After almost three months shooting mostly meetings, resulting in a serious lack of inspiration and creativity, I’m back to the field with a very exciting project. It’s quite challenging, sometime frustrating when I can not get what I want, but it’s a real pleasure to shoot again and to try to present something different. Final result in a few short months.

20 September 2011: Ahmedhay Ahmed, 25 years old, farmer in North Darfur. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].

New project

“This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching tv. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop, they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love. Stop over analyzing, life is simple. All emotions are beautiful. When you eat, appreciate every last bite. Open your mind, arms and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences. Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them. Travel often, getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come ones, seize them. Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them so go out and start creating. Life is short. Life your dream and share your passion.”

by Holstee

11 September 2011: Mustafa Osman, 31, from Malam, North Darfur. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].

11 September 2011: Adam Ahmed Abdallah, 59, from barakallah, North Darfur. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].

10 years ago, I was in Singapore, trying to find out if the images on TV were real or a bad movie.
3 years ago, I was flying to Sudan, trying to find out if Darfur could be a new chapter in my life.
Today, I’m starting my last big photo project in Darfur, trying to find out what is coming next.


10 July 2011: A habitant of Sehjana village, North Darfur, during a meeting with UNAMID, UNHCR and other NGOs, to discuss the possible return of about 800 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Kabkabya to Kutum. The rainy season has started and the reason and condition of their possible return still raise many questions. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].

Saturday Morning Thoughts

I have been a bit more geek lately and spent more time playing with my computer at night. I don’t know if it worths sharing it but I’ll let you judge:

The movie industry has put in place restrictions to make sure you can not easily read in Europe a DVD bought in the US (and vice-versa). They mostly want to make sure they don’t kill movie theaters by allowing customer to buy abroad movies that haven’t been presented yet. Therefore, they introduced the notion of zone. The world is separated in height zones and you can only change zone five times before having your dvd player locked to the last zone used. It makes sense if you live in Europe but if you’re traveling a lot or live in a country without movie theater but with people from all other the world, it’s a bit problematic. For Macbook Pro users, the solution is quite easy. You just need to check if your DVD drive is zone free (RPC-1). If not, then just update your DVD firmware. Finally, use Region X to reset the zone counter. If you don’t want to do it, you can either stop watching DVD, buy one laptop per zone or be a bad guy and only watch pirate movies (divx). But don’t hold me responsible for anything.

05 July 2011: A Darfurian internally displaced person (IDP) gives water to her cattle at Zamzam water point, North Darfur, Sudan. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].

Finally, I have been testing the new google+ social network. Most of my friends and acquaintance are still not registered so it’s difficult to have a final opinion but I particularly like the way the privacy settings are defined. The notion of circle is not different with the notion of limited profile on Facebook but is way more intuitive and you don’t need a PhD from Facebook University to understand all the options (or simply to find them). Wait and see …

In a Geek World

Tonight, I’m buying music on iTune using my iPod touch connected to an anonymous network (TOR, a second-generation onion routing) through a protected wifi connection shared by my Macbook Pro and its 3G modem. Yeah… I am a bit geek sometime.

05 July 2011: Darfurian workers preparing cole bags in Zamzam internally displaced person (IDP) camp, North Darfur. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].

Speaking about geek, I strongly recommend Dropbox and Chrome. If you have or work on more than one computer, Dropox will allow you to share your files automatically . And as they are kept both online and locally, you won’t have problems working if you don’t have an internet access. Regarding Chrome, it provides the same functionalities than any browser like Safari, Firefox or IE but allow you to automatically synchronized your bookmark, saved passwords and other auto-fill. Again, if you work with more than one computer… it’s really neat.

Invasion or The Return of “Le Perv”

Today, the first miniscule blue helmet invaded Sudan. We still do know how many they are and their intentions but it should be fun 🙂

03 July 2011: A miniscule blue helmet protects the United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) camp in El Fasher, North Darfur.

Meanwhile, it is funny to observe that, although the case is not even closed, half of the French population thinks that Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) should resume his political career. Or that many French politicians consider he will play an important role in the battle of the presidential elections of 2012.

I respect the influent economist he is, but I am not sure I would like to have him representing my country. A socialist paying five million dollars guarantee deposit, 50,000 dollars a month for his house, crucified in the international press and with a strong reputation of womanizer (in addition to an accusation of rape)? Not exactly what I would call a positive image for the country.

In the U.S., a few pictures in underwear cost former congressman Anthony Weiner his seat. In France, even an alleged rape and heavy past do not seem to be not enough to stop a politician’s career …

UNAMID National Staff – First pictures in a studio

The African Union – United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is currently the largest peacekeeping mission in the world with more than 25’000 staff, civilian, military and police. Among them, almost 3’000 Sudanese, mostly Darfurian. Directly affected by the conflict, they contribute to the Mission’s mandate and try to bring peace and to provide assistance and protection to their compatriots. Unfortunately, they usually occupy lower positions and are frequently not treated with the same respect than international staff.

This project is about showing their background, motivation, contribution and their dreams. This project is an tribute to those men and women who try to bring a brighter future to their family and their country.

National staff for UNAMID

It took me some time and energy to realize this project. It was the first time I was shooting in a studio and it obviously was quite challenging. But the remaining feeling is really positive and I got a lot of fun doing it. Please feel free to contact me if you have any remarks or suggestions.

I now have to think about a big fat project for my master thesis. Yeaah… time’s running.

Hippo rollers

26 April 2011: UNAMID distributes hippo rollers to different households in Kuma Garadayat village, North Darfur. Hippo rollers are large drums that can contain 75 liters of water. Easy to carry, they are an excellent alternative to jerrycans and can be used by women and children. UNAMiD is going to distribute 3000 of these carriers in 8 different villages, in order to improve access to water. Difficult access to water is one of the cause of the Darfurian conflict.[Click on the picture to enlarge it].

Merry Easter

I wish you and all your family a merry Easter and hope to see you very soon, wherever you are in the world.

24 April 2011: Following the referendum on South Sudan independence, many South Sudanese left Darfur and returned to their hometown. Consequently, El Fasher’s Christian community, mostly composed of South Sudanese, lost many of its members. Those who remain gathered today to celebrate Easter in El Fasher’s church. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].