28 April 2018: Al-Hussein mosque, Cairo, Egypt.
This blog has always been first about pictures and then text (and sharing my thoughts). But the past months have been rather poor in pictures, with an environment and a work in Yemen not exactly encouraging me to go out and to capture moments.
Today, for the first time in a year, I discovered a place I didn’t know before and where I could take pictures without jeopardizing my work (and security).
I would lie saying it didn’t feel great to try to capture something special, making something mine.
28 May 2016: Celebration at Bet Maryam church, Lalibela, Ethiopia.
I was not a big Apple fan, far from it, but became one when I got my first iPod (nano 1G) and later started using a MacBook in 2007. Fantastic ergonomic coupled with a nice design and very intuitive to use (even for a big Windows XP user and geek).
I just purchased my 4th Mac (a MacBook Air 11″) and like the previous one I owned, I have it most of the time with me. Amazing autonomy (up to 9 hours), great performances (faster that the previous one, with which I used to process all my pictures and even designed two books) and of course, incredibly thin and light.
Nothing new, for people knowing me, but what is, though, is that I have to recognize a certain lassitude lately. My MacBook Air is certainly still the best machine on the market in its category and Mountain Lion is amazingly stable and powerful. But I start seeing a clear lack of creativity. While google just provided a brand new easy-to-use gmail interface (sorting your mails for you), Apple still struggles to use the gmail flags properly and hasn’t brought anything new in his Mail.app lately. And the upcoming new Mac OS shouldn’t change anything neither.
The iPhone, that revolutionized the (smart)phone industry remains very expensive and starts lacking some serious innovation. iTunes still has bugs with iTunes Match (unloaded covers, weird albums grouping, …) and I fail to see a real interest for a fingerprints reader (which, by the way, already equipped my IBM laptop 7 years ago). Androide’s phones certainly have tons of useless and unfinalized applications, but at least, Google is making some effort to bring new technologies.
I am ready to pay more, to get an outstanding customer service (Apple store and warranty), a great design (Macbook Air) or a fantastic ergonomic (Moutain Lion / Apple touchpad) but I am not ready to pay a fortune just to get a bigger phone and I worry when I realize that nothing, in the new Mac OS really interests me. Where are the new Time Machine, multi-fingers support or other spotlight functionalities? I understand that it takes time to design new products and to invent something really inovative. But in the past months/two years, Apple hasn’t surprised me at all. Maybe NOW is the right time…
Someone just asked me if (and how) I have access to internet in the field. While I had a pretty good 3G internet connection in Darfur, internet in the South East of CAR is a rather rare and expensive resource. It is more or less either by BGAN (mobile solution, at 5$/MB) or by VSat (fixed installation, at about $1000/month), both using a satellite connection. Although I’ve been travelling lately with a BGAN for work, I can obviously only use it for professional and urgent matters (or it’s gonna become a rather expensive Youtube video…). But if I have the chance to get access to another organisation’s wifi, then it’s X-Mas and I can load the news on my iPhone and read all the daily articles of the New York Times, which usually keep me busy for a while at night.
However, being isolated has some positive aspects too. You can learn how to cook a monkey, stop a colon of aggressive ants going out hunting or simply how to make sure a turtle doesn’t flee before you start boiling it.
So, because it’s always good to know it when you have annoying neighbours or a spoiled nephew: How to cook a monkey?
It’s actually very simple: Find a monkey, kill it, throw it in a fire, carbonize it for a while, remove its hair, cut it in half, eviscerate it and chop it into pieces. Do NOT throw away its hands or head, it’s supposed to be the best parts and it’s a fantastic way to shock your vegan friends.
Enjoy your meal!
When music isn’t enough, photography has always proved to be my best bubble. Just focusing on the light, the subject, trying to reproduce the feeling or ambiance perceived, and enjoying it.
And all the rest doesn’t exist anymore. What else?
The sky is filled with stars and the night absolutely silent. Just a small, soft music, in my head.
Lots of meetings and discussions with interlocutors. Some sms. And a memory card in my pocket, containing some first official pictures to be processed.
The music gets lounder. 48 heartbeats/min.
Another night in Africa.
11 February 2013: Thanks to Alyona, for posing despite the bad light and lack of chair. Bangui, Central African Republic. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].
– “I again spent the night with that guy. I really have a crush on him”
– “Is it why you look so tired? … :-)”
– “No, I was just so afraid of telling him “I love you” while dreaming that I did not sleep at all”
– “Love is tough…”
Friendships sometimes lies in details. Not in the amount of emails exchanged or in the frequency of your phone calls. Sometimes, it’s just about a story shared on skype, or a card sent from the other side of the world for Christmas.
Love lies in microscopic details…
14 January 2013: Sarah, Yaoundé, Cameroon. Thanks to her for the patience… [Click on the picture to enlarge it].
And if you think you are well settled, in your favorite leather sofa and clean apartment, without any motivation for going anywhere . Just watch this.
2nd weekend spent in Yaoundé, still waiting for my return ticket to the field. Weird situation, with one hemisphere at work and the other one on vacation, trying to kill time.
At least, it gives me some time to discover some local restaurants, bars and music clubs. No jazz or concert of Bonobo but a really interesting combination of styles, musics and attitudes on stage. It’s just sad that my new portrait lens is not with me right now, but in a trunk somewhere in Bangui, hoping to be found again at my return …
On the way back from the airport, I can not prevent myself from smiling, listening to Alpha Blondy’s singing “You don’t have the right to shoot the children”. At the back of the land cruiser, a father and his daughter are trying to get used to each other again. Few minutes earlier, they embraced for the first time in two years, result of an incursion of the LRA in their house one night.
Later, watching a movie under a sky filled with stars, I feel relaxed and in peace. That was before I decided to apply some mosquito-repellant on my arms and hands and then went to the toilets, unfortunately in that order.
Life is tough… sometime.
01 December 2012: A group of local taxi drivers performing during the 54th anniversary of the independence of the Central African Republic, in Zemio, close to the border with Congo. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].