A honey hunter is all smiles after selling his day'’s harvest to one of my field team members in a village near Moramanga in Madagascar - early in 2014. As is the custom in the area he sipped a little honey directly from the bottle that he was selling to show that it was his honey and not stolen from others - but my friend buying was horrified to see him do that. She probably expected him to pour a bit on his hand or on the lid. This was his laugh in the aftermath of that ‘‘incident’’ that I wanted to capture.
This old gentleman was one of the respondents in my field study of agroforestry system in Northern Ghana during 2007-2008. After my field assistant finished interviewing him, he went inside his hut and came out with this hat. He wanted me to take his picture with the hat on. He told me (via my local assistant) that he once worked in the goldmine in the south of the country, as well as in local artisanal mines in the north. This hat was the only remaining item from his time as a miner. I took this photo in October 2007.
I don't speak English
Fresh new portrait from my last field site. While we were waiting for our interviewee, this young man started talking to me, in English. His first word was Hello, and then he said in a perfectly good English “Sorry I do not know how to talk in English”. First, I was surprised to find someone in the village speaking to me in English, but when he said in perfect English that he doesn'’t speak the language, I just couldn’t stop myself blurting “I’m so glad I just understood your French perfectly” - my colleague starting laughing out loud but this poor young man didn’t get my silly joke so looked even more confused. Just then I asked him if I could take a picture of him, and here is the result.
On my last field visit to a village called Sahakana, the village headman, whose compound we were staying in, offered me some oil palm fruit. It was the day before our departure date and he asked one of his sons to cut one large bunch of the palm fruit and asked me to photograph it - for he seemed fascinated by digital images that you could see instantly after capture. Once the bunch was lowered down to the ground, he started removing some fruits, which I thought was just to show me, only to realise later that he was preparing to offer me some. He said I could easily extract oil from them. I asked if it was possible to just eat the fruit. He said he would get them roasted, that'’s how they eat the fruit. In all the hurriedness to leave, I never got to taste the roasted oil palm fruit unfortunately.
I took this picture in July 2007 during one of my field stays in Ghana. I was on a trip to north-western part of Ghana to assess a potential study site, and had to stay at a small settlement called Tuna along the Bole-Wa road. We stayed at a guest house that had no electricity, but with all the necessary wirings, ready to be connected to the grid, and had been waiting for electricity supply for the past 12 years at that time (hopefully they are connected to the grid now)! The main feature of this guest house as far as I was concerned was this watchman. He had this incredible wise-old-man look in his face, and was always very serious (just what a watchman should be), and I did not see him smile the two days I was there. At least he let me take a few shots, for which I am forever grateful as this is one of my all time favourites among the portraits that I have taken in Ghana.