|Born: ||US, NM, Santa Fe|
Thomas Kelly was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico and educated at Loyola University of Chicago and Rome. He first came to Nepal in 1978 as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and has since worked as a photo-activist, documenting the struggles of marginalized people and disappearing cultural traditions all over the world. Since the early 1990s, he has been recording the lives of sex workers and the traditions of prostitution across South Asia. Thomas has worked extensively for UNICEF, Save the Children Fund (USA) on the subject of child prostitution, trafficking and numerous other subjects. His work has appeared in publications worldwide, including, the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, Smithsonian, Archeology, U.K., The Observer, Le Figaro, Stern and many others. He was awarded the best travel photograph by Conde Nast and Photographer of the Year by Hinduism Today. He has received several grants, including one from the Gates Foundation and from the Threshold Grant. With these grants, he used the camera as a tool for social policy and positive intervention within social issues relating to gender empowerment and HIV AIDS, and taught workshops to the youth of these communities enabling them to tell their own visual songs in their own voices.
Apart from photography, Kelly has produced and directed films and videos on prostitution, violence against women, and esoteric ethnic practices, among other subjects for Discovery Communications, USA, National Geographic and the BBC. He is currently the AV Technical Advisor for The Youth Expression Project (YEP), a program to help young people identify and voice their concerns about parental, sexual, and societal issues, through writing, photography and video to express those concerns on a public platform. Their media outputs will be directed to parents, teachers and the general public through A YEP traveling exhibit.
[Courtesy of Verve Fine Arts Gallery - 2006]
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