Monday, September 30, 2013

Ethiopia: Danakil Depression Salt Lake

Ethiopia. Salt Lake Karum at dusk could be mistaken for an Arctic waste. But it lies at the heart of the Danakil Depression, possibly the world’s hottest region.

Ethiopie. Crépuscule sur le lac Karum, une étendue de sel qui peut rappeler un désert arctique. Mais il s’étire au cœur de la dépression Danakil, peut-être la région la plus chaude du monde.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Colombia: Rural Scene In The Cauca Valley

Colombia. Near Bugalagrande, a small Cauca Valley town,  a boy pushes his bicycle at dusk.

Colombie. Près de Bugalagrande, ,une petite ville de la Vallée du Cauca, un garçon pousse son vélo au crépuscule.

Colombia:Typical Rural Scene

Colombia. Florida, a small Cauca Valley town. Boys drinking from soda bottles bought at the grocery shop behind them, a typical scene.

Colombie. Florida, un gros village de la Vallée du Cauca. Garçons buvant de bouteilles de boisson gazeuse achetées à l’épicerie de campagne derrière eux. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Brazilian Amazon Forest : Yanomami Girl

Brazil. Amazon rain forest. Yanomami Indian girl.
Brésil. Amazonie. Petite indienne Yanomami.

Brazil: Yanomami Indian Drying Poison On Arrow Heads

Brazil. In the Amazon rain forest a Yanomami Indian is drying over a fire the vegetal poison he smeared his arrow heads with.  A wad of chewing tobacco distends his lower lip.

Brésil. En Amazonie un indien Yanomami sèche au-dessus d’un feu le poison végétal dont Il vient d’enduire ses pointes de  flèches. Une chique de tabac distend sa lèvre inférieure.

Niger: How A Thunderstorm Disturbed a Wodaabe Dance In The Sahel

Niger:  A sudden downpour during a Gerewol dance festival in the Sahel sent Wodaabe women and children running under under plastic sheets and a straw mat.

Niger : Une averse soudaine, interrompant  une dance du festival Gerewol au Sahel, fit courir femmes et enfants Wodaabe  se réfugier sous  une toile cirée, une feuille de plastique et une natte.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Niger: Wodaabe Man Portrait

In Niger’s Sahel a Wodaabe (Bororo/Fulani) man painted himself to perform in a Yakey dance, which is also a male beauty contest.
Dans la région sahélienne du Niger un homme Wodaabe (Bororo/Peul) s’est peint le visage pour danser le Yakey, qui est a la fois un concours de beauté masculine.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Moose Attack In Yellowstone National Park

In 1969 I showed my photographic portfolio to the editor of Clipper, the Pan American Airlines’ magazine. Displayed in it were my pictures of several African adventures I had lived working on National Geographic stories. They inspired him to assign me to a story he asked me to title: “A European Looks at the Wild West.” (I’m from Belgium). And so I flew to Wyoming and Montana to photograph Cowboys and Indians, ghost towns, fantastic landscapes, and wildlife.
     One day, in Yellowstone National Park, I saw from my car a group of tourists photographing a moose from a great distance. Why don’t they get closer? I asked myself.  Because they are not photographers, of course.  I knew better, and so I got out of the car and walked all the way to within two steps of the animal.
     Foolish as I was, I figured I had nothing to fear from an herbivore. It examined me with suspicion, but let me take some pictures and walk away.
     I had gone some 50 paces towards my car when I heard a noise behind me. Turning around I saw the moose coming at me at a gallop—way too fast for me to escape running.
      Automatically, for I had been attacked by mad dogs before, I faced it holding my camera bag at arm’s length. Seconds later, as the moose was at touching distance, I swung the bag into its face while jumping sideways. A stone in my way made me fall backward instead, just as the moose continued right over me. I leaped back on my feet, ready for the next onslaught
     But there was none. The moose stopped 15 paces away, turned around, and stared at me as if wondering what to do next. But it just stood there, unable perhaps to make up its mind. So, giving the moose plenty of space this time, I walked back to my car.


