Gabon has been going through a severe political, economic and social crisis since the beginning of September 2016 following the presidential elections that happened in August 2016. Ever since then, the portrayal of Gabon in international news outlets has not necessarily been the most positive one, understandably so given the way the presidential elections have been mishandled since the beginning of the operations and how badly things have been going since.
These photos of Gabon, its people and its landscapes, highlight the beauty of the place and the warmth of the people. During what has been the most difficult time for our country by far, I thought that sharing these photos would be a way to communicate a more positive image of the country and to show the true beauty of Gabon and its people.
As a Gabonese photographer, it is important for me to represent my homeland and my people as accurately as I can. It is therefore important for me to both highlight the good much like the bad things that have been happening in the country in order to start a conversation in order to move people’s views and mindsets forward.
Despite having been controlled by an oppressive political regime for 50 years now, Gabonese people remain strong, resilient and proud of their roots. The photos therefore try to capture this as well as the beauty and diversity of their home.
This photo highlights the beauty of Gabon’s nature and landscapes. Being rich in both forests and different kinds of bodies of water, many Gabonese landscapes are a result of the symbiotic union of the two resulting in a breathtaking scenery.
This photo, in addition to the beautiful Gabonese sunset, represents to me the many people working in the streets of Libreville, very often unnoticed by others. Given the lack of infrastructure and opportunities given to the general population (especially those from a lower-income class) many resort to being street vendors in Libreville and other Gabonese cities. The lack of opportunities means that strength, resilience and the will to persevere and make ends meet by any means necessary remains a common characteristic for many.
The pier of Ambowe is the place where all fishermen gather to sell what is considered by many to be the best fish in the city. But despite the place’s reputation, many people there live in unacceptable conditions, very often with no running water and relying on the water of the river to do basic things like washing pots. But because fishing is the only way many people there can make a living, it is impossible for them to relocate. Many of them therefore have to rely on themselves and other people from the community in a country where the government does not necessarily tend to the needs of this demographic.
Beach football is a favorite past time for many young Gabonese. Given the lack of public parks and other infrastructures dedicated to the entertainment of the younger generation, one of the easiest way and most fulfilling ways to entertain themselves is with football.
Pointe Denis is a favorite destinations for locals and foreigners. It is considered a resort allowing them to escape the city life by some and by others it is considered as a home as well as sacred grounds. This peninsula is located right across from Gabon’s capital Libreville. Named after the local king, King Denis Rapotchombo, Pointe Denis offers its beautiful beaches and etheral sceneries.
This is one of my favorite photos because of how well I think it captures the beauty of the Gabonese sunset, one of my favorite things about the place.
Portrait of a young girl taken in a village near Libreville.
This photo also shows both the beauty of the environment but also a very common activity practiced by many young Gabonese people.