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Phil Moore November 27, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Congo, DR Congo.
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moore_cong
Congolese army soldiers celebrate immediately after recapturing the town of
Bunagana
from M23 rebels, DRC 2013

Phil Moore (b. 1982, U.K.) studied Computer Science at the University of Sheffield, specializing in Artificial Intelligence. Having worked for a year as a research associate in AI, and then three years as a web-designer in Paris, France, he set-out to make a career in photojournalism. His first work was covering the South Sudanese referendum for independence in 2011, and since then has covered the Arab Spring in Libya and Syria, the M23 rebellion in the DRC, and various elections across the African continent. He has worked extensively with Agence France-Presse (AFP), and contributes to magazines such as Der Spiegel and Vanity Fair (Italy), as well as daily newspapers, including the Times of London, the New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde and Libération. He is currently based in Nairobi, Kenya, predominantly covering East Africa.

About the Photograph:

“I had been documenting the rise, and subsequent fall, of the M23 rebel group in eastern Congo since their inception in April 2012. The early days of the rebellion were marked by rapid advances and victories over what was seen as a demoralized and disorganized national army. In July last year, the tide shifted, and the army started recapturing rebel-territory, pushing them back to the hills around the Ugandan border. When I took this photograph on October 30, 2013, I was with an advance party of government soldiers as they retook Bunagana, the last rebel strong-hold.”

“The previous year, I had spent weeks in Bunagana as it shifted from government control to rebel hands, crossing the border every night to sleep in neighboring Uganda. The town—and its few hotels—had emptied due to the fighting. I remember a United Nations commander coming and telling the remaining townspeople that his troops would “never let Bunagana fall to the rebels”. Two months later, I stood in the same spot as M23 militia men milled around. It took fifteen months for the army to recapture it. On my early trips to Bunagana, it was very difficult to document the conflict. The government had formally prohibited journalists from crossing over into rebel territory, which we therefore did surreptitiously. I remember one morning, when the army had been caught off-guard by an early raid. They raised their rifle butts at me as they filed past, infuriated by the sight of my cameras documenting their defeat.”

“The soldiers recapturing Bunagana were a world away from this aggression that I had previously experienced. The group pictured above were part of a Chinese-trained group of commandos. They had recaptured the town maybe 45 minutes earlier, and were now singing and celebrating with break dancing and Karate demonstrations as gunshots rang out in the surrounding hills, all the while chanting ‘Commando Chinois!’ (Chinese commandos, in French.) The residents of Bunagana flooded back over the border from Uganda, where they had taken refuge. At first glance, this image is one of aggression: soldiers and fists. The expression of the guy on the ground is slightly ambiguous, but his fake cry was shrouded in delight of their victory.”

Gwenn Dubourthoumieu May 17, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in DR Congo.
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The Child Witches of Kinshasa 2011

Gwenn Dubourthoumieu (b.1978, France) became interesting in photography while working in Africa for NGO’s. He has worked in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2007. He recently moved to Paris and joined the Myop agency. This year, his work “Turkana Warriors” has been short listed at the Sony World Photography Awards and his feature about the child witches of Kinshasa has been awarded the jury’s special prize at the Eight Days Japan International Photojournalism Festival. In 2011, the same work was awarded the jury’s special mention at the Roger Pic Prize and the investigation prize at the European Journalism Festival. Gwenn received the Getty Images Grant for Good for his work “Raped Lives” about sexual violence in the DRC.

About the Photograph:

“I took this photo at an open center for street children in the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Between 20,000 and 50,000 children live in the streets of Kinshasa. Organized in gangs, they get by, sometimes thanks to theft or prostitution. More than a third of them were chased away from their home in the pretext that they were child witches and responsible of all the troubles of the family (death, unemployment, disease, etc.). The majority of the people in Kinshasa believe they are cursed. More than one hundred new child witches are discovered every month and thrown out in the streets. The faith in witchcraft is profoundly rooted in the Congolese culture, but the phenomenon, which consists in abandoning children by accusing them of witchcraft increased only since the end of 1990’s. In this immense over populated shanty town that is Kinshasa, where 95% of the population live below the poverty line, the children are unproductive mouths to feed.”

