Stories of people, stories of place

The focus of the photography mentoring here in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where we’ve just finished the fourth module of Twenty Ten’s journalism training, has been on storytelling, rather than merely the technical aspects of the craft.
Gilles Coulon and Michael Zumstein poured their hearts and souls into imparting as much of their knowledge in this area to the participants as possible. They certainly had me laughing as they frantically directed their charges via cellphone while we watched Saturday’s rather unimpressive Malawi vs Burkina game. But the results that have come from this week of training have impressed none more so than the African photographers themselves.
Two Senegalese participants chose to tell very different stories. Harouna Traore focused on the stadium itself, allowing his camera to capture a full day’s action, from dawn to dusk, rather than merely the few short hours in which the stadium is filled with people.


Aliou Mbaye, on the other hand, described his story with one simple French word: ‘Force’. His pictures of everyday street football flesh that story out incredibly powerfully, and certainly illustrate every synonym I found when I asked Google to translate that title into English: “strength, force, power, potency, impetus, muscle, sinew, tuck, might.”