Spain.

This is not about work

“Why don’t you write more about your work?”. The question is not new and the answer always remains the same: I do not share details of my work. Yes, ICRC made me adhere to a code of conduct, “encouraging” me to avoid posting stories on the organisation’s activities without its approval. And yes, a big part of my work involves confidential aspects (meetings with interlocutors from all sides, visits in detention, ….). But honestly, it only plays a secondary role in my decision.

The truth is simply that this blog is not about ICRC, the countries I am working in or the atrocities I might be witnessing. This blog is about sharing pictures, coupled with some stupid anecdotes or, from to time to time, more serious thoughts on general subjects. While people enjoy reading poetry, cooking or practicing yoga after work, I love photography. And as it currently is not my main activity anymore, this blog a good excuse for me to keep shooting and challenging myself.

I am not against the idea of talking about some parts of my work or Afghanistan. You will just have to invite me for a drink or dinner :-). But if you can’t wait or currently live a bit too far for that, some talented people, with more skills and knowledge than me, should already be in a position to help you. Start by having a look at the Afghanistan Analysts Network or keep an eye on The New York Times, who frequently has interesting articles.

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31 August 2014: Barcelona’s streets, Spain.

A book on my work in Darfur and particularly in Abu Shouk internally displaced persons camp is finally available on Blurb, in two different versions:

It’s a strange feeling to finally see the result of more than two months of hard work and to be aware that I can’t change or add anything now. It is also a bit frustrating to realize that I haven’t taken any decent picture since.

But now that I have a few months before starting my new job (more about that later), maybe it is a good opportunity to travel a bit and to work on a new project. But weirdly, for the first time since… ages, I don’t want to hit the road and would prefer to live for a few weeks at the same place. So if you know someone (association, organisation, school, private, etc…) who could be interested to use my skills (computer science, photography and public relation/communication) in South America (so than I can practice/improve my Spanish), let me know asap. Thanks!

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17 May 2012: Somewhere in the Saône-et-Loire department, France (thanks Bro 😉 )

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01 May 2012: Sitges, next to Barcelona, Spain.

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.

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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.

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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?

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

I miss the night. Walking in the dark and observing life, or its absence, all around me. Listening to the silence or my music. Just walking, without a goal or a map. Just being connected with the place I am, and with myself.

I miss you …

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3 April 2012: Plaza Mayor, Salamanca, Castile and León, Spain.

Maybe it’s time for me to go back to the field…