Invited by the International Festival of Graffiti in Dakar with two french artists, we've walked in Dakar for three weeks to find some walls to paint on (but I did not want to show this part of the trip in those pictures). The amazing light of April, the iridescent and vivid colors you can see everywhere opposed to the pales tones of handmade breeze blocks, surrounding you everywhere you go in the city, were totally inspiring for us. In a country where no one is in a hurry, far from the frenetic speed of our European cities. This journey in Africa was about taking time. The use of two analog cameras was the only choice I could have. Every single picture is a long pause, suspended in time.
As we’ve spent a whole afternoon painting on a rooftop, this young boy, sitting on a table, stayed there for hours looking at us. There was something fascinating about him. The boy was not moving at all. I did not talk to him, because I did not want to disturb him. Ten minutes later, he was still here, like a statue, lost in his thoughts. Once he finally looked at me and smiled a little bit, I knew I could shoot him. I left the rooftop and he was still there, in the same position, smiling.
Shooting with heavy analog cameras forces me to work slowly. For my first trip in Africa, this constraint was not one anymore. It was a relief. For years, I’ve left the city alone to shoot nature mostly. But for once, even if I was in a city where the nature has mostly disappeared, the important thing is that I was meeting people who told me to take time. Time to talk, time to meet people, time to enjoy the fact of doing nothing. Everything I was planning would never happen when I’d decide to, and at the end of the day, all my plans would have changed. Creating unknown situations and unexpected pictures.
︎ Pedro Richardo