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Alan Compton | Humanitarian photographer and creative director

In 2015, I lost someone very close to me, and I wanted to do something with my life that would honour their memory. I had worked in the film and TV world for many years, but I didn't feel like the work I was doing had any real value. I then read a particular chapter in the biography of a New York Times photojournalist. What I read inspired me; it spoke about the power of photography, how images really can influence people and governments to make meaningful change. I still remember the moment I closed the book and asked myself, "Why can't all your years of experience in the commercial sector be used to produce positive impact projects?" This question also served as an answer to how I could honour the memory of my loved one.

Mother helping son with homework, scene illuminated by Mwangaza solar lamp, Uganda

I spent the next few years trying to find a way to work with social impact organizations. I had absolutely no connections in this sector, but I had an unwavering commitment to the new path I had chosen. At first, I couldn't get a response from anyone, but then the Icelandic Environmental Association got in touch, and the first project of a new career began. That same year, I connected with two Parisian women who run a girls' school in Varanasi, India. The time I spent there, and the film we made, remains one of my most beloved collaborations. Gradually, the network of connections in the non-profit world grew, as did the endless and rewarding education that comes with each project. Over the following years, I would work on incredibly diverse narratives, including child slavery in Vietnam, cancer research in Seattle, people living with Albinism in Uganda, HIV awareness in London, social movements in India, healthcare initiatives in Indonesia, one project after another that progressively grew a new skill set, one that was more about listening, more about human connection, a skill set that demands you evolve the way you look at the world, the way you see people, and how you handle the responsibility of sharing their voice and their image.

Alan COmpton photographing Kond tribe in Odisha

I know this work will continue to throw curveballs and test my ability to evolve. That's a huge part of what keeps me constantly learning, experimenting, and striving to give everything I can to those I work with. This website is not a sales tool; it is intended to be a declaration of intent and a statement of presence. If anyone would like to have a conversation, they are more than welcome to get in touch.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,


I love that there is no formula to this work. Every organization, every community, and individual is unique, and the different creative mediums I practice can be combined together in endlessly new ways to try and capture that uniqueness. In 2019, I felt like I was in a great place, the work was satisfying, and I was starting to believe that the projects I was working on were having some real impact. But then the pandemic swept in, and everything stopped. But then a project came along that would have a big impact on me. My friends and founders of the Indian NGO Goonj got in touch. They asked if I could come up with a creative project that would support the mental health of their huge team of frontline workers who were delivering aid to rural communities during COVID. For the next two years, I met with this group online almost every Friday morning, as my day was starting and their day was ending. Each week we set a storytelling project that related to the challenges they were facing. We would spend most of our time during the sessions analyzing the images they photographed, not as an artistic critique but as a way of exploring how we see the world and the people around us. Week after week more people joined, and over the two years, all of us, in one way or another, had some really meaningful breakthroughs, personally and professionally. The reason for talking about this project is that it is the one that taught me the most about the work I do. I didn't have a camera in my hand, I didn't get to meet anyone face to face, and I didn't travel anywhere. The things I thought defined me as a creative evaporated. And all that was left was communication, which I now see as the best art form of them all. Communication and collaboration. I have such a deeper understanding of these words because of the pandemic and because of the group I was lucky enough to spend so much time with during those two years.



On location in Greece 

Woman from the Kond tribe, Odisha, India
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