En 1969,  chez l’éditeur de  Clipper, le magazine de la Pan American, une compagnie d’aviation, je lui ai montré les  photos des aventures africaines que j’avais vécues en reportages pour le magazine National Geographic. Cela l’inspira à m’envoyer  au Wyoming et  au Montana pour en ramener un article qu’il me pria de titrer A European Looks At The Wild West—Regard d’un Européen sur l’Ouest sauvage (je suis belge). J’y ai donc photographié des cowboys, des Indiens, des villes fantômes, des paysages fantastiques et des animaux sauvages.
     Un jour, au Parc National de Yellowstone, j’aperçus de ma voiture un groupe de touristes qui photographiait un élan de très loin. Pourquoi ne s’approchent-ils pas ? me demandai-je. Mais ils n’étaient pas photographes et je ferais beaucoup mieux.  Je sortis donc de la voiture et marchai jusqu’à pouvoir regarder l’animal dans les yeux. Idiot que j’étais, je me disais que je n’avais rien à craindre d’un herbivore. Et malgré un regard malveillant il me laissa prendre plusieurs photos et m’en retourner tranquillement.
     Je m’étais déjà éloigné d’une cinquantaine de mètres quand j’entendis un bruit derrière moi. Me retournant, je vis l’élan foncer au galop dans ma  direction. Il était beaucoup trop rapide pour lui échapper.                           
     Automatiquement, car j’avais l’expérience d’attaques de chiens,  je lui fis face, mon bras droit étendu de côté, ma sacoche photo suspendue de la main comme une muleta de matador.
      Quelques secondes plus tard, quand l’animal allait me renverser, je lui lançai la sacoche à la tête sans en lâcher la courroie et allais sauter de côté. Mais une pierre coinça l’un de mes pieds et me fit basculer en arrière. Sans s’arrêter, l’élan passa au-dessus de moi, s’arrêta à une quinzaine  de mètres, se retourna et me fixa des yeux. Prêt à une nouvelle charge, je m’étais  déjà relevé.
     Mais l’élan, qui ne me lâchait pas des yeux, semblait ne pas pouvoir décider son prochain pas. Je n’attendis pas sa décision et repris ma marche, cette fois à  une distance prudente de l’élan.

Kids Are Colorblind. Isn't That Wisdom?

When, in 1956, in what was then the Belgian Congo, I prepared to photograph the little Congolese boy, his little Danish friend, sitting on his old tricycle, volunteered to pose him for me.

Quand, en 1956, au Congo belge comme on connaissait ce pays, je me préparai a photographier le petit Congolais, son petit ami danois, assis sur son vieux tricycle, décida m’aider a le poser.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Indonesia: Toraja Ancestors Cult

Indonesia. Sulawesi. Toraja mausoleum. Effigies of dead ancestors look out of a cliff balcony over the village that saw them grow up.
Indonésie. Sulawesi. Mausolée Toraja. Des effigies d’ancêtres haut perchées sur une falaise dominent le village qui les a vus grandir.

Same mausoleum. Coffins hide in rock-hewn niches behind small doors.

Même mausolée. Les petites portes de niches taillées dans la roche cachent des cercueils.

Same mausoleum. Ancient coffins were removed from their niches to make place for new ones. Irreverent children aligned the sculls as a game.
Même mausolée. D’anciens cercueils ont été retirés pour faire place à des nouveaux. Des enfants irrévérencieux se sont amusés à les aligner.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Travels In The Marquesas Islands

Ua Pu Island
Ile de Ua Pou

Travels in the Marquesas Islands

Hereafter is another extract of the chapter I wrote for the 1982 National Geographic book, Secret Corners of the World,  I posted the first extract on this blog on August 1, 2013.

