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Roar hosts an interview with Hazel Thompson at the Tate Modern

Photojournalist Hazel Thompson smiles during Roar interview
Photojournalist Hazel Thompson at the Roar event hosted on Wednesday - Image by Photo Editor Emma Carmichael

On Wednesday 18 October, Roar held a live interview with Photojournalist Hazel Thompson at the Tate Modern.

Hazel has worked with some of the largest names in the industry including The New York Times, ABC News, Oxfam, and The Times. During the event Hazel spoke about her life as a freelance journalist, including the 11 years she spent in India photographing and exposing the sex trafficking and slavery industry in the red light district of Mumbai. Speaking about the people she met and the traumas she faced gave us a view into the courage and dedication needed in a career in investigative journalism. 

Hazel’s work has taken her all around the world, discovering stories of injustice in parts of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. When speaking about her time in the Philippines shooting ‘kids behind bars’, Hazel shared her story about going undercover as an aid worker in various prisons gathering evidence to show that children were being locked up in horrific conditions in the same cells as adult prisoners. Alongside the images shown at the event, Hazel’s words gave a poignant insight into the hard hitting and raw places that journalism can take you as well as its power for good in the world. It was an inspiring reminder to all those interested in journalism that reportage and investigation can be a real force for positive change. 

As well as her work as a journalist, Hazel is also a hostile environment trainer. When speaking about the dangers of her job Hazel stated that it is vital to go into any form of dangerous environment well prepared and well trained for the endless variables of hostile situations.

Hazel’s passion for ethical journalism and ensuring that it is carried on into the next generation led the conversation towards what young people can do to get involved with reporting. In regard to the art of photojournalism itself, Hazel stated that good photojournalism is about ‘light and communication’, pertaining to the power to make an image beautiful whilst simultaneously using it to tell as truthful and whole a story as possible. 

When asked how to track down a story, Hazel shared her advice to not just search for something without motivation, but rather to find what you are passionate about and to see where your curiosity takes you. It is clear that her passion to expose and reveal injustice in the world has led her to an incredible career that can inspire us to try and do the same. 

Roar would like to express its gratitude to Hazel for attending our event and its appreciation to the Tate and the Tate Collective for helping to bring this event together. 

To read more about events hosted at King’s, click here.

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