Amazing Africa

A vivid overview of Africa by Pascal Maitre, a photojournalist who photographs issues such as desertification, economic grown, and daily life:

Since then, Mr. Maitre has maintained a home base in Paris and spends roughly half of each year on assignment in Africa. Recently, in collaboration with Unesco and Edition Lammerhuber, he published “Amazing Africa,” a collection of photographs that span more than three decades in sub-Saharan Africa. To flip through the pages of “Amazing Africa” is to embark on a visual caravan. On one page, a woman walks beneath a row of towering baobab trees in Madagascar (Slide 8); on another, a group of horsemen is caught amid a sandstorm in Chad; on another, children bathe in an oil-slicked river in Nigeria (above).

via An African Journey –


12 thoughts on “Amazing Africa”

  1. Despite the erroneous perspective of many regarding the current economic situation of many countries in Africa, it is important to address that Africa is close to the ten fastest-growing economies and its improvement during the past years has been amazing. Countries such as Ghana and Botswana has attracted investors and many other countries are looking for big economic opportunities. There is evidence that many countries in Africa are prospering. The pictures that Pascal Maitre have taken are amazing and I am sure they reflect part of the culture and situation in Africa but we cannot stay in pictures of the continent we need to go beyond and analyze the way many countries are improving.

  2. I absolutely love looking at photographs of life in different countries. The “Big Picture” on releases a collection of photos from Afghanistan and Iraq monthly and the images evoke so much emotion. I believe photos can be so much more powerful than words, especially these photos of Africa. Pictures such as these remind us that life is quite different in other countries compared to the United States and that we should be grateful for the abundance and comforts we enjoy in this country.

    Here’s the link to There are many amazing photo albums on this website detailing life and conflicts in different countries.

  3. It’s great to look at these and see how life progresses in these countries who we believe are helpless and without hope. It’s great to see how they still move on and carry out education and daily life despite the many challenges which they face, like extreme poverty and oppressing governments. There is hope, and I love what the first comment said, that Africa was close to the top ten fastest growing economies, because these pictures in a way grasp that fact. However, it still is in very poor conditions for the people. It really does show us how grateful we should be for the things we have and how poorly we use our liberties. The following is a link showing the situation in Africa.

  4. This photography is amazing and offers insight into what Africa has been and can become. Sara’s previous statements of the potential of the African economy are very true. Although growth is slow, the modernization necessary to improve the continent cannot be completed in a decade or even two. The African Progress Panel and other agencies are hard at work finding methods to improve Africa, namely by using its resources it already has access to. Not only does Africa have the potential to feed its 239 million hungry people but also feed people around the world. Although this is easier said than done, and outdated agricultural processes must be replaced with modern systems, the plan offers hope for a better Africa who can assist the international world.

  5. The old adage is so true, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. I think it is important to not only hear about the world but to see it. Since travel is not always possible for everyone photographs can be a beautiful representation of life elsewhere. Africa is of particular interest with so many things going on there including: civil wars, economic growth, urbanization in some areas, and even militant forces are represented. Becoming more aware of situations can help to continue improving lives. Millennium Development Goals may even see increased success with people better understanding situations abroad.

    I particularly enjoy the website as it provides the latest headlines from all over Africa and provides insight to what is changing there.

  6. The photo I found most interesting was the one with the young women getting married in a refugee camp. I noticed that they were wearing very western-style wedding clothes which would imply that western states have a fair amount of soft power in Africa. While one may argue that soft power is a good thing, I would hate for the African culture to be replaced by that. There has been a lot of discussion regarding China’s recent presence in Africa and what kind of potential influence they will have as well. There are many states in Africa that have such potential; I truly hope they develop and become successful but still retain their cultural identity as well.

  7. This was definitely eye-opening to me. In the mock sessions of MUN, I have been representing the African nation of Chad. It’s easy to get caught up in the facts, figures, and policies when participating in MUN. I would read through the UN website, voting records, and news sites to try to extract their position on issues. All the while, the people living there were just a number, an intangible entity I was attempting to represent. These photos really struck me and made me wonder, “Who am I representing? Policies or people?”

    That isn’t to say the skills we learn in MUN aren’t valuable and important. They have helped me to become a better communicator and student (great resource for MUN skills: It’s just easy to forget the human side of MUN, which sometimes gets brushed aside because what we’re doing doesn’t actually cause action or affect anything in the long run. So even though the resolutions we pass do not translate into international law, we still need to keep in mind the people. I do not want to be just a delegate from Chad. I want to be a true representative.

  8. Photography increases awareness. Nothing tells such a focused and powerful story as a photograph. For example, I remember when I came across some photos of the aftermath in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It has a huge effect on my personal stance on the situation and also on the stance of American citizens. Culture can be changed by the stories that photograph tell so well and especially so truthfully.
    Here is a link to a webs site with some of the photos that I mentioned. As you look at them, ask yourself how you perspectives has changed.

  9. The dilemma of Africa is not one easily solved. Desertification is a problem in its own right as arable land becomes more and more scarce. Small tribal communities must face the wrath of climate change, government policies, and the destructive influences of tourism and exploitation. Additionally as the region faces heavy population growth, these problems will only worse as resources are strained further. To aid Africa it is very important that we start now to help the people there develop their infrastructure in order to support this growing population. The problem with most organizations aimed at helping Africa out of their poverty is that those organizations attempt to have Africa do things the Western way. Often the procedures taught to the African people are not long-term solutions because the Africans do not understand their use or implementation. In order to really positively impact Africa, we need steady long-term plans for infrastructure and economic growth focusing on education and the development of life-long skills. The BYU programs that go to Africa often focus on creating sustainable solutions to Africa’s problems by providing children with education and communities with the means to provide sustainable education.

  10. The arts (like music or photography) can be used as an avenue to break all cultural and language barriers. The arts can communicate messages across all the globe to create change.
    For example, this is a photography named Steven James Collings who conducts a traveling Gallery of over 40 (always expanding) images that travel across the USA raising awareness about their cause. Their images educate on all aspects of Modern Slavery to include Sex Trafficking, Debt Bondage, and Child Soldiers. Additionally they also spotlight current activists to bring light to their contributions and the challenges they are working to resolve.

    Collings stated, “Our philosophy of “Photography for Global Change” is based in the idea that an Image is the Gateway of Awareness. Our talent lies in the ability to produce artistic images that grab people’s attention and make them want to read on and understand the image.”


  11. Being from Mexico, people often assume that my country is simply sombreros and mud huts (no one in M UN would be as ignorant as to assume that of course). I know that many Africans I’ve encountered feel that same way about how their entire continent is viewed. We still imagine them as living in straw shacks in the middle of the desert.
    I agree with Sara about the emerging economies in Africa and how we pay little attention to them. The world may not realize it, but it is a place to visit and a thriving market.
    Since a picture tells a thousand words, I included a picture of Nairobi. Imagine how much travel and interest in Africa would spur if the polis could realize that it is a fully modern continent.

  12. One aspect of this piece that I thought was particularly interesting was Maitre’s use of a “fixer.” Similar to how a fixer provides the circumstances for Maitre’s photos, through his photographs, Maitre provides the lens through which we see Africa. In international diplomacy, there are many perspectives. I then ask myself if there is a correct perspective to view the world? What would the photo look like if one of the girls at communion took the picture? Similarly, in our discussion of world problems, perhaps we should take the time to see the world through different perspectives and not just the ones given to us. Hopefully this will generate innovative solutions and a greater appreciation for the interests of others.

    Here is a video from a National Geographic video on being creative and taking the risk of seeing things from a different perspective to find a better answer:

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