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Jacques Yvergniaux


Intimate Africas

From that first evening of February 2000, after landing in Bamako, a brutal transition took place, the source of an immense emotional charge. The heat, the people, the noise, the scents… I had just set my feet for the first time on African soil, and I knew right away that I would go back.

My mission is to supervise my students in their end-of-study project. For two weeks, they will carry out maintenance and improvement work on the technical installations of the Sominé Dolo hospital in Mopti. This is an opportunity to create images in immersion, within the population. I discover a new world, I must first observe and feel things. The camera stays in its bag for a while.

The population is mainly Muslim, so photographers are not always welcome. First of all, you have to be accepted. The photographs taken during this first trip remained distant from the human subject. It wasn’t until I turned around a second and then a third time that I felt really comfortable. I was already known and invited everywhere. I then felt fully authorized to photograph.

Since then, the opportunities have not failed. I have carried out more than twenty missions in Africa in a university or associative context. I had the chance to know Africa in its intimacy.

I went to Cameroon on the occasion of monitoring a student on an internship and setting up a collaboration between the IUTs of Douala and Saint-Malo, in Senegal, where I trained teachers in the Polytechnic School of Dakar and surveyed high schools with a view to recruiting Senegalese students for the Breton IUTs. In Gabon, I was recruited as an expert to select candidates for a scholarship from the Gabonese state intended to allow young future graduates to study in France. I also made several trips to Burkina Faso as a volunteer in a humanitarian association. It was a question of carrying out projects in the fields of health, agriculture, education and culture.

These 12 photographs presented in this portfolio are taken from the book

“Intimate Africas” published by Corridor Éléphant editions. About fifteen photographic chronicles are related with short texts and 80 photographs. From this book, an exhibition is in preparation, intended for cultural centers, media libraries and other exhibition venues.

Jacques Yvergniaux

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