Behind the Lens
Kinshasa can be dangerous. How did you protect yourself?
The city is impressive and chaotic, but it’s not more dangerous than most big cities. Of course, you have to be with people who know their way around and who can vouch for you. I made sure the police and information ministry knew what I was doing, so that they could help me stay safe. If you come back several times, they start to know you and give you enough space to work.
How did you get people to trust you?
It’s difficult, but it can be very simple. You have to explain to people exactly what you want and what kind of story you want to tell. When people realize you know your topic, usually you find someone who wants to help.
Was it hard to take candid photos when your skin made you stand out?
During the three trips I made for the story, I never saw another white man in the street. I didn’t face any discrimination, but a white man shooting pictures makes it hard to be discreet. Because of that, I couldn’t stay somewhere too long, or people would start to wonder what I was doing. It required time and patience.