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Visa pour l’Image 2020 / ESJ PRO : A contrasting Africa in the lens of Japanese Chiba


Bring the “invisible” to the fore. Is it because Japanese photographer Yasuyoshi Chiba has lived and worked in Africa for over ten years? Between the generosity of colors, the diversity of subjects and the emotion that emerges from them, it is impossible to remain indifferent to the photos exhibited at Visa pour Image.

Pascal Kober, photojournalist, came to the festival on Monday. We meet him at the end of the Chiba Africa exhibition. “This Japanese artist’s outlook on Africa is unusual, yet very powerful. “This is the kind of work that appeals to him. To use Chiba’s words in the introduction to his exhibit, “Capturing something slightly different, an atypical scene that could easily go unnoticed. ”

“The artist does not fall into miserability”

“He explores a very broad field, that of the African continent. The angle of attack is relevant and impactful. ” Hélen and Pierre, a couple from the Toulon region, looked for a long time at photos of Maasai warriors in Kenya, of Nigerian children with rudimentary toys or the sea bathing of a local soccer team in the Seychelles. “His photos are beneficial and speak to the heart and to reason, believes Thierry, a regular at Visa. They should challenge our view of rich Westerners. “However, ‘the artist does not fall for miserability, remarks another couple, visibly upset by the exhibition. This power effect is reinforced by the fact that he does not have an outside look. You feel like he’s part of the subject he’s photographing. ”

A strong life in tough places

“This is a testament to real life,” continues Pascal Kober, “the opposite of what one sees on social media. “A little further on, two enthusiasts add:” We see very strong impulses for life, in places that are hard to live in. There is this man, with the panicked gaze, whose car is on fire. Or this man, prostrate in a corner, surrounded by human bones. Yet there are also bright moments of joy. It’s beautiful, and a little frustrating, because we would like to know more about the artist and the context in which he photographed those frozen moments. Unlike in previous years, the public cannot meet the photographers at the exhibition venues.

The context, Yasuyoshi Chiba talks about in the presentation of his exhibition. “As I moved to Kenya, all of the tenets I took for granted as a Japanese just fell apart. “While for him the job has allowed him to discover new things,” Africa gave me the perfect learning ground to become a whole new photographer. ”

Yann Douyere and Audrey Duquenne


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