Malone alumnus wins first runner-up in Africa Geographic's Photographer of the Year contest

File Under: Faith At Malone

In a sea of more than 30,000 applicants it’s not easy to become an award-winning photographer.

Now in his second career, Bob Ditty ‘93 demonstrates Christ’s Kingdom First through his craft and was recently honored as first runner-up in Africa Geographic’s Photographer of the Year competition.

After adopting two children from Uganda, Ditty moved there in 2014. He sold everything and quit his job in the field of computer science, fully intending to return to the United States after three years. But God had other plans for him to remain in Africa and he later realized he could use his passion for photography and videography to make a living there. 

Ditty’s work stands out among the other award-winning photos in this year’s spread because it features people rather than animals or landscapes. A piece of his Mzee photo series (Mzee means “old man”), Ditty’s aim is to show African people with dignity and respect. 

“Uganda is one of the youngest countries on earth, with 78 percent of people younger than 30 years old and 52 percent under the age of 15,” he said. “I want to showcase the segment of the population that is culturally forgotten-- the older men. The subject of this photo is 100 years old, still in love with his wife, and a WWII veteran. I’m thrilled that this photo was selected for recognition because I believe we have much to learn from him and I wanted to share that with the world.”

Even today, Ditty remembers what he first learned in a religion class at Malone about how his career and his faith can work together. 

“John Geib gave me a new perspective on the Christian faith and why people need to hear the Gospel,” he said. “It remains something I still take to heart while here in Africa because I’m surrounded by so many different belief systems. I’ve gained compassion and empathy for others and now I can tell them from my own experiences that God is in control no matter what they may be going through.” 

For updates on Ditty’s photographs, follow along at his Instagram.