Leica Camera will be present at The Photography Show being held in Birmingham, England on March 21-24. The Photography Show takes place in hall 5 at the NEC and you can visit Leica at stand C31. There are a host of events planned including talks and demos by Tom Stoddart, Wayne Johns, Matt Stuart and Richard Seymour. This blog series will feature these photographers and the stories behind their favorite images. Tom Stoddart begins the series with the story behind this image he took after a massive earthquake in Bhuj, India. 

It was at 8:46 A.M. on the morning of January 26, 2001 that the most powerful earthquake for more than half a century decimated the town of Bhuj in Gujarat state in North West India. The quake measured 7.9 on the Richter scale and flattened homes and villages across the region. By nightfall over 500,000 people were left homeless in Bhuj and other nearby towns. The official death toll was 30,000 with 200,000 injured, but other estimates of the casualty figures were much higher. The terrifying experience was described by a young girl who stood on a balcony with her father watching buildings all around shaking and crumbling, “We were in the jaws of death waiting for it to gulp us,” she said.
I reached the area a few days after the quake struck and began to photograph the huge rescue operation put in place to find those buried under tons of rubble and the efforts to find and burn bodies to stop the spread of disease. While working alongside volunteers from the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières, I came across this elderly lady sitting outside her wrecked house waiting for help. Her dignified and calm appearance together with the cracks of the broken wall mirroring the lines on her face made it an irresistible image. I shot the scene quietly and quickly on my Leica M6 with a 50 mm lens. It’s a simple portrait but one that illustrates the fortitude of human beings when they are caught up in terrible events.
This is my 44th year as a professional photographer and I still love the medium more than ever. During my talk at The Photography Show I hope to convey that enthusiasm to the audience and to inspire potential young photojournalists by showing my work and telling the stories behind the images.
It’s an incredible honour to be part of the Super Stage line up alongside great photographers such as Mary Ellen Mark, Susan Meiselas, Lynsey Addario and, of course, Don McCullin who has been such an inspiration to me.
– Tom Stoddart
Learn more about Tom’s lecture at The Photography Show here and reserve your ticket here. Tom will also join us at the Leica stand (C31) on March 21 between 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM for a meet and greet. Follow along on social media using the hashtag #LeicaPSB.
See more of Tom’s work on his website.