Portraits in Mozambique and Swaziland

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In June 2015 I had the opportunity to visit Mozambique and Swaziland. While I was impressed by the wildlife and the breathtaking landscapes it was foremost the people that conquered my heart. Taking this series of portraits led me to an entirely new experience, a sort of collaboration with the subject.

The school children in Swaziland were at first hesitant but enormously curious of me and my camera. Curiosity won them over as they first explored my hands, inside – out, touched my hair and then were fascinated with my camera. I showed them how it worked and through this interaction we connected. This gave them the confidence which allowed me to take their portraits. These photographs were not staged but were taken spontaneously. I was able to capture their playfulness, kindness, curiosity, and innocence as they were telling me about their lives, hopes and dreams.*
In Mozambique I found that people were either very afraid of my camera and would hide at the mere sight it or they were cautiously curious. Here it was much harder to find a basis of trust for the collaborative process. For the most part, the portraits taken in Mozambique show the subjects engaged in their work, games or taking a moment to relax. Despite our brief encounters, when we looked eye in eye, I found that at this moment they fully trusted me and opened up to show who they were. It was my wish to portray their character and personality with respect and affection.
*The children’s names have been changed to protect their privacy.