In 1975, after 400 years of colonisation by the Portuguese, the half-island of East Timor was gaining independence as a sovereign nation. In that same year, they were invaded by Indonesia. There ensued 25 years of systematic genocide which went unrecognised in the media world. In 2001, the Indonesian forces retreated, leaving a trail of destruction as the UN peacekeeping forces moved in. In 2002, my estranged father invited me to travel around East Timor in a 4x4, and I photographed my journey with a Nikon F3 using Kodacolor Gold 200 negative film.
These are the portraits of a proud people, virtually every one of whom had stories of atrocities and tragic loss to tell. I discovered the richness, beauty and humanity of these people, and also re-discovered my long-lost father. It was to be the last time I saw him.
My gratitude goes to Laura B, for the hospitality of her and her family, and for making this amazing journey possible.