I must leave Tahuata by speedboat--the taxi of the Marquesas today ­to catch the weekly plane from Atuona to Ua Pu, next island on my route. In July, unfortunately, the sea is rough on any day, and often worse. The speedboat trip takes only an hour, but over the mad billows of the Bordelais Channel, a narrow corridor between Tahuata and Hiva Oa. Here waters that have gained unchallenged speed in their long race from South America must suddenly meet waves surging back from the coasts.
The waves heave us up and drop us and drench us.
The pilot speeds up to avoid the biggest ones and slows down as we drop in seemingly bottom­less hollows. Sometimes he cannot muster enough power from his motor to pull us over these mountains of water; he must veer horizontally below the crest. Off Teaehoa Point he almost loses control of the boat. Coming from every direction, the waves toss it about like a nutshell and almost swamp it twice. If the motor fails, they will break us on the rocks, for the pilot runs close inshore. Marquesans do this to limit the swimming distance in case of shipwreck--thus increasing the risk of capsizing. But soon we are in normal sea again. Heavy, but predictable, sea.
     With volcanic towers, pinnacles, and spires, Ua Pu emerges from sea and clouds like a fairy castle. No forests shroud its valleys, for it lies in the rain shadow of its sister islands, but it will provide incidents as varied as those of a folk tale.
     On the landing strip, a young man in a jeep radios to the French pilot the speed of the wind, often too strong for landing. Then he drives up and down the strip to keep 23 horses off of it. He takes me down to the village of Hakahau, where his mother, a sturdy matron called Rosalie, will give me pension--room and board.
     She serves the meals at one end of a large terrace, by a big color TV set that attracts thirty or forty viewers every night. At the other end stands a small altar, with two statuettes of the Virgin Mary garlanded with flowers and shells. Here at 6 a. m. the family prays for half an hour each morning.
     Every house in Hakahau seems to display such a shrine. So strong is Roman Catholicism in the Marquesas that some have called this group "the Spain of Polynesia," and in Ua Pu the French priest is especially active.
     Now Hakahau is preparing for Bastille Day. Four wooden structures are rising next to the town hall, to house restaurants and a ballroom.
     Taporo II, a sailing vessel, arrives and stirs a burst of excitement. A dinghy shuttle runs to the quay, where a jeep shuttle takes over: canned goods, wine, soap, a bicycle-all the necessities of modern life. Then the jeep brings copra for the schooner to take to market. A French couple tell me that if two or even three schooners arrive at the same time, a mad competition for copra begins. Rumors are spread, destinations become secret, and passengers are accepted for one island when the boat will go to another.
     Bastille Day comes at last. As I sit eating dinner, a man who has already celebrated freely comes up shouting that he wants a word with the stranger. Rosalie rebukes him. He insists. She fends him off. He comes back. I am amused, but Rosalie loses patience. She strides up to him, lifts him in her strong arms, carries him to the street, and dumps him on his face. The TV viewers cheer. I think it tactful to slip away.
      As I stroll down to the town hall, another drunk approaches me.
     "You look German," he says. "Heil Hitler! Could you then explain to me what Hitler meant by 'To be or not to be'?"                                                                                                
I tell him that he has his authors mixed up, and leave him cogitating.
     Inside the ballroom, colored lights and blaring American music seem to make the girls shyer than ever. They refuse to leave their benches; the boys, undaunted, dance together. Outside, children and dogs enjoy themselves tremendously. The children are fascinated by the glitter, the unusual festivity. The dogs sniff the air eagerly; I watch four of them nibble at the meat of a brochette vendor absorbed by the dancers' antics. By ten o'clock even the girls are dancing. More people are coming in all the time. And everyone, generally so distant, greets me with surprising warmth. It seems appropriate, on this fairy-tale castle of an island, that people should throw off their deep reserve for one night in the year.

This young woman interrupted her cooking to greet me
Cette jeune femme interrompit sa cuisine pour me saluer

Trimming a hat this young woman wove from pandanus leaves

jeune femme Finissant un chapeau de paille de pandanus qu’elle a tissé

Shopkeeper ironing a man’s shirt
Epicière repassant une chemise d’homme

Pulling baguettes out of a stone oven. They are as good as any in Paris. And so are those I ate in several French West African countries. Why can’t America produce any worth the name?

Retirant des baguettes d’un four de pierre.

Finishing a mat she wove from pandanus leaves
Finissant une natte qu’elle a tissée de feuilles de pandanus

Hakau Bay. Weighing bags of copra that will be loaded on a visiting schooner.
Baie d’Hakau. Pesant du copra a charger sur un voilier de passage.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

South Africa: Sculptural Zulu Girls

In 1957, while crossing Africa lengthwise on a Vespa scooter, I came across those two sculptural young Zulu women on their way to the enthronization of a new Zulu king. I was using a Belgian Gevaert film. My battered camera had seen Saharan sandstorms and was scratching my film. I was still a few years away from starting to live from my photography.
En 1957, traversant l’Afrique à Vespa de Tanger au Cap de Bonne-Espérance, j’ai photographié ces deux jeunes filles zoulous en chemin pour l’intronisation d’un nouveau roi zoulou. J’employais un film Gevaert, produit en Belgique. Ma caméra, qui avait vu des tempêtes de sable au Sahara griffait mes films. Mais je ne vivais pas encore de ma photographie.

Colombia: Gnat-Protected Coffee Picker

Not a terrorist. Only a coffee picker protected against gnats as he is starting to work. Colombia near Sevilla (Cauca Valley).

Pas un terroriste. Seulement un cueilleur de café protégé des piqûres d’insectes. Colombie près de Sevilla (Vallée du Cauca).