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Behind our lens: A moment on hold in Tangassogo

In the “Behind the Lens” category, the stories behind the lens of our cameras are highlighted. Very often, a lot happens when you capture a moment, whether it is around you or in your mind. The purpose of this section is to create a little more depth. Today we are pleased to feature an article written by Lise Labdant, creator of Good Morning Voyage. Not only do her photographs make you want to travel, but her writing takes you on an imaginary journey. Therefore, it seemed obvious to us to invite her to appear in this section of our blog.

Welcome to Burkina Faso.

Behind our lens - A moment on hold in Tangassogo - Good Morning Voyage - Guest post

A moment on hold in Tangassogo

I pull back the striped curtain and I am blinded by a stream of bright light. I grope my way out of the darkness of the hut and return to the open and warm air. Outside, women have installed pottery and carved objects at the edge of the traditional houses.

We are in Tangassogo. It has been 3 days since we arrived in Burkina Faso and drove on the dusty tracks of the south.

First glimpse of the red and green world of West Africa.

My dream has come true, I am in Africa. Not exactly the Africa I discovered in the books of Joseph Kessel and Ernest Hemingway, but there it is, in front of me, the dreamt and authentic Africa.

Under the burning sun, we observe the handicrafts deployed for us in the middle of the village and listen to the explanations of Arnaud, our thoughtful guide.

A bit apart, separated by a smooth and sinuous low wall, two young girls get settled. The smaller one sits in front of the other one. She bends her head. I approach, I wonder what they are doing.

In the background, I get pieces of conversation between Arnaud and the others. But I find myself in a different time frame. I’ve extracted myself from the visit. I am drawn entirely into this red and black setting where the brown floor extends into walls decorated with geometric patterns, protective symbols, or illustrations of daily life.

Two rings on her ears throw golden lightning in my direction.

The youngest is staring at the ground, her fuchsia dress like candy. I remember seeing earlier this same fabric floating in the alleys and disappearing as we approached. Matching bracelets tinkle delicately on her wrist. On her legs, long twisted black threads are waiting to be intertwisted.

With skilled fingers, short, dense hair turns into a regular, tight braid on which the sun shines with silver highlights. She raises her head and her dark, grave eyes stare at me.

I look at them.

They look at me.

The three of us are intimidated.

Using gestures I ask them if I can photograph them. They nod.

I try to find the best angle, the one that will highlight them and underline the singular architecture of their village. I like to make portraits of the people I meet in their own environment. Trying to tell their particular story, slipping in clues from their everyday life.

They stop their movements. I shoot twice. I know the picture is here. I lower my camera.

I show them the image on the screen. I regret not having brought my Polaroid to give them a souvenir. They smile. We look at each other smiling. They start their activity again.

I would like to exchange more than a picture with them but I don’t dare to cross the curved wall that separates our two worlds. They are calling me, I must join the others. My bubble bursts. Life resumes its course in Tangassogo.

We hope you enjoyed this article and allowed you to get away for a few minutes. You can find here all of the stories behind the lens of our cameras here.

written by Lise Labdant in collaboration with Paulyne

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  1. This was beautiful and a treat to read 🙂

    1. Thank you!

  2. Such a beautiful story and an experience I’m sure you won’t forget. One of my favorite parts of traveling is interacting with locals, even if we don’t speak the same language, it’s a pure and respectful exchange that always makes my day. Very nicely written and a lovely picture

    1. Totally agree, and it’s often the moment you always remember, even years later. That’s what makes traveling beautiful. All the credits go to @goodmorningvoyage 🙂

  3. Okay, one of my favorite things is hearing the stories behind certain photographs, so I LOVE this post!

    1. That’s cool! We will try to share more of those stories then 😉

  4. wow, such a nice story. It really makes me want to discover Burkina Faso as well

    1. Nice! That is one of the goals of the “behind our lens” articles 🙂

  5. The article literally got me away for a few minutes!! It’s written so beautifully with such details that I could visualize the entire scenario. And the picture so captivating!! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! @goodmorningvoyage is indeed a talented writer!

  6. I loved this post. You succeeded in taking me to this village. I love how you captured that moment in time and your vivid description of your encounter. I found myself constantly scrolling back up to the photo to look at it in detail and find the many descriptive nuances that you allude to throughout the story. Lovely!

    1. Glad to hear that @goodmorningvoyage managed to take you to this place with her beautiful words 🙂 Thank you for your comment!

  7. I love this. The main reason we travel is to show our daughter the world. We love interacting and experiencing the locals and the cultures. Beautifully written!

    1. Your daughter is so lucky, it’s great that you can do that 🙂 Written by @goodmorningvoyage, if you want to visit her blog or Instagram 🙂