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Pierre Verger
Pierre Verger

Pierre Verger

Country: France
Birth: 1902 | Death: 1996

Pierre Edouard Leopold Verger, alias Fatumbi or Fátúmbí was a photographer, self-taught ethnographer, and babalawo (Yoruba priest of Ifa) who devoted most of his life to the study of the African diaspora - the slave trade, the African-based religions of the new world, and the resulting cultural and economical flows from and to Africa.

At the age of 30, after losing his family, Pierre Verger took up the career of journalistic photographer. Over the next 15 years, he traveled the four continents, documenting many civilizations that would soon be effaced by progress. His destinations included Tahiti (1933); United States, Japan, and China (1934 and 1937); Italy, Spain, Sudan (now Mali), Niger, Upper Volta, Togo and Dahomey (now Benin, 1935); the West Indies (1936); Mexico (1937, 1939, and 1957); the Philippines and Indochina (now Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, 1938); Guatemala and Ecuador (1939); Senegal (as a conscript, 1940); Argentina (1941), Peru and Bolivia (1942 and 1946); and finally Brazil (1946). His photographs were featured in magazines such as Paris-Soir, Daily Mirror (under the pseudonym of Mr. Lensman), Life, and Paris Match. In the city of Salvador, Brazil he fell in love with the place and people, and decided to stay for good. Having become interested in the local history and culture, he turned from errant photographer to a researcher of the African diaspora in the Americas. His subsequent voyages are focused on that goal: the west coast of Africa and Paramaribo (1948), Haiti (1949), and Cuba (1957). After studying the Yoruba culture and its influences in Brazil, Verger became an initiated of the Candomblé religion, and officiated at its rituals. During a visit to Benin, he was initiated into Ifá (cowrie-shell divination), became a babalawo (priest) of Orunmila, and was renamed Fátúmbí ("he who is reborn through the Ifá"). Veger's contributions to ethnography are embodied in dozens of conference papers, journal articles and books and were recognized by Sorbonne University, which conferred upon him a doctoral degree (Docteur 3eme Cycle) in 1966 — quite a feat for someone who dropped out of high school at 17.

Verger continued to study and document his chosen subject right until his death in Salvador, at the age of 94. During that time he became a professor at the Federal University of Bahia in 1973, where he was responsible for the establishment of the Afro-Brazilian Museum in Salvador; and served as visiting professor at the University of Ifé in Nigeria. The non-profit Pierre Verger Foundation in Salvador, which he established to continue his work, holds more than 63,000 photos and negatives taken until 1973, as well as his papers and correspondence.

Source: Wikipedia

 

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Pictures now filled my room. From the start I always wanted to show my best. I would keep a box of my best photographs and then throw away all the one's I didn't like. I always feel the next picture is my favorite picture, wanting to create new work. As I progressed through my studies, I became distracted. There were so many subjects to do and I tried them all. One week I was doing art of history, then chemistry. I then dropped them all and just focused on photography. To this day, I follow photography. I have learned a lot but I am still confused on what to do next. I love what I do, but everybody tells me go into other things. Photography is more than clicking a button. From my first trip In India I have learned more about life then I would from anything. It teaches you to look, understand and observe rather then just walk away.All about Gautam Narang:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?Well after high school, I pretty much knew that is something that I’ve wanted to do, and it’s pretty much all that I’ve pictured myself doing. I’ve tried office jobs, but they usually don’t work, for example being an assistant was not a great experience. Order wold be forgotten and i’m not a office type or person, the stress kills me. So i’ve always gratiated to something creative.AAP: Where did you study photography?I studied at HND Photography at City and islington. Was the youngest student, out of the program my closet friend was Robert Harper who does amazing fashion photography. We used to chill and take pictures, it was really nice experience. Education to me, especially in the arts isn’t what i’ve expected it to be. The real learning happens when your out of school, and making friends with like minded pepole, finding who you are, I know it sounds like a really simple question, but you get asked “Who are you? What is your favorite movie? Favorite Artist and etc.” These days things are getting competitive and to really stand out is to have strong connections with people. AAP:Do you have a mentor?Yes, the teacher at my school. He was in 60’s and was my best friend, he taught me a lot on business, being an artist, encouraged me, let me use his studio and gave experience in the studio with while doing still life photography. He would also make all his own equipment, was really cool learning from him. My other mentor was Jasper James, he introduced me to style. He showed me that movies could be arty, before that I didn’t really watch any arty stuff. We also traveled around the UK on projects and that was a lot of fun. AAP: How long have you been a photographer?12 years.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?They were pictures of cannel boats, in England I used to live near a cannel.AAP: What or who inspires you?Well Edward Hooper is a great inspiration. His images feel like movie scenes, they have such a powerful mood to them. Artist have always inspired me. William Eggleston is someone would really inspires me.AAP: How could you describe your style?As simple and bold. I’m a huge fan of bold colors and like to keep things simple.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?I use the Canon 5D Mark II and my iPhone 4, it’s great, you can take it anywhere and pepole aren’t imitated by it, you look like a tourist. The iPhone has a look, in 20 years when we have images that are so sharp that you can’t tell if your looking at something real. Images from are primitive cameras and mobile devices will be called “Retro” they come with a time stamp, the actually medium is a time capsule. It’s not about the quality, it’s about the message, that will last longer.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?I’m not a fan of editing, i’ve never liked it, only the darkroom.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Steve McCurry, Willam Eggleston, Dorothea Lange. AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Go out and find your own vision, and all this likes and things mean nothing. It’s hard putting yourself out there, and pepole don’t usually respond. You start to want to appeal to others and worry if you posting to much. Do it for yourself, who cares about all this fame? Who knows if these websites will be around, this data? One day, you might be recognized.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Don’t point fingers, point them at yourself first. Don’t blame others, really look at yourself first.AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?My work is constantly changing and I like that. To keep evolving you need to keep changing.AAP: Your best memory has a photographer?Working on location in India, working in a old Indian palace, documenting Indian folk singers. It’s an experience the kings once enjoyed.AAP: Your worst souvenir has a photographer?A broken camera lens.AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?Steve McCurry he has my dream jobAAP: Anything else you would like to share?I’m into film making now, really want to be a DOP or camera operator. Currently i’m based in Toronto.
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