A VIEW OF THE WORLD THROUGH MY CAMERA LENS

Portrait

Portraits of Congo – Mole refugee camp

Children in Mole refugee camp in the town of Zongo, DR Congo (DRC), March 2014. Probably most of these children have seem more violence than you can imagine. If your are not familiar with the level of cruelty during the conflict in Central African Republic, I can tell you that some of the refugees who escaped in DRC have told stories of hundreds of hacked bodies and body parts stacked in churches and mosques ( Google knows everything, just try it. Or check out The War Across The River ).
Looking at these children’s faces, one can only wonder how some of them still have a smile on their face and a light of hope in their eyes.

Mole refugee camp

Mole refugee camp

Mole refugee camp

Mole refugee camp


Portraits of Congo

Portraits of Congo

While walking around the small town of Libenge in DR Congo, I saw this kid standing there on his own, not bothered by the noise around him (as I remember there were few kids playing around), busy with his thoughts an the piece of wood (or whatever was that) that kept his hands occupied .

Portraits of Congo

While my colleagues were buying all the bottled water and biscuits from a shop in the local market, these boys were trying to get my attention to be my models for that short moment. The honesty of their joy when I showed them the photo touched me. I still remember it like it was yesterday.

Portraits of Congo

This young girl looked like she was walking with a purpose and not just taking whom I presume was her brother, out for a late afternoon leisure walk. I smiled but she didn’t smile back and we both just carried on.


Portraits of Congo

Portraits of Congo

Two amazing smiles.

Both children live in Boyabu refugee camp, near the town of Libenge in Sud-Ubangi District in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were thousands found refuge after fleeing the violence in Central African Republic.

These smiling faces can only make you think how little it takes to make them happy and the huge contrast between their world and ours. We could do so much more to help and yet we choose to remain ignorant.

Portraits of Congo


Portraits of Congo

Portraits of Congo

These are two of my favorite images I was lucky enough to capture on a trip to DR Congo earlier this year. On the first one, while listening to heartbreaking stories from refugees that fled the violence in Central African Republic and learning from my good friend and writer Azad Essa on how an interview should be conducted (honored to have had the chance to tag along with him), this kid was staring at me through a poorly built fence. I recognized his face as he was curiously following us for couple of hours or so.

The second image was shot in the same location, a small street in a town called Zongo located in Sud-Ubangi District in Équateur Province in the northwestern part of the DR Congo. I stepped away to enjoy a much needed smoke and a short break from the sadness of the stories heard through the day, and this child was just laying there on the tree trunk. He made eye contact with me but didn’t move a muscle – he just sat there. I still wonder what he was thinking about.

Portraits of Congo


O zi in Bucuresti

O zi in Bucuresti

Trebuie sa recunosc ca niciodata nu am vizitat cu adevarat Bucurestiul. Am mai trecut prin mareata capitala, ca tot provincialul, o zi – doua, pe ici pe colo, pe la localuri frumoase pline de oameni veseli care fac viata sa para usoara. Nu am zabovit niciodata mai mult, sa pot simti pulsul strazii, sa cunosc bucuresteanul sau sa ma plimb pe bulevarde. Am mai auzit de la romanii intalniti prin peripetiile mele in lume cum ca acolo e adevarata inima a tarii, ca in Bucuresti se intampla “lucruri”, ca este un oras deosebit.

M-am bucurat cand s-a ivit ocazia sa petrec patru zile in “Micul Paris”, doar cu aparatul foto in mana si nu prea multe de facut decat sa ajut la efortul colectiv de a toci asfaltul troatuarelor si de a casca ochii la minunatiile vazute inainte numai la televizor si prin videoclipuri de manelisti pe care, curios din fire, le-am mai gasit pe World Wide Web.
Am avut norocul sa prind weekendul in care avea loc, in piata Universitatii, primul campionatul European de Baschet 3 la 3. Lume multa, de toate culorile, tineri si batrani, au venit sa sustina echipa Romaniei care a ajuns sa castige finala si sa devina campioana europeana. A fost o seara frumoasa si aventura mea a inceput promitator.

