On a recent visit to CEL Solicitors, award-winning photographer and founder of Legacy of War Foundation, Giles Duley, gave an inspiring talk about his life, work, and a message of resilience and love. As a war photographer who has covered conflicts from around the world, Giles’ focus on individual stories and the effects of conflicts on civilians left a lasting impact on staff.
Giles began his career at just 19 years of age as a fashion and music photographer. After a decade of working with the likes of Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz, Giles found that this type of work failed to bring him fulfilment, and eventually pursued documentary photography full-time. Covering conflicts from around the world, Giles possessed a keen interest in individual stories and the effects of conflict on civilians.
Whilst working in Afghanistan in 2011, Giles was severely injured by an IED, leaving him as a triple amputee. Medical professionals told Giles that he would never walk again and that would never be able to return to work.
Refusing to let his injury hinder his quality of life, Giles returned to Afghanistan the following year and continues to document families and communities affected by conflict.
In 2017, Giles founded Legacy of War Foundation, a charity which works to support survivors of conflict.
Resilience and Adapting to Change
During his inspiring CEL Talk, Giles shared a powerful message on resilience and adapting to change. He spoke about how resilience is a great strength that can only be gained through hardship. He highlighted the importance of finding purpose and passion in life and using it to make a difference.
Giles shared how his life’s work has been about focusing on humanity and representing the other side of the narrative when it comes to war and conflict.
He explained that his photography is not his purpose, but instead, his tool. His tool which he employs to connect with others, break down barriers, share unique stories, and bring important issues to the forefront.
Additionally, under his alias, the One Armed Chef, Giles connects with people through his love for food, as he believes that a meal has the power to bring people together and foster understanding and compassion.
The Impact on Staff
Our staff was moved and uplifted by Giles’ remarkable outlook on life and his ability to connect through humble means.
“I loved Giles’ perspective on war. It reminded us that there are real victims who are affected by it.
I love his use of imagery and how it portrayed the beauty of community in the midst of trials.”
“One of my key takeaways was that you can use the tools you are given to enlighten the world. Giles used his photography skills to show the beauty in war and eventually start an organisation that would better the community.”
“I felt inspired and refreshed after Giles’ talk. You don’t come across people like him every day. I felt as though his wisdom and perspective were very unique and valuable.”
“I found Giles extremely commendable considering that he used to be a top fashion photographer and gave it all up to chase his true passion. He was such an inspiring speaker and definitely my favourite CEL Talk out of them all.”
Overall, our staff at CEL Solicitors took away some important messages from Giles’ talk, including the importance of adapting to life’s changes, doing everything with love, and finding purpose in life. Giles’ life and work serve as an inspiration to us all, reminding us of the power of human resilience, compassion, and purpose.