Originally from Pennsylvania, Jennifer Huxta is an independent photographer and field poet based in Nairobi, Kenya. She covered the recent crisis in Burundi, Pope Francis’s visit to Kenya and Kenyan elections for Agence France-Presse (AFP). She has completed humanitarian photography assignments for NGOs and foundations throughout East/West/Central Africa, focusing on women’s health, climate change, and youth unemployment. Her editorial work has appeared in the New York Times, Le Monde, News Deeply, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Times, Le Journal du Dimanche, The Guardian, and the BBC. In 2015, she was certified in combat medical first aid by RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues). At A River Blue in Northern Uganda, she created a photo mural with young adults displaced by the Lord's Resistance Army conflict. A recipient of the Davis Fellowship for Peace, she studied Arabic at Middlebury Language Schools in summer 2016. In September 2016, she reported on conservation and ecology in Northern Uganda as part of the International Women’s Media Foundation Great Lakes Reporting Fellowship. Her journals explore the crossroads of reportage, drawing, collage, perception, memory and storytelling. She speaks fluent French, basic Arabic and some Swahili.
Sometimes when I'm traveling with a lot of photo gear and sleeping in different places every few nights, then my journal is a list of things, very specific events, written horizontally in my small field notebooks with field notes written vertically. Sometimes I make big heavy visual diaries filled with scraps and collage and paint and mess. Sometimes I have slender volumes that are just for a trip, and I draw and scribble in them, such as the one I took with me to Israel/Palestine. At Arabic school I filled two notebooks with drawings, thought processes, Arabic grammar and vocabulary. Sometimes my journals are scratchy whiny things that are difficult to read. I keep them all in a closet in my parents' house. They exert a fairly tremendous psychic pressure on me. I dream of them: panicky dreams that they’ve been destroyed by water or fire and I am upset and inconsolable, as if I've lost a child. Once I kept them in the basement for a year and often I dream they are still there, and I can't find them, I'm frantic and searching for them among Christmas ornaments and soggy papers and crumbling books while ghosts tug at my sleeves. Sometimes I want to burn them all. But they are the only evidence of my self on this earth. And I just read back to my three journals in the fall of 2011 before I left Paris and moved to Nairobi. My parents visited and I had a show at the American Library and I was coordinating a photo project and went to Tunis for elections and I was in the hospital for three days and had good friends and consistently wrote about the damp leaves and spines of plants in the gardens in Paris, just tiny details that I noticed, while planning my departure and worrying and wondering if I was making the right choice to leave. And I cried because I saw what a beautiful life I've had, and my journals are the main thing that have allowed me to see that, and I do know it, but I regret that I can too often get wrapped up in my itchy worry and hurry and I guess what could be called striving, or surviving, as I make up my life as I go along.