2011 Photo Contest, Portraits, 3rd prize

Southern Sudan Challenges


Guillem Valle

01 December, 2010

A Dinka man stands in front of his house in Akkach, South Sudan.

About the photographer

Guillem Valle

Guillem Valle first became interested in documentary photography in 1998, when, at the age of 14, he traveled to Sarajevo on an art-student exchange program. Finding himself with...

Background story

Akkach, South Sudan

A Dinka man stands in front of his house in Akkach, South Sudan. The Dinka, the largest ethnic group in region, are an agro-pastoral people who migrate according to season. At the onset of the rainy season in May or June, they move to settlements of huts built from mud and thatch above the flood level, where they plant crops. During the dry months, beginning around December, they leave for better grazing grounds in the lowlands, living in semi-permanent shelters. Between 1983 and 2005, the people of South Sudan were embroiled in a bitter civil war with the largely Muslim government in the north, which cost some 1.5 million lives. In January of 2011, a referendum among southerners, promised as part of a peace deal, resulted in a nearly unanimous vote for independence.

Guillem Valle speaks about the project:
"I was doing a story in Southern Sudan before the referendum for independence in collaboration with the NGO Intermon-Oxfam. They allowed me to spend several days photographing their projects on the field. For some days I tried to capture the daily life in this place that has suffered one of the deadliest wars the African continent has ever known. One day I visited a village in a very remote area where I met the man in the photograph. This ethnic Dinka elder spent the entire day with us, showing us the village and explaining their daily life there. I noticed his hieratic face and I thought that a portrait of him could summarize many of the things he had been explaining."

Technical information

Shutter Speed
1/1600 s
Focal length
24 mm

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