Congo in Conversation
Photograph by Finbarr O’Reilly for Fondation Carmignac
Congo in Conversation is an innovative collaborative chronicle that addresses the human, social, and ecological challenges that the Democratic Republic of Congo faces today.
The global health crisis and the urgent need to hear African voices testifying to local realities prompted Finbarr O’Reilly, laureate of the 11th edition of the Carmignac Photojournalism Award, as well as the award team to create Congo in Conversation, a collaborative online photo essay, produced in close conjunction with Congolese journalists and photographers.
Health, confinement, the informal economy, artistic production, business, difficulties with access to water, as well as attacks by armed militias, human rights abuses, and the environment—by detailing the often cruel realities and the gigantic challenges facing the Congo, these photo essays sketch out the country’s present and future with tangible proof, powerful images, and prudent optimism. The contributing reporters, based in several places in the vast territory, are the representatives of a new generation which aspires to enact change in a country exploited, plundered, and oppressed for so long.
This collaborative photo essay gives us a picture as diverse and nuanced as life in the DRC, exposing the unprecedented crisis from many perspectives.
Featuring: Arlette Bashizi, Dieudonné Dirole, Justin Makangara, Guerchom Ndebo, Finbarr O’Reilly, Raissa Karama Rwizibuka, Moses Sawasawa, Pamela Tulizo, Ley Uwera, Bernadette Vivuya
About The Artists
Arlette Bashizi is a freelance photographer based in Goma covering music, culture, and daily life. She is a member of the @collectifgomaoeil and the Congo Women’s Photographers Network.
Dieudonne Dirole (Dio) is a Congolese photographer based in Bunia. He started photography in 2015 when his country was experiencing serious human rights violations. He has been arrested several times and threatened by the authorities, but continues to document events in the DRC.
Justin Makangara is an independent photojournalist and blogger based in Kinshasa. His work focuses on underreported stories surrounding social justice, politics, music, and daily life. He is a member of the African Photojournalism Database (APJD), and is a VII Academy scholarship recipient.
Guerchom Ndebo is an artist, photographer, and director who is passionate about images. He uses photography to communicate his concerns on complex subjects and to stimulate reflection on contemporary issues. At the heart of his artistic approach, the concepts of equality, cultural differences, solidarity, and decadence collide.
Finbarr O’Reilly is an independent photographer and multimedia journalist, and the author of the nonfiction memoir, “Shooting Ghosts: A U.S. Marine, a Combat Photographer, and Their Journey Back from War” (Penguin Random House 2017). For 12 years, O’Reilly lived in West and Central Africa, and has spent two decades covering conflicts in Congo, Chad, Sudan, Afghanistan, Libya, and Gaza. He is the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize exhibition photographer and a frequent contributor to the New York Times. His photography and multimedia work has earned numerous industry honors, including first place in the portraits category at the 2019 World Press Photo Awards. He was also winner of the World Press Photo of the Year in 2006, and earned a 2020 Emmy for the PBS Frontline documentary “Ebola in Congo.” O’Reilly is also a Canon Ambassador.
Moses Sawasawa is a freelance photographer based in Goma, covering humanitarian issues, culture, health, and daily life. He is the cofounder of @collectifgomaoeil, which promotes positive images of Congo.
Raissa Karama Rwizibuka is a 23-year-old Congolese photographer and contributor to the @kitoko_oyo project of @focuscongo, who lives in Bukavu in the South Kivu province. Nature, art, and cultural diversity are her passions. She wants to portray another image of African and Congolese youth through photography.
Pamela Tulizo is a documentary photographer and artist based in Goma. Her work focuses on social issues and the representation of women in her community. She is motivated and inspired by her personal story—where her family and community did not accept her as a photographer, as they believed it was a man’s job. She is a contributor to Agence France-Presse.
Ley Uwera is an independent Goma-based photojournalist and reporter with BBC in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She has a degree in journalism from the Université de Cepromad. She reports on conflict and documents the social and cultural evolution of the eastern part of the continent, with a focus on the Congo. Uwera is a contributor to Everyday Africa and is a member of the International Women’s Media Foundation.
Bernadette Vivuya is a journalist and filmmaker based in Goma, DRC. She reports on issues related to human rights, the environment, and the exploitation of raw materials—bearing witness to the resilience of the people in this conflict-affected region.
About The Organization
In 2009, while media and photojournalism faced an unprecedented crisis, Édouard Carmignac created the Carmignac Photojournalism Award to support photographers in the field. Directed by Emeric Glayse, it annually funds the production of an investigative photo reportage on human rights violations, as well as environmental and geostrategic issues in the world.
Selected by an international jury, the laureate receives a €50,000 grant, enabling them to carry out in-depth research in the field, with logistical support from Fondation Carmignac. The latter presents a traveling exhibition and the publication of a monograph upon their return.
Previous editions have focused on Gaza (Kai Wiedenhöfer), Pashtunistan (Massimo Berruti), Zimbabwe (Robin Hammond), Chechnya (Davide Monteleone), Iran (Newsha Tavakolian), French Guiana (Christophe Gin), Libya (Narciso Contreras), Nepal (Lizzie Sadin), the Arctic (Yuri Kozyrev and Kadir van Lohuizen) and the Amazon (Tommaso Protti). The 12th edition is dedicated to Venezuela. Photographers can submit their projects until October 18, 2021.