The French freelance photographer Camille Lepage was killed on May 13th, 2014 in Central African Republic. Wilfrid Esteve, journalist and teacher told us some of their last match.
To my two friends, I say
At the gate of the night:
If we have to dream
Let it be like us…
I’m going to miss our correspondence terribly.
Your doubts, your questioning, your determination, your honesty, your kindness and your professionalism have moved me ever since our first meeting.
I feel like I know some of your weaknesses, among them not being comfortable approaching a stranger and taking pictures of him….I think it’s absolutely normal but I could never get past this fear anywhere else than in the Nuba Mountains where people are so welcoming.
Your friend Virginie [Nguyen Hoang] introduced us last May. Despite all your questions, and your backpack which seemed to hold your entire life within it, your maturity and your professionalism made us forget that you were a young woman of 25. You rationalized your move to Juba in South Sudan and your desire to work in the Central African Republic.
[…] Why South Sudan? The country is so often seen as doomed, but I’m trying to identify the obstacles it faces but also what it has accomplished, this nation which has somehow forged a true national identity.
I’m also interested in the conflicts raging in Sudan, which can only be accessed from the south. The civilians are the first victims. The Khartoum government has forbidden all humanitarian aid to these regions. My job is to bring visibility, now almost non-existent, to this neglected humanitarian crisis and the daily lives of civilians, but also to help others understand what is at stake in these fights, whether it’s a matter of religion, ethnicity or the environment.
For me, moving to Juba is a personal and professional ideal: giving people a deeper understanding of this part of the world, covering neglected areas and bringing back images of these ignored—almost forgotten—areas.
You were anything but a hot-head. Deserting the news for documentaries and a focusing on a long-term, in-depth work. In ten months you managed to make a name for yourself and publish your pictures in the biggest magazines. And all that despite a very complex context.
Right now it’s too dangerous to travel, so I’m working with Daniels, Terjmann, Dock and Zumstein… There are no cars on the streets except those with armed men and a few from the media.
I have a plan to leave with the Anti-Balak, whom I know, but there’s no way to travel safely for now I’m staying put…
Thank you, Wilfrid, for your advice. I’ll keep you posted!
I’m thinking back on the way you would rant.
“Could you take the photos I’ve just posted on Facebook and Twitter and share them on social networks. With the death of Mandela, nobody’s interested in the CAR even though it’s a massacre: hundreds of people were killed in the past day… and it’s really necessary that everyone know about it.”
And to the good memories.
Sorry for the lack of news. I’m letting myself take a little vacation before heading back to the CAR. But I wanted to tell you that Hans Lucas just won a POY with one of my photos 🙂
As you can imagine, I’m super happy!
Kisses to everyone and see you soon!
I’m still in the US. I’m having lots of meetings and it’s going very well. I saw JFL, who really loved what I’m doing. He’s going to do a screening of my work, and I’m going to see him again in June to give him the rest of my work, so it’s great news!
There you have it!
See you soon!
That’s how you liked to talk… Today, journalists around the world are in mourning. And they’re angry, too. Especially the freelancers out on the front line.
Tonight I’m writing you my second mail since Sunday and I’m not expecting an answer. If I try to tell you that life will go on, it’s dishonest and I know it. I’ll never read you again and I know it.