Alain-Licari: Guest photographer 2023
I was born in France, lived in Spain for a few years and worked in New York from 2015 to 2020. Since September 2020, I share my time between Guinea and France.
A self-taught photographer, I am inspired by humanist and social photography in black and white, and more particularly by great masters such as Raymond Depardon, Sebastiao Salgado, Mary Hellen Mark, Dorothy Lange and Eugène Smith.
My photographic work revolves around people and communities who live on the margins of society or whose daily lives can take on a universal value. I immerse myself as closely as possible to them, sharing long moments together; I observe and seek the right distance to then relay these stories that question current events and our lifestyles.
My photographic approach is close to that of a documentary, in that I take the time to produce my series and return regularly to the places I have previously photographed. This allows me to delve deeper into a subject, exploring it from different angles and observing its evolution over time. But I also strive to produce aesthetically pleasing photography, paying particular attention to framing and composition, often inspired by the cinema.
The scent of gold and blood. Guinea’s gold panners
“We come from the four corners of Guinea, Mali, Burkina and Senegal as well. There are thousands of us in the mine; in search of a better life, we are scraping clay and cracking stone, which is backbreaking work. Thousands of us surrender our bodies, our lives to this earth that could forever swallow us up at any moment or enrich us for life – Inch’Allah”.
Through artisanal gold mining in Guinea, my series “L’odeur de l’or et du sang” (The scent of gold and blood) takes stock of a tragic situation, both for people and for nature. For these families, gold panning is the only means of subsistence. They pay dearly – often with their lives – for a dream of riches that will probably never come true. But the cost is also ecological: Guinea has one of the world’s fastest rates of deforestation. The environmental devastation and human cost are unfolding right before our eyes, and it’s not going to stop any time soon. The demands of empty bellies that must be filled cannot be ignored; the technological appetites from the developed countries must be satisfied.
The situation is complex, and responsibilities are shared. But the facts are clear: the forest and mankind do not have a bright future ahead of them.