Short films and videos by Carl houston mcmillan

                                             OLYMPIC COMMERCIAL FOR LESOTHO

Featuring a young talented local runner.


Tseopo Ramonene possesses the usual marathon runner’s physique, a modest height with a slight frame and no body fat to be seen. It’s no wonder he has to wear multiple layers of t-shirts and jackets to keep warm, winter in Lesotho can be bitterly cold. When you first meet Tsepo you soon get the sense that he will not be asking many questions. He is a very quiet and humble young man and after learning more about his situation and where he is coming from, you can see the reason for his timid persona.

When you asked Tsepo what he does, he simply replies, “I run”. Running is Tsepo’s life. Both his parents are unemployed. His dad receives a very small pension from working in the mines, but not enough to support the family. Tsepo is the sole breadwinner he feeds his family with the small winnings he earns from his races. His parents are proud of his achievements so far and they know when he goes to a race he will return with something.

The current marathon world record is 2h:03min. Tsepo’s personal best is 2h 16min, within Olympic qualification standard. This shows great talent and potential considering his age. At the age of 20 he has plenty years ahead of him to develop his talent. With the right support, coaching and nutrition Tsepo could be a world champion. Before a race he eats white bread with tea. His gradmother sometimes gives him R50 from her monthly pension which he uses to buy energy drink sachetts.

Tsepo’s wish is to finnish his schooling. He has only completed primary school. As his parents couldn’t afford to send him to high school which is about R1500 a year in Lesotho.

His dreams are to have a proper home and one day build a house for his family.

Tsepo will be competing in the London Olympic marathon. 






I did this short film to highlight the topic of poverty pornography. Living in South Africa where Poverty is on your door steep, I have come to question my eye when it comes to portrait photography. Many photographers have explored poverty as a theme, making art of people in vulnerable positions. Dirt, grime, broken spaces and faces attract photographers. Such as photos of broken abandoned buildings that are falling apart or the dirty face of a young kid on the street.

Why do these images attract the eyes of so many photographers? And what do the subjects themselves think of the photos? Do they see the beauty in their own despair? Do they find the photos of their mismatched shoes or patched pants interesting, or is it just the romanticised view of the photographer and his market?

The photographer perhaps sees something interesting within his subject but does he always feel for his subject?

As a keen photographer my self I have always questioned my wondering eye, questioning what it perceives to be a “good snap”. I have come to appreciate images that have stories behind them, where the photographer has not just approached his subject for the sake of a “good picture”, but has taken the time to get to know his subject, to understand his subject’s situation. The concept  “The Blind Photographer” tells the story of a young photographer who is only concerned with capturing images, with no regard or concern for the subject behind the lens. He does this with the mentality of “This is going to be a great photo” as he goes about capturing his theme of poverty.

He is a photographer who is unaware of his thoughtlessness, unaware that he is using the plight of another to aid the sale of his work. In a way the photographer is blind, he does not look deeper into his subjects and uses his lens as a mask.


Its not what you got but what you do with what you got