Andrea Frazzetta November 12, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in DR Congo.
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Christmas Celebration, Congo

Andrea Frazzetta (b.1977, Italy) studied art and architecture in Milan but later decided to become a photographer. He works for Italian magazines such as D of La Repubblica, L’Espresso, Vanity Fair, Internazionale, National Geografic and has been published in New York Times, El Pais Semanal, The Guardian Weekend, Courier Japon. He has exhibited at: The International Photographic Festival of Arles, the Noorderlicht International Photofestival, and Visa Pour l’image. He is currently working on a long term project about the Mediterranean area.  In 2009 he received the Yann Geffroy Award for his work “Obama Village”

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is from my “God too will be present” reportage, dedicated to religiousness faith in Congo. I shot this picture during a theatrical representation staged for Christmas by a group of street children, inside a missionary shed. I remember it as a moment of great intensity and lightness at the same time. God is black. And black was his son. This is the belief of the Kinbaguistas, followers of Simon Kimbangu, African preacher and new messiah who died as a martyr in a Belgian prison during the 1960’s. The Kimbaguistas are the most important religious sect in Congo, a small superpower equipped with a radio and television station. But that is only a part of the complex spiritual reality of Congo that includes 1300 chapels, five thousand priests and thirty million believers spread out at the four corners of a country as large as Western Europe. These are the impressive numbers that characterize the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Catholic community.”

Per-Anders Pettersson March 19, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in DR Congo.
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Child prostitutes prepare for work. Kinshasa, Congo

Per-Anders Pettersson (b.1967, Sweden) began his professional career as a photographer in the late eighties after studying business and working for a local newspaper in his hometown. In 1990, he moved to New York and covered major news and feature stories in over 60 countries most recently in Congo, South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Chad and China. He works on assignment for Stern, GEO, Newsweek, and many other major international newspapers and magazines. In 1995, Pettersson produced a book of work from 1991-1995. His project on the ”Flying Squad’ a South African police unit was exhibited at Visa Pour L’image in Perpignan in September 2001. He participated in the ”A Day in the Life of Africa” book project in the spring of 2002, photographing in Kinshasa, Congo.

About the Photograph:

“Esther Yandakwa, age 9, Francine Nyanda, age 14, and Gladys Lutadila, age 14, Clarisse Bongalo, age 14, have their nails done on April 2006 in Matonge district in central Kinshasa, Congo, DRC. They are homeless and work as prostitutes together. They live outside, next to a polluted river. They have all run away from their parents. They have been living in a homeless shelter for children, but don’t like the rules there. They smoke cigarettes, marijuana, drink whiskey and sometimes take Valium. They charge their clients as little as one dollar. About 15,000 children are estimated to live on the streets of Kinshasa.  After forty years of mismanagement by a corrupt dictator and former president Mobuto Sese Seko the Congo is in ruins. A civil war began there after he fled the country in 1997.”

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Ryan Carter September 2, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in DR Congo.
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Selling shirts in Goma, Eastern DR Congo, 2008

Ryan Carter (b. 1981, Toronto, Canada) is based in the United Arab Emirates where he divides his time between assignments and personal projects that explore the connections between people and their environments. In 2009 Ryan received recognition from Applied Arts, Communication Arts, and the National Press Photographers Association of America. His work will be included in the Foto 8 Summer Show, the Magenta Foundation Flash Forward 2009 book / exhibition and the Gallery 44 Emergence book. Ryan has recently completed assignments for the Canadian International Development Agency, the Crown Princes Court of Abu Dhabi, the International Herald Tribune, Monocle and the New York Times Magazine.

About the Photograph:

In 2008 I found myself on assignment for The National newspaper in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Over the course of two trips I spent five weeks doing a number of small specific assignments for the foreign pages of the paper. In my down time I would walk the streets exploring, looking for images of daily life. The scene in this image is a common one, a young man walking the dusty, dirty streets of Goma, selling shirts. Life in eastern DR Congo is extremely difficult, poverty is rampant, and the civil war continues to destabilize the region making the survival a constant struggle.”

