Day 16~ April 16th~ Congo

depth

Some images print themselves in our minds and on our hearts because they affect us beyond the surface of visual impression. They go deep, they etch a mark on our soul…

If you were to ask me what moment in my journey to Congo was the most haunting, I would say this one when I took this photograph. This child was one of the youngest in the center for demobilized child soldiers. He never spoke, he just stood there and let his eyes that stared without blinking, the scar on his chin and his cloud of melancholy speak for him. His gaze was steady, his look far but near, his mind unreadable. It was a child who spent far too much time in the playground of the lords of war and cruelty.

Day 7~ March 7th~ Egypt

That child I met in Egypt

Like so many other developing countries, many children in Egypt have to work to make a living. On my journey to Egypt I met and communicated with so many children and for some reason, it is these encounters that stayed alive in me till today. Children’s eyes can tell it how it is, the truth. Their gaze is penetrating and they are able to establish a connection with you and to tell you stories without words.

Going through my archive of slides and film, I saw this photograph and despite the 15 years that passed since the day I took it, I felt as though I was there now, locking eyes with this boy, seeing him stare in defiance at my lens, and remembering how later he broke into a wide smile when he realized I spoke his language.

Maybe the reason we love photography so much is the fact that it can encapsulate a memory, to store a moment in time with all that surrounded it, in the same way that a statue can, or a painting, or a work of art. One thing I am sure about: when I looked at this photograph, the Egypt journey came alive in me. I wonder where this boy who sold trinkets is now…