I am a self-taught photographer who has been living and working in Africa for nearly 35 years now, with long stays in Somalia, Mali, Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, and Tanzania. I started out as an agricultural engineer but became a full-time professional photographer in 1992. I have since shot numerous stories for all sorts of magazines, including the Sunday Times Magazine, National Geographic, the Smithsonian, GEO and Paris-Match.
I have always had a special interest in anthropology and ethnography, something that - I hope - has helped me capture the essence of my subjects. In the past most of my stories where about rare traditions that somehow linked man and wildlife, but Africa has changed a lot in the last few decades and unfortunately most of these traditions have now disappeared. My recent work has therefore been more personal and contemplative and less focused on narrative picture stories aimed at magazines. In fact, today my interest lies in the convergence between art and documentary photography. I have also moved away from color photography and now only shoot black and white.
I am presently working on a book on the Swahili Coast - a unique physical, historical and cultural entity that runs from Southern Somalia all the way to Mozambique.
This current work is but the first leg of a long photographic journey where I will be looking at the fate of disadvantaged fishing communities the world over. Next stops: Peru and India.
For more on my work please visit my website at www.gillesnicolet.com