Musicalement parlant in Yaounde

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 …


OlivierChassot-Blog-YaoundeBoisEden-0867-305 January 2013: Concert at Bois d’Ebène, Yaoundé, Cameroun. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].

Technology, Progress and Relativity

A bit more than ten years ago, while attending a class at my engineering school, a professor told us that it would soon be possible for a computer to recognize someone’s face in a jpeg picture or to automatically find who is the author of a song. Knowing that the audio CD sales were at their peak, digital camera useless and the iPod still inexistent, that sounded like (exciting) science fiction.


06 April 2012: Holy week procession at Salamanca, Spain. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].

Today, Facebook, iPhoto and many others propose automatic tagging of our pictures and nobody finds surprising that Shazam works even in crowded noisy bars (Gosh… i love it). Of course, in computer science, ten years is an eternity. But I find interesting to, from time to time, try to remember what was “normality” few years ago.

I haven’t seen anyone using a cassette (K7) player or even a Discman (CD player) for a long time now. No pile of CD, batteries or cassettes in the traveler’s bags. MP3 and digital music are part of our life now, and not just as a way to illegally acquire music. I personally haven’t purchased a CD in years (I don’t even have one in my room) but I buy music on iTunes on a monthly basis and only use my computer/iPod.


06 April 2012: Holy week procession at Salamanca, Spain. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].

But while Internet, emails, digital cameras, smart phones and computers seem like normal technology for most of us, many people never got access to it. E.g. I worked in Darfur with a fantastic Ghanaian, who had never used a computer in his life. Copying pictures from a memory stick to a laptop was science fiction to him. Unfortunately, under the current circonstances, his salary will certainly never be high enough to allow him to buy a computer. At home, he has a cassette player. The same cassette player that our children do not recognize anymore

How will it be in 10 years time?


06 April 2012: Holy week procession at Salamanca, Spain. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].

Music in my eyes

Few days ago, in a jazz club in Zurich, I suddenly realized I would love to take picture of a band. I realized how much I miss music and photographing something different than life in Darfur and activities of the Mission. It seems I was heard as I had to cover today a dinner where a live band was playing some great music.

27 June 2011: Concert of Omar Ihsas, famous Sudanese singer, in Khartoum, at the first day of the Darfur International Conference on Water. Seeking $1.5 billion for a six-year series of projects, the Darfur International Conference on Water for Sustainable Peace aims to contribute to peace and reconciliation through the restoration and equitable use of Darfur’s natural resources. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].

Last but very not least … Simon Green, bass

Few years ago, taking an airplane was, in my mind, associated with the notion of travel and packing was a part of the process, one of the last step before discovering a new place. Something exciting.

Today, packing became part of a boring ritual. The content of my bag is always the same and, on the way back, packing only consists in trying to squeeze food and books between my clothes. No excitement, just an automatic process, my mind floating somewhere else.

If I’m with some friends, it’s ok. But usually, I’m alone, left with space to think. Some time to kill, alone, downloading a last album, watching a movie, eating or drinking for the last time  what I won’t be able to touch for weeks or months (and although I am already full). Hours in an hotel room, an airport terminal, train, waiting…

Thinking about me having spent a few days in Switzerland is always like thinking about an half empty glass. Or is it an half full one?

17 June 2011: A., Zurich, Switzerland. The next two pictures were way better. But my iPhone crashed while processing them and deleted them… grrr!

If walking in an airport was a soundtrack, it would be Bonobo, Live at Koko (example). May God bless Bose and its QC 15