Tag Archives: peace

Do a good photo deed for young women in Burundi


Buy a photographic print and give 50% to the woman’s education and family. Here is why and how!

Let me introduce to you Alberthine – “Tina” – Ndayishimiye  who was born in 1991. She studies communication at the Lac Tanganyika University in Bujumbura, the capital of tiny, beautiful Burundi. I met her for the first time this summer and there are now 9 photos of her on my photo homepage.

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Tina # 4, Bujumbura, Burundi 2012
© Jan Oberg 2012

Tina is a very proud personality. She studies with diligence and finances her life by working evenings at a hotel reception. She is smart – no one has ever asked me so many and good questions about photography and business. She has not done photography before but as you’ll see right away she is stunning – with natural beauty, expressive face and a fine ability to just be herself and forget that I am there. Thus she is so easy to work with.

Why Burundi?
Many people don’t know where this little country is. It is south of Rwanda and one of the countries at the huge Lake Tanganyika. I’ve worked in Burundi since 1999 to promote reconciliation and peace after the genocide in the 1990s with non-governmental organizations (particularly two youth organizations), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a private university.
During longer stays I spend my spare time with eight female university students and a group of former street boys. We go to places, take pictures and learn a lot about each other. And we laugh a lot.

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Tina # 9, Bujumbura, Burundi 2012
© Jan Oberg 2012

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Burundi Beauty

I’ve worked in Burundi since 1999 to promote reconciliation and peace after the genocide in the 1990s – with non-governmental organizations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a private university.

During longer stays I spend my spare time with eight female university students and a group of former street boys. We go to places, take pictures and learn a lot about each other. And we laugh a lot!

Here is Cynthia Ndongozi, a student of medicine born in 1986. She stood in the doorway of a simple hut in the countryside, torrential rains from dark clouds on an otherwise blue skye. Thus the blue lips.

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Cynthia # 3, Bujumbura, Burundi  (2010)
© Jan Oberg

Most of the young women have no experience of being photographed. I ask them to decide the place, their clothes, make-up, if any, and how they want to appear and express themselves. The moment I – a muzungu = white man – would begin to tell them what to do and how to act, the natural beauty and spontaneity would be gone. I don’t like “models”, coolness and surface. I try to portray human beings in a natural way.

I take pictures in Burundi – also other people, villages, and the incredibly beautiful landscape – to show the strength and pride of people I meet. I seek to promote counter-images to the typical Western image of Africa as a lost, dark, hopeless continent. War, corruption, AIDS and poverty only makes up a fraction of today’s African reality.

Many foreign photographers pay those they take pictures of a one-time honorarium and may then sell their works at many times that honorarium in a fashionable gallery back home. I don’t; I think that’s a colonial attitude, not fair trade. We have a contract that entitles each to get 50 percent of what I sell. Thus I hope to make a small contribution towards their study fees and get them attracted to do business instead of just become a housewife in a society with a lot of sexual violence.

Here is Cynthia’s sister, Fiona. She studies business management – a modern city girl with a mobile phone in her hand. Oh what contrasts!

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Fiona # 1, Bujumbura, Burundi  (2010)
© Jan Oberg

A camera is so much more than a tool for depicting reality. Sometimes it’s a bridge between people and cultures. Perhaps even a tool for peace…

“Cynthia # 3” & “Fiona # 1” Bujumbura, Burundi  (2010)
Inkjet print on Canson fine arts paper.
Formats & prices (excl postage) each:
A5 (148 × 210 mm) – Edition unlimited, 20 US$
A4 (210 × 297 mm) – Edition 50, US$ 115
A3+ (329 x 483 mm) – Edition 25, US$ 225
A1 (610 x 910 mm) – Edition 10, US$ 750
Signed and numbered.
Comes with print authenticity documentation
Can also be printed on canvas or steel, copper, etc.

Information/Order: janoberg@mac.com

Other photos from Burundi at
http://www.obergphotographics.com

Best
Jan Oberg

Lund, Sweden
June 1, 2012

"Between War and Peace" at my gallery

So happy that I opened my 7th exhibition yesterday with a dear friend’s photos…Sören Sommelius, cultural editor at Helsingborgs Daily and TFF Associate since 20+ years back. 62 images making up “Between War and Peace”. It’s been such a delightful co-operation and it’s his first photo exhibition ever.

More than 75 friends, family and connoisseurs came, so positive, so appreciative.

Sören and I spoke for a few minutes two times during the opening – emphasizing the need for counter-images to all those of violence thrown at us all day long.

One of the guests, a professional photographer, wrote – “Unfortunately, today there are few photographers who place fellow human beings worldwide and their conditions in focus. That’s why Sören’s images hit me straight in my heart.”

Here is the poster! Do come! It is Vegagatan 25, Lund, Sweden – and we are open anytime but by appointment only on +46 – (0)738 – 52 52 00…my iPhone.

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Working on "Between War & Peace" by S??ren Sommelius

How do I prepare a new exhibtion? What does it take?What’s the process toward some kind of good presentation and how does it strengthen our social relations and friendship?

Not everyone, I assume, who visits a photo gallery – or any other gallery for that matter – has a firm idea about the work that goes into producing a good exhibition.

The process of planning and decision-making has many aspects – such as the artist choosing what to show and “killing a few darlings”, then comes processing the pictures, printing them, framing them, hanging them and producing a catalogue, discussing price setting etc. It’s quite a job with – as in this case – 62 pieces that make up my next show with photos by my friend Sören Sommelius.

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