Point caught up with Bennett via email to discuss his exhibit that will be displayed until Oct. 24.
The Point: How long have you had an interest in photography?
Scott Bennett: I have had an interest in photography since high school. In the past five to seven years, I have definitely gotten more involved (shooting photos for different non-profit organizations, such as Lemonade International, and more recently Plant With Purpose). I was privileged to do a workshop last January in Rio de Janeiro with Magnum/National Geographic Photographer David Alan Harvey. I learned quite a bit during his challenging workshop.
About how many photos total did you take on the trip?
SB: To be honest, I don’t really count how many photos I take. Since photography is not the main focus of a LoveWorks trip, would only shoot photos during specific activities, or when the light looked especially nice.
How did you only pick 10? And why these specifically?
SB: I chose these ones because of their quality as photographs (composition, lighting, subject matter, visual impact etc.) Also, I wanted to show a bit of Mozambican culture, while at the same time sharing what we did on the trip. I only wanted a limited number for simplicity’s sake, to not overwhelm the viewer.
What vision of Mozambique do you hope onlookers, who have never been, get from looking at your photos?
SB: I would hope that the viewers of my photos would get a sense of the culture, people and beauty of the country. I chose the title “Envisaging Mozambique” because I feel that this is a culture that I would like to see and document some more. In other words, there is still a story to tell about it. In fact, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Magazine will be doing an article about the ministry in Mozambique (using stories and examples from our host Admirado Chaguala, and also some of my photos). I would really love to spend more time in Mozambique to document more of the reality there.
Was it always your goal to have photos from the trip in the Love Art Gallery or did it come about after the fact?
SB: During our debrief of the trip with Brian Becker, [Director of International Ministries] we talked about the possibility of highlighting some of the photos in an exhibit. The chance came up rather quickly, though, and I had to choose, mat and print the photos in about a week and a half.
What did you think of the trip? What was the single most thing you learned being there, in that setting, with students?
SB: This was the first LoveWorks team that PLNU sent to Mozambique. Our team was hard-working, compassionate, and adapted well to the culture. We were extremely blessed by the new relationships that we made in Mozambique, and especially the vision of our host Admirado Chaguala (who is both a pastor and works with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries). The LoveWorks program provides extensive cross-cultural training before the trips, which definitely came out in our team’s great attitude and hard work.
How does it feel to have a photo you took be the poster for LoveWorks?
SB: I was happily surprised to see my photo on the LoveWorks 2015 poster the day of International Chapel. It was taken the very first evening that we arrived in Maputo. It shows how the team started playing with children there from the very first moments in the country.
For more pictures from Bennett visit scottbennettphoto.photoshelter.com or follow him on instagram @scottmbennett.