Laura Rainsford

The Joys of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Posted in Africa, Congo, Congolese, DRC, Kinshasa, Menelik Education, Photography, Portfolio, Portrait, Potrait, Rankin, Volunteer Photographer by Laura Rainsford on February 25, 2010

I recently got Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and it’s fantastic!

I’m in utter love with this program. It affords me huge freedom and ease to edit my pictures, with the kind of functions I’ve always dreamed of.

I’ve edited this picture I took of a happy chap in the Democratic Republic of the Congo this summer, from a somewhat flawed, colour shot to a very clean black and white one. I played around a lot with a combination of exposure, darks, highlights, noise, camera correction and so on. I really love the exaggeration of highlights on the forehead.

What I love about Lightroom so far (I got it last night) is the endless ability to make very substantive changes to a picture without compromising quality. I love the ability to adjust the black of a shot, to reduce noise and increase detail. I have so far found it incredibly fast, and without the long waits when developing in traditional Photoshop that we’re become accustomed to. Will post more results of my experiments with Lightroom soon….

Rankin. Cheka Kidogo (‘Laugh a little’).

Posted in Africa, Congo, Congolese, DRC, Kinshasa, Menelik Education, Oxfam, Photography, Portrait, Rankin by Laura Rainsford on January 13, 2010

Portrait and fashion photographer Rankin visited the DRC in 2008 to capture the faces and smiles of refugee camps in the country. The resulting exhibition “Cheka Kidogo”, Swahili for “laugh a little”, also now an Oxfam calendar, comprises of beautiful, wonderfully heart-felt portraits.

Here are some of my personal favourites….


“Cheka Kidogo”, for me, is portrait photography at its very best.

Beautifully simple portraits (ie. Rankins trademark white backdrop) with bags of character crucially aimed at raising awareness of an important appeal. I think what is so striking about these portraits, Jasmine, a young girl, Tumanini, a tailor, is that they defy the style, the feeling of traditional photography of war and disaster victims.

The people in these photographs really shine through as individuals, with humour and warmth.

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Photo Essay, Faces of Kinshasa.

Posted in Congo, Congolese, DRC, Kinshasa, Menelik Education, Photography, Portrait, Volunteer Photographer by Laura Rainsford on December 24, 2009

My favourite thing to photograph are faces. I like people. Often I think its people who make the picture.

A famous photographer once said, he found faces the most interesting thing to photograph, because for him, the human eyes are like lakes and the nose and contours of the faces like roaming hills.  

I love to photograph faces because their so alive, they express something pure, something of the truth of the subject. The creases of our faces give us up.  

Here are some of my favourite faces from my recent trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo with non-profit Menelik Education.


Posted in Africa, Congo, DRC, Photography, Portrait, Volunteer Photographer by Laura Rainsford on December 23, 2009

I met Sifa in the DRC this summer, of the numberous I took of my friend, I really think this portrait manages to capture a little of her very kind, warm and friendly nature. Sifa, 18, has recently finished her baccalaureate and this october, with the continued support of Menelik Education, started a degree in International Relations at the protestant University of Kinshasa.  She lives in and amongst the lively village-like bustle of Mama Jacquis compound, a safe haven for many, with her mother and younger brother Patrice.

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Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Posted in Congo, Congolese, DRC, Kinshasa, Menelik Education, Volunteer Photographer by Laura Rainsford on September 23, 2009

This summer I travelled to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, as a volunteer photographer for the non-profit organisation Menelik Education. This was a real privilege.      

Menelik Education is a Congolese-led charity working to improve conditions in Kinshasa, D.R.Congo, in the areas of education, health, and living conditions.

I miss the city and the characters I meet there dearly.      

Here are a selection of my photographs of the sights and of the faces of Kinshasa.