Using his lens to change the world

Photographer and School of Journalism and Media Studies alum, Daylin Paul is perhaps best known for his ongoing photo-documentary series Broken Land, for which he won the 2017 Ernest Cole Award for Photography. The Broken Land series grew out of a freelance assignment for the Sunday Times that brought him to the resource-rich province of Mpumalanga, just east of Johannesburg. Daylin, who grew up in Durban and studied at Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape, was not previously familiar with the region, its industrial landscape and related pollution and humanitarian issues. Broken Land focuses on the battle between climate change, mining, and human rights in the province.  The gravity of the pollution issue in the province is captured in Daylin’s images of cooling towers, exhaust fumes hanging in the air and coal fired power stations. His photographs have been described as showing the tension inherent in this area between the tangible structures of power generation and displaced communities and the intangible pollution of toxic particulates, which hangs mostly unseen in the air and infiltrates the lungs of the people who live there. 

After he graduated from Rhodes University in 2006, with a Bachelor of Journalism majoring in English Literature and Photojournalism, Daylin moved to Independent Newspapers as Staff Photographer, honing his skills by covering hard news, spot news, feature photography and sport. In 2009, he left this role to become an independent photographer, and has worked with clients including Médicins Sans Frontières South Africa, Amnesty International and Agence France Press. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Guardian, Foreign Policy, Financial Times and Huffington Post. Giving back to the community, in the ‘each one teach one’ tradition, he has worked as a trainer in the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography programme at the Market Photo Workshop. This is a recognised school of photography which incorporates a gallery and project space, and which was founded in 1989 to offer training in photography and visual literacy for the marginalised and poor who are unable to further their studies at university level.  

Daylin has been awarded a JMS50 alumni award from the School of Journalism and Media Studies for his dedication to capturing life on the knife-edge of the humanitarian and industrial complexes in Mpumalanga. He is currently contracted as Commissioning Photography Editor at UNICEF, and is now based in New York.