O zi in Bucuresti

A doua zi de dimineata mi-am propus sa-mi gasesc un loc destul de comfortabil cat sa pot petrece macar vreo 4-5 ore sa fotografiez bucurestenii si sa surprind acea esenta a strazii de care auzisem ca ar fi deosebita.
Si nu am fost dezamagit. Deosebita intr-adevar.

O zi in Bucuresti

Chiar in piata Universitatii, un simbol al democratiei romanesti, privirea mi-a fost lovita de arta contemporana aruncata pe pereti si cativa vanzatori (cu atitudine din clasicul bazar) de carti mai vechi, multe de pe vremea lui nea Nicu. Din cand in cand, cate o persoana, probabil melancolica, se mai oprea si arunca o privire la cartile cu file ingalbenite de necitit.

O zi in Bucuresti

Nu mi-a fost greu sa gasesc si elementul clasic de compozitie al Romaniei post-decembriste. De acum nelipsitii oameni ai strazii, cei fara casa si masa, cu voie sau fara de voie, se bucurau cu mine de o pauza si-mi faceau concurenta la privit concetatenii misunand pe bulevard.

O zi in Bucuresti

O zi in Bucuresti

De teama sa nu cad in cliseul dramei, m-am hotarat sa ma asez la o terasa, un “Irish Pub”, pe undeva pe langa calea Victoriei, sa imi indrept obiectivul spre clasa de mijloc a celor ce-si vedeau de viata de zi cu zi. Doua ospatarite, una blonda si una creata, zambitoare din calea afara, s-au oferit politicoase sa-mi fie la dispozitie atat cat le permite serviciul, pe perioada sederii mele. Iau o cafea si un hamburger romanesc sa-mi dea puterea sa imi continui proiectul.

O zi in Bucuresti

O zi in Bucuresti

Am descoperit aceleasi fete triste, capete plecate si oameni preocupati de ziua de maine, fiinte chinuite de viata in capitala, la doi pasi de acei lideri politici – oameni educati ce nu se rusineaza sa-si etaleze limbajul de mahala pe scarile celei mai mari cladiri civile din lume (cum spune Wikipedia), vestita Casa a Poporului.

O zi in Bucuresti

O zi in Bucuresti

Si uite asa, dupa mai mult de 12 ani in care am petrecut in Romania doar vacante scurte in oraselul natal si prin niste locuri mai turistice de la munte, am reusit sa vizitez Bucurestiul in cautarea acelui spirit deosebit al capitalei care deseori este aruncat cu mandrie in ochii lumii; am descoperit insa pereti murdari cu arta bolnava, oameni tristi si obositi , taximetristi jurand ca au sa iasa in strada daca cei de sus mai fura si care la randul lor ma roaga sa nu le cer chitanta sa mai bage si ei un leu in plus in buzunar.

O zi in Bucuresti

Ca fotograf, nu am fost dezamagit de tragedia si saracia de pe strazile Romaniei. Grimasele si ridurile, cersetorii si mizeria fac fotografii dramatice si aduc multe like-uri pe Facebook.

O zi in Bucuresti

O zi in Bucuresti

Ca roman, am fost dezamagit caci aceasta experienta care a inceput incurajator, pina la urma mi-a adus aminte de vestitele cuvinte ale lui Paler – “Imi iubesc tara atunci cand nu ma uit la televizor si cand nu merg pe strada”. M-a intristat ca nu ne asumam responsabilitatea ca natiune pentru ceea ce a ajuns Romania dupa 24 de ani de democratie. E comfortabil sa dam vina pe functionarul public care ia mita, pe primarul care fura, pe doctorul care cere sau pe deputatul corupt. Insa uitam cu usurinta ca ei sunt rezultatul societatii la ale carei disfunctionalitati contribuim cu totii caci vrem sa mai bagam un ban in plus in buzunar.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,042 other followers