Shadows on the wall. Elders with their sticks walking with young boys. We are in a Maasai village

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Being Maasai

Philippe GESLIN | Tanzania, United Republic of

Where I go, for 6 years, in Tanzania, between the Rift and the Kilimanjaro, in the heart of the savanna live the Maasai. People a thousand times described, qualified. People of breeders. Free men. They walk the bush to the rhythm of their herds, to that of the water points. We touch a finger on a myth. The feeling of "meeting Africa". The dream has long gone on, for a long time. Their long red silhouettes make the delights of the media and glossy paper. The "Safari" would not be complete without a quick visit to the Maasai village. The myth at the end of the lens. "Wild" animals are protected, lands confiscated and peoples settled. Far away from the tourist circuits are the rituals, and the essential one, which allows the young Maasai to become Warrior ...

My profession, anthropology, allows me to wander as an attentive observer, as a worried actor, always anxious to give an accurate account of the everyday life of small communities. I am working on local knowledge in water resource management for the Hadza, the last hunter-gatherers of East Africa and the Maasai breeders in Tanzania. In Greenland, I worked on the impact of hunting quotas on the last Inuit hunters in the northwest of the island, in the Upernavik District. In Amazonia, I focused on the Amarakaeri gold miners and the impact of mercury on health and environment. Photography always accompanies me in these lives between two cultures. It is for me a true mode of literary expression.

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