Recently in Africa Photo Books Category

Sending books to Burkina Faso

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Un livre sur la vie de Marie Curie

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Hema Writes

Ecrite par Françoise Giroud, cette biographie nous éclaire un tant soit peu sur la vie « simple » de cette grande femme de génie du XX ème siècle. Un amour passionné pour la science et une volonté sans relâche de participer au progrès de l'humanité. Une femme qui a atteint les sommets, qui a été couronnée à deux reprises du prix Nobel de Physique et de Chimie mais une femme qui est restée égale à elle-même.  Marie Curie par ses travaux (découverte du radium) dont les applications thérapeutiques et médicales ont sauvé des vies, surtout pendant la première guerre mondiale restera pour les générations actuelles et futures un modèle de renoncement, de désintéressement et de dévouement profond pour le progrès scientifique. Elle repose actuellement au Panthéon auprès de son époux Pierre Curie et marquera à jamais l'humanité. 

Local history foto books...

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Thanks to a generous grant from Rotary International, FAVL will be developing more local-oriented books that inspire people to read more and create more.  Our local partner Rotary Club in Burkina Faso is the Ouagadougou Savane club.

One of our first projects is  to soon publish a photo book using text and photos from Koura Bemave, a retired soldier in the village of Bereba (and our own FAVL representative Koura Donkoui's father!).  Bemave, now 81, was in the French Army in the 1950s and kept a wonderful small collection of photos from his years of service.  He has agreed to share these with the community of readers in the villages, and we will soon be printing copies for each of the libraries.  For now we thought we would share one the fotos, of Bemave in Mauritania sitting on top of a crate of mortar shells! 

Bemave jeune obus mortier.jpg

Yesterday Sunnyvale Rotarian Charlie Wasser sprung the good news on me!  Rotary international has approved our proposal to work with Rotary Club of Ouagadougou- Savane to establish a "media center" in the town of Houndé that will work with local village populations to produce microbooks in the region.  The grant is for $35,000 over five years.

The books will be about subjects of interest to village readers, be authored by people in the villagers, and be "produced" by the FAVL team in the region.  We are looking forward to producing microbooks of stories from the various ethnic groups in the region, village histories, family histories, school story contests, photography books of local festivals and important events, and basically anything that our team comes up with that will likely be of interest to readers!

Some examples of the photography books FAVL has been producing are here as our fastpencil website.  We are looking forward to starting to work on the project!  Thanks especially to Charlie Wasser and the whole Sunnyvale Rotary Club, and other district-level Rotarians who worked hard to make this happen!

New Book : Festival des Masques

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Festival des Masque is an annual event of masks  in Burkina Faso. Scott Worthington who is Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso did a lot of great shots during the last edition of this popular event. Scot has contacted FAVL team to discuss the possibility of making a photos' book for libraries, with the pictures he has taken. And this is the result:

festival_des_masques_cover_front cover.jpg

New Book: Moringa!!

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Elisée wrote:

This is FAVL new mico-book. The text and the photos are from Alison Wallace and Christopher Davis, two peace corps volunteer in Burkina Faso. This is a excellent book about the moringa, a multiple-purpose plant used in Burkina Faso. The book titled Làbàɲu is in bwamu language translated in french. Coming soon the moore-french and the jula-french versions. Here is some of the wonderful pictures from the book now available on fastpencil.



David Pace photo show in Burlingame, California

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DavidPacePhoto.jpgPhotographer David Pace has spent a lot of time in Bereba village in Burkina Faso, and knows the FAVL libraries in the region inside out.  He has a new series of "Friday night dance" fotos, and will have a show at the Mercy Center in Burlingame until the end of June. There will be a reception and talk on Saturday afternoon, 2-4pm, June 2. Be there!!!!

Translators without Borders

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Although I feel like this article very much simplifies the reasons behind behavioral change to "something being lost in translation" when aid is only delivered in elite languages, it is definitely a very important consideration that if oftentimes not addressed in projects. A lot of people in villages here in Burkina don't understand French, and it's very important to spread messages of the importance of health care, education and development in both the official language of a country and it's many local languages. Thus, Translators Without Borders is taking on a very noble and difficult (tiny Burkina alone has over 65 different languages spoken within its borders) task. It's a task that FAVL also participate in, especially with our various photo books that are in French/Dioula and in Dioula. This helps spread literacy and important messages of education amongst even those who are not literate in French.    

Photography in Burkina Faso

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Daylight Magazine just posted an interview with FAVL friend David Pace about his photographs from Burkina Faso, on their online blog. An excerpt:

Yet another challenge involved working with Santa Clara University, where I teach photography, to develop a study abroad program. After my third trip, one of my colleagues at the University suggested that we propose a study abroad program in Burkina Faso. Our proposal was accepted. We became co-directors of "Reading West Africa" and we began to learn about the challenges (and joys) of bringing a group of college students to a developing nation for a semester. We took our first cohort of students in the fall of 2009 and the second in the fall of 2010. This allowed me to spend three months in Burkina Faso each year. I had already become a familiar sight in the village, but by 2009 Bereba began to feel like home.

It was during this period that I began to attend the weekly Friday night dances at Le Cotonnier with my friends from the village. We drank warm beer and danced all night under the stars. Other than the generator that powers the music, there's no electricity and no light - a challenge for any photographer! I began to experiment with flash, dancing while I was shooting, and rarely looking through the viewfinder. This was not a "project": it was my life in the village. Boundaries collapsed: I made photographs as a participant rather than an observer. The element of chance became an integral part of the process since I never knew what images I was going to get.

Interview with David Pace Winner, Daylight/CDS Photo Awards Work-in-Process Prize.  The full interview is here.  Very interesting.  Great photos.  Look carefully... in one of them a guy is wearing a typical full-on Barack Obama shirt!

The images in Friday Night seem formally quite different from your other work, such as Re: Collections, or even the series Kiosks and Market Day from Burkina Faso. Would you agree?

You are quite right that the images in Friday Night are different from my other work. I am by nature very formal in my approach to composition. I favor simplicity and symmetry in an attempt to foreground my subjects, whether they are people or objects, and emphasize their similarities and differences. This is clear in the Re: Collections project and in the Kiosks portfolio. Both are classic typologies in the tradition of August Sander and the Bechers. I think my African portraits fall into this category as well.

But I also like to experiment with the element of chance and challenge myself to move outside my comfort zone. That is what is behind Friday Night. I am literally shooting in the dark. I can see my primary subjects dimly, but the background of each image is unseen until my flash fires. Everyone is in constant motion, including myself, so every image is a surprise. The juxtaposition of contorted bodies, hands and feet, shadows and expressions is not something one can predict.

Another thing that distinguishes Friday Night from my other work is that I am an active participant in the process rather than an objective observer. I am caught up in the music, moving and sweating alongside the other dancers, reacting and interacting. This was not possible the first two or three times I visited Bereba. I had to get to know the villagers and earn their trust. I now feel very much at home in the village and an insider at the dance. Everyone expects me to make photographs and they are delighted with the results. I should add that I take back and distribute all the images that I make on each subsequent trip. I have more than 500 prints that I'll be handing out when I visit Bereba in December.
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Books, reading, and libraries relevant to Africa by Michael Kevane, co-Director of FAVL and economist at Santa Clara University.

Other contributors include Kate Parry, FAVL-East Africa director, FAVL Burkina Faso representative Koura Donkoui, FAVL Burkina Faso program manager Krystle Nanema, and FAVL friends Emilie Crofton and Elisee Sare.

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