West Africa Visual Journalism Fellowship

Presenting the West Africa Visual Journalism Fellowship stories 

Presenting the West Africa Visual Journalism Fellowship stories

The World Press Photo Foundation is pleased to present the work of the three recipients of the West Africa Visual Journalism Fellowship: Ofoe Amegavie, Ghana; Adrien Bitibaly, Burkina Faso; and Nuits Balnéaires, Côte d'Ivoire.

The three projects tell stories of West African communities told by West African emerging photographers, ranging from mythology and witchcraft, the importance of social cohesion, and the restoration and preservation of coastal ecosystems. The projects have been published on World Press Photo’s website and social media, and will be displayed in an exhibition in each of the fellows’ countries of origin later in 2021.

The West Africa Visual Journalism Fellowship is a World Press Photo Foundation education program in partnership with the Chocolonely Foundation, to support emerging talent and connect them to the international community.

The fellowship supported three emerging photographers to produce a visual storytelling project of their choice in West Africa. The stories were produced during 2019 and 2020, after a short pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The three fellows received a production fee of €5000 and a grant of €5000 to help cover their expenses while they are producing their story. Additionally, the fellows took part in workshops and received mentorship through the development of their projects. Three mentors supported and advised the fellows along the way: Emilie Regnier, photographer; Nii Obodai, photographer and educator; and Marc Prust, visual story editor.

Learn more about the West Africa Visual Journalism Fellowship here and access high-resolution images and captions here.

Between Sand and Water by Ofoe Amegavie, Ghana

Ofoe Amegavie is a Ghanaian photographer known for capturing the intimacy in his culture and heritage. Since 2011, he has been working both as a documentary and fashion photographer. He has been able to create his own unique style by applying a curious approach and a spiritual perspective to fine art, fashion and documentary photography.

His project Between Sand and Water explores the everyday life and resilience of several coastal communities around the Volta Delta in Ghana in the face of environmental and man-made challenges.

Nii Obodai, Amegavie’s mentor during the fellowship, said about the story:

"His work is visually intimate yet with a critical perspective, coated with the sensibilities of connection and compassion. What we encounter through this body of work is the relentless reminder that what is happening in this part of the world is relevant to all our concerns about the

global climatic and environmental shifts, from the now and into the future. Between Sand and Water is a story told by a son of this community. It's personal and urgently relevant."

Learn more about the story

Quatre Yeux (Four Eyes) by Adrien Bitibaly, Burkina Faso

Adrien Bitibaly is a self-taught documentary photographer. He uses photography as a way of expressing his relationship to the world through emotions, sensations and the need to document social transformations.

In Quatre Yeux (Four Eyes), Adrien Bitibaly explores the realities that can trigger witchcraft accusations, a traditional social practice that can result in the social exclusion of those accused. Growing up in Burkina Faso, Adrien Bitibaly was able to observe the importance of traditional religions in Burkinabé society from an early age. Among the manifestations of these beliefs, accusations of witchcraft have always caught the attention of the photographer.

Marc Prust, Adrien Bitibaly’s mentor during the fellowship, said about this story:

“Adrien found himself in challenging circumstances the past year: a global lockdown left him stranded in France for the better part of 2020, while his colleagues in the program developed their projects. Despite these challenges Adrien created an engaging project with a strong link to his personal history. His portraits and landscapes show how traditions and beliefs can impact the daily lives of all members of a community.”

Learn more about the story

The Power of Alliances by Nuits Balnéaires, Côte d'Ivoire

Nuits Balnéaires is a visual artist and Ivorian creative director based in Grand Bassam in Ivory Coast. He is inspired by poetry, the spirit of water, nature, the sea, the night, the study and observation of civilizations.

The Power of Alliances attempts to foster a dialogue on the importance of the values of unity, solidarity and sharing in Côte d'Ivoire, a country that is slowly recovering from the wounds inherited from decades of political instability. By illustrating the seven great families of the N'zima Kotokô tribe of Grand-Bassam, the project sheds light on the social structures that have spanned several centuries.

Emilie Regnier, Nuits Balnéaires' mentor during the fellowship, said about the story:

"Nuits Balnéaires' work is telling a story that is intimately rooted in tradition, culture, and imagination. He allows us to envision another world dimension, filled with poetry, light, beauty, ritual, and spirituality. He has created a powerful document enlightening the rich bonds at the foundation of Ivorian culture."

Learn more about the story

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About the World Press Photo Foundation

We are a global platform connecting professionals and audiences through trustworthy visual journalism and storytelling, founded in 1955 when a group of Dutch photographers organized a contest (“World Press Photo”) to expose their work to an international audience. Since then, our mission has expanded. Our contests have grown into the world’s most prestigious competitions, rewarding the best in visual journalism and digital storytelling. Through our successful worldwide exhibition program, we present to millions of people the stories that matter. Our Develop programs - including the 6x6 Global Talent Program, the African Photojournalism Database, the Joop Swart Masterclass, the Solutions Visual Journalism Initiative, and the West Africa Visual Journalism Initiative - encourage stories highlighting different perspectives of the world.

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