Rhose 26 | 16 November 2023 | 14:00
Representations of Home Open Seminar
Guillaume Bonn talks to Paula Horta about his most recent work.
Guillaume Bonn is a visual storyteller, born in East Africa, who has for the last 10 years been working on a new book of ideas and provocations on the theme of the environment through the lens of wildlife conservation, its orders and disorders.
His latest project delves into the intricacies of the conflict between man and wildlife in Africa, shedding light on Western influences, the enduring legacies of colonialism, double standards in financial aid, and the underlying disorder within conservation efforts. Moreover, it critiques the financial structures perpetuating chaos in Eastern Africa's conservation landscape. In essence, it aspires to present a nuanced perspective on the current state of affairs and proposes ideals for a more sustainable future.
Guillaume Bonn was born in Madagascar and grew up in the Comoros islands, Djibouti and Kenya.
He is a visual storyteller who has for 25-year been working on conflict, social, and environmental issues in Africa.
He studied Economics and International Politics and graduated from the International Center of Photography in New York. In a world where storytelling is now a universal practice, he distinguishes himself by delving into stories that the world often turns away from, prompting real questions that demand real answers.
For 15 years during the Graydon Carter era, he contributed to Vanity Fair magazine, which was then considered the most prestigious publication and the ultimate achievement for a photographer. Among his numerous contributions to the magazine, he skillfully captured a wide range of stories, from compelling portraits to documenting the regal spectacle of a royal wedding in Jodhpur, meticulously chronicling the profound impact of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, seamlessly immersing himself in the high glamour of Paris Fashion Week, and even risking his life to unveil the complex machinations of Africa’s ivory trade. His work for other media outlets was equally diverse, including breaking the Darfur crisis in Sudan and exposing sexual abuse suffered by children in the Democratic Republic of Congo by UN peacekeepers, for publications like The New York Times.
Bonn’s profound connection to Africa is evident in his personal work, which he describes as ‘artistic with a journalistic soul.’ This connection resonates through his choice of subjects, resulting in images characterized by a consistent commitment to telling diverse stories, with the intention to challenge persistent stereotypical views of the continent. New Yorker Magazine’s Jon Lee Anderson has described him as ‘an archaeologist compelled to seek out and preserve the recent legacy of East Africa; his destiny has been to document the decline of old ways and the natural environment of the continent of his birth.’ He is the author of five books, including Mosquito Coast: Travels from Maputo to Mogadishu, co-directed the Canal+ film documentary Peter Beard: Scrapbooks from Africa and Beyond, and is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.