Six degrees south

PhotographerGilles Nicolet
Prize2nd Place in People / Culture
Entry Description

The Swahili culture is one which is markedly distinct owing to the mix between the cultures of Bantu Africa and the theological tenets of Islam. It remains liberal in its philosophy and its proof is everywhere - in the inter-religious marriages, in the unquestioning friendships, in the freedom accorded to all members of society regardless of sex. It is a rich concoction blending hundreds of years of a deeply traditional life and the precepts of faith. With this recent work, I have tried to testify to the unique beauty of this culture and to record it for generations to come.

About Photographer

I am a self-taught photographer who has been living and working in Africa for many years now. I always had a special interest in anthropology and ethnography, something that I hope helps 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. I have also moved away from color photography and now only shoot in 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 photographic journey where I will be looking at the fate of disadvantaged fishing communities the world over.