Entry Title: "Hopes & Despair - Mogadishu"
Name: Eymeric Laurent-Gascoin , France
Category and Expertise: War/Conflict, Non-Professional


Entry Description: In a country, which has known civil war, pillaging, and every kind of violence for almost twenty-five consecutive years, the term ‘status’ is nonexistent. If the lands, villages and houses are devastated, the herds wiped out, the few earthly possessions confiscated; the lives, they have been stolen. Stolen through murder, child military enrollment, rape… And stolen still by exile and separation. Twenty-two years of conflict have shattered the family structure in Somali society. Often broken down by too many ordeals, the women are continually confronted with problems related to primary needs, namely lodging and food. Without resources, in outmost despair and no future in sight, space and time tend to dissipate, even if the latter seems to drag on endlessly. For these women are waiting. They await a homecoming, news, hope. Sometimes, worse still: they await nothing. It is in this context, absent of any social ranking whatsoever, that these images and testimonies rank as timeless icons of fear and suffering; maybe, but all things considered, Life is unquestionably there.

About the Artist:

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…