A couple is giving a final touch to their sunburn reading a book under the sun while children are playing around the pool. I’m reading my 5th book of this break and my legs are sore, thanks to 3 days walking/bicycling around temples (strangely always hidden on top of a hill with 5 billion steps…). It feels great. I walk and read to compensate all what I haven’t while in Yemen but for once, I don’t do the same with food and drinks (especially with drinks).

After almost 8 years working as a “humanitarian”, these breaks have become a routine, although I keep improving them, detaching myself further and faster of the previous months. I now frequently wake up, not sure of where exactly I am, between Yemen, Djibouti, Sri Lanka, Thailand or somewhere in Europe. But I start missing a routine. A cafe where to read the news or a favorite restaurant with a waiter knowing my name.

Few months ago and for the first time in 8 years, I spent 3 consecutive weeks at the same place, sleeping in the same bed. With a longer break in the coming months, maybe now is finally the time to work on a place I could really call mine.


30 July 2016: Sigirya, Sri Lanka.

P.S: Tomorrow, Nourane will have been missing for 8 months. 8 fucking months…

Lack of dignity

Photography is not random. Good pictures are rarely taken by pure accident. Put a camera in my hands and I usually feel obsessed by photography. I try to find a rare moment, a good light, something different, or something that reminds me something else, another picture, another ambiance or atmosphere. And I set my camera to get what I want, what I think would give me what I want.

25 July 2014: Cruise on the Bosphorus, next to Istanbul, Turkey.

The result is rarely exactly matching my expectations and even when it looks ok, I remain anxious till I can see it in front of my computer. Most of the time, I am not really satisfied or even not satisfied at all. But when I feel I got something nice, then I feel happy, in peace with myself and quickly want to get a second one, like a drug addict.

Those pictures are my pictures, my babies, my testimony of life around me. Even if I am the only one looking at them or appreciating them.

24 July 2014: Ghulane Park, Istanbul, Turkey.

Few weeks ago, a Swiss Magazine, Migros, selected one of my pictures, already published here on my blog, for a photo competition on the subject “Dignity despite suffering”. I was first happy to have the opportunity of sharing it with a larger audience than my blog, and to hopefully have people looking at life in Central African Republic a bit differently.

But once published online, I instantly realized that it had not only been processed (exposure changed, to make it brighter) but also cropped. My picture was not random. Before I took it, I first saw a moment that inspired me, that I wanted to share. Then, I moved to find the right angle, composition and light. And finally, I waited, till the mother turned her head, till the children in the background stopped waving at me. I wanted a unique moment and, for once, I got it. But Migros made it more random, by breaking the symmetry, composition and brightness of my picture, without even informing me or asking for my authorization. I contacted them three times to ask them to revert it to its original version or to, at least,  give me an explanation. I am still waiting…

Keeping my picture as it had been taken would not have cost them anything, not even time. And lets by honest, I do not consider that retouching it changed, in one way or another, my chance of winning (or losing). But it just seems that, despite their “prestigious jury” (…), Migros, as many others before them, does not see photographies as the result of a work or some reflexions, but just as someone pressing the button of an automatic random camera. Something without value, that they can modify however they feel like and make their. Sad… and I’m not sure to see any dignity in it.