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Eric Lafforgue May 13, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Papua New Guinea.
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Singsing Festival, Mt Hagen, Papua New Guinea 2007

Eric Lafforgue has always been fascinated by travel. When he was ten years old he spent time in Africa, unknowingly retracing Monfried and Joseph Kesselʼs footsteps in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Yemen. He started taking photographs in 2006 and in 2008, his work on the people of Papua was shown at VISA photojournalism festival in Perpignan. Since then his work has been published in: Time, National Geographic, New York Times, CNN Traveler, Discovery Channel BBC, and the Sunday times among others. Eric is represented by the French photo agency Rapho.

About the Photo:

“Once a year in Mount Hagen, in the highlands of Papua New Guinea tribes from all around the country come to show their culture and rituals. Dancing contests and ceremonial exchanges are the  highlight of these festivities, aimed to honor and renew the relationship with ancestors as well as maintaining each clan’s prestige. When decorating themselves, Papuan’s use everything they find in nature : grass, flowers, natural pigments, animal teeth and pig tusks. The headdress they wear is made by old wise men who keep the feathers like a treasure in old suitcases. Each feather is packed in a page of newspaper, to protect it from insects, and one by one, the man will build the headdress. It takes hours. They start at six in the morning and lasts into the night.”

Marc Dozier June 5, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Papua New Guinea.
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Fabien and Kapuela Preparing for Celebration. Papua New Guinea

34 year old French photojournalist Marc Dozier has been a photo reporter for ten years with the French travel magazine Grands Reportages. After studying literature in his hometown of Grenoble, Marc continued to study graphic arts in Paris and at an unlikely institution: the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby. Every year since 1996 Marc spends several months renewing friendships with his “Papuan brothers”. In 2003, Marc invited two Papua New Guinean friends Mudeya and Polobi on a grand tour of France. This hilarious account, a photographic journal “Le long-long voyage” was published in April 2007. The previous year, with the support of Bonne Pioche production house, Marc received his Papuan friends for a brand new adventure shot in a 100 minute documentary, called the “The Reverse Exploration” co-written by Jean-Marie Barrère. Marc plans to organize more photography trips to Papua New Guinea and eventually publish a book about that country.

About the Photograph:

“After ten days of being stuck in a small hut, sheltered from tropical storms, the sun finally came back. It was right on time for this special occasion that had me coming to this place. In July – only when harvests have been good – the Trobriand islands’ tribes of Papua New Guinea organize a big festival to celebrate nature and mankind’s fertility. For more than a century, missionaries have had a strong influence on their culture and converted the whole community to Christianity. They have been trying for decades to ban this famous celebration known as “Milamala” where young teenagers, of both sex, gather together with their parent’s approval. The first morning, everybody got very excited in the village Kanobasi. Inside the hut, Fabien Tolosi and Kapuela Botaya started to get their body decoration ready for “Wosi Mwaya”. During this traditional dance, boys try and seduce girls. Sitting next to the dancers, I started to shoot them when I noticed something odd hanging on the hut’s wall: a picture of Pope John-Paul ll (upper-right corner) who looked in disarray. I could not help but smile and think that traditions are still stronger than new religions.”

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