Pêcheurs de nuit is a photographic work featuring the populations whose livelihood depends on fishing in Lake Chad, one of the last great lakes of Africa, which today is threatened with pollution and dwindling water levels. I visited the lake several times in 2010 and photographed by night in order to portray the faces of these traditional fishermen at work. My work is composed of portraits, scenes from daily life and fragments of the body, feet and hands. It involves several generations of fishermen captured in their daily environments. I spent long hours with them by night, when their only light source is the torches they use to light their working hours. This was how I wanted to photograph them, to give their faces a strange allure, an allure of mystery, their features blurred and their movements evocative.
Through this gallery of portraits and nocturnal atmospheres, I sought to depict the fragile existence of these fishermen and the threats to their livelihoods and ancestral fishing techniques. I myself feel very affected by the dangers they confront, not to mention the broader importance of preserving Lake Chad, a soft water reserve essential for Chad, my country, and for the whole of the African continent. Through this theme, I have set out to show how it is possible for man to live with dignity within a preserved natural environment. The photographs are a prelude to promoting a collective awareness that is both crucial and urgent: vital spaces such as Lake Chad are already very fragile and are being constantly undermined.
Abdoulaye Barry (Tchad)
Pêcheurs de nuit
Curator: Laura Serani