Cult of the holy Saints

PhotographerEymeric Laurent-Gascoin
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

It is better to reach Dirree Sheek Huseen on foot, as it is the pace of man and cattle: a rhythm conducive to reflection. To reach this location is to connect with a place of worship and the men and women who live there. It is also a place to come in contact with the 50,000 “pilgrims” who come here twice yearly. The town is named after Sheek Nur Huseen, a legendary and mythical character, around IX century AC, who crossed the country on foot performing all kinds of miracles. His peregrinations came to an end at Diree where he founded a madrasa numbering 6,666 students. "Have they, then, never journeyed about the earth, letting their hearts gain wisdom, and causing their ears to hear? Yet, verily, it is not their eyes that have become blind - but blind have become the hearts that are in their breasts" (Quran 22:46)

About Photographer

I’m a committed, self-taught photographer. Since 2006, I have made many voyages on a personal initiative, as well as humanitarian missions accomplished with MSF, which have opened me up to the world. The reality of the consequences faced by displaced populations in the context of the wars he had to come to grips with, had a profound effect on him. The idea, followed by the desire to capture on film faces, human beings, scenes of everyday life naturally came to be without any kind of premeditation on my part. The option of film, as opposed to numeric photography, quickly became apparent as the best choice. The film approach with its surprises and especially the incapacity to discover immediately the photo are finally illusionary constraints that really give the photographer added freedom. The urge to testify brings me to the people, the women, the children, may they be from Mogadishu, Peshawar, Misrata… displaced, fleeing the combats, the armies or the militia, with a motivation completely free of the kind of ‘sensationalism’ produced by photographing wounded, mutilated bodies arriving at a hospital… Photography is the link between my roots and the destinations that find themselves on my path. I sees a link between people whether they are here, or over there…