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Guy Calaf February 6, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in DR Congo.
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Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Guy Calaf (b.1978. Italy) spent his childhood between Italy and the US. In 1997 he moved to Milan he  received a degree in Communication Science focusing on the semiotics of Vietnam War photography in 2003. Guy joined the WpN photo agency in early 2004, after which he worked in Palestine, Sudan, Chad, Eastern DRC, Eastern Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Guy’s photographer have been published in: Vanity Fair, Le Figaro Magazine, Paris Match, National Geographic, Le Point, GQ Italy, Der Spiegel, Newsweek, USA TODAY, Time Magazine, and Stern among others. He is based in Ethiopia.

About the Photograph:

“I shot this picture in  2005 while i was on a day trip with the United Nations Peacekeeping mission for the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). They took a group of journalists  to one of their  disarmament Camps where hundreds of young militia men were waiting to hand over their guns to the the UN. While I was walking around  taking photos and chatting with the guys I saw this young man, at most 18 years old, and took some photos of him from bellow with my 50mm lens. He was very quiet and seemed a bit lost in the crowd. A terrible sense of sadness was surrounding him. I exchanged a few words with him and offered him  a cigarette. We shook each others hand. He tried to smile and we both said goodbye. I lived in Eastern Congo’s region of Ituri for 3 months in 2005.  While I was there tens of villages were burnt by rival militia groups. Thousands of people died. I spent about a week in a camp about three hours drive from Bunia, Ituri’s capital, where more than twenty thousand people were gathered after their villages were reduced to ash. Many children had their face disfigured by machetes. The accounts of the violence was disarming.  I keep going back to Eastern Congo and am working on a story on sexual violence in the East of the country.”

Jan-Joseph Stok August 6, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in DR Congo.
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Boy Scouts of Africa, Congo 2007

Born in Holland in 1978, Jan-Joseph Stok spent most of his childhood in France. At the age of 18 he returned to his home country to study photojournalism for three years at the Foto Academie in Amsterdam. While working as a freelance photographer he was wounded in an attack near Kosovo and decided to return home, with the goal of acquiring more knowledge and expertise about the world. Stok has completed freelance assignments for international magazines and newspapers and has traveled regularly to Africa to work for a variety of international NGO’s. In January 2006, he was awarded “Best Photojournalist  of the Year Under 30” in the Netherlands and the Canon Prize. During 2006, Stok was based in London for one year, where he continued to work as a freelance photographer while completing a Masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication.

About the Photograph:

“I made this  photograph of the Boy Scouts of the Congo playing in the forest. Being a boy scout is a good way for the young people to avoid  joining rebel groups in the Congo. It gives them a feeling of belonging in a postive way of life. My work in Africa aims to reveal the details of peoples lives and not simply concentrate on hard news. My aim is to look deeper into the lives of often neglected people and the facets of society that few people seem to care about.”

Hector Mediavilla March 31, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in DR Congo.
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mediavilla_congo.jpg
The Congolese Sape. Brazzaville, Congo

Hector Medivilla is Spanish photographer based in Barcelona.. His work focuses on social issues in Africa and Latin America. His pictures have been published in Colors, New York Times, Business Week, Time, L’Internazionale, L’Espresso, Io Dona, Financial Times Germany, Magazine La Vanguardia and others. His work has received awards from Pictures of the Year International and Fotopres La Caixa. He is a founding member of the new Spanish collective Pandora.

Hector described the project saying “Africa has many many faces but we usually see the same kind of reality: war, hunger and so on. Realities like those exist and should be documented but it’s rich to see this part of the world through other perspectives. They might help us to rethink our beliefs about it”. Mediavilla has also documented the Sapeurs life in Paris. The complete essay can be seen at ZoneZero.

About The Photograph:

Sape is French slang for “dressing with class”. The French often use the expression “il est bien sape” to talk about a sharp dressed man. The term “sapeur” is a new African word that refers to someone that is dressed with great elegance. (more…)

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