Manus Island and Papua New Guinea …

Thanks to Kevin Rudd and his new ‘Pacific Solution’ for asylum seekers I got to spend all of  last week in Papua New Guinea and Manus Island for News Ltd.

In Port Moresby we met, photographed and spoke to local Muslims, Bangladeshi shop keepers and local Papuans and listened to their opinions about Rudd’s plan. The images made several spreads in News Ltd publications and front pages of the ‘Courier Mail’ and the ‘Daily Telegraph’. I also photographed the PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill (and one of my images of  him appeared in todays edition of  ‘The Australian’ 30th July.)

Manus Island itself was a revelation. When Manus is mentioned these days most are only aware of the ‘hell hole’ asylum seeker detention centre (at which we managed to get ‘detained’ ourselves for some time!).

In reality Manus is a beautiful tropical island almost on the Equator and home to fifty thousand of the most delightful, beautiful and cheery residents you could imagine. My time on the island (apart from the detention centre incident and difficulties with communications) was an absolute delight.

As well as making images of departing asylum seekers and arriving politicians, I worked on a picture essay entitled “The Other Side of Manus” to contrast the reality of Manus island with it’s perception as just a dismal detention centre.

So far ‘The Australian’ has run the entire “The Other Side of Manus” essay at …  … and the ‘Courier Mail’ is planning to run it in their print edition later this week.

A great and rewarding weeks work in more ways than one …

Below are some of the images and a copy of one of the front pages – from the top – just three chosen from “The Other Side of Manus” essay of 25, an image of a family living inside a WWII bunker in Port Moresby and the front page of the ‘Daily Telegraph’ on the 22nd July.

All images © Brian Cassey