Gilles Nicolet is a self-taught photographer who has been living and working in Africa for almost 35 years now, with long stays in Somalia, West Africa and Tanzania. He started out as an agricultural engineer but soon switched to photography in order to follow an old passion. He has since shot stories for all sorts of magazines, including the Sunday Times Magazine, National Geographic Magazine, Geo, the Smithsonian and Paris-Match.
He has a special interest in anthropology and ethnography, something that – I hope – has helped me capture the essence of my subjects. In the past, most of my stories where about rare traditions that somehow linked man and wildlife, but Africa has changed a lot in the last few decades and unfortunately most of these traditions have now disappeared. His recent work has therefore been more personal and contemplative and less focused on narrative picture stories meant for magazines. In fact, today his interest lies in the convergence between art and documentary photography. He has also moved away from color photography and now only shoots in black and white.
Nicolet's work has received several major awards, including a World Press Photo Award and a Fuji Award. His latest project on the Swahili Coast also won the following recognitions:
2017 HIPA Hamdan International Photography Awards – 2nd Prize, Portfolio Category
2017 Elliott Erwitt Havana Fellowship – Nominee
2017 Seventh Annual Exposure Photography Awards – Winner
2017 IPA International Photography Awards – 2nd Prize, People/Culture Category
2017 Meitar Award – Nominee
2017 Monochrome Photography Awards – Photojournalism/Professional – Two Honorable Mentions
2017 Monochrome Photography Awards – People/Professional – Honorable Mention
2018 CAP Contemporary African Photography Prize, Finalist
This work on the Swahili Coast will be featured in his upcoming “Six Degrees South” book, to be released by Contrejour Publishers in 2018.
"I believe that as a photographer, you can get close to the truth while still being concerned with aesthetic elements." - Gilles Nicolet
More than 30 years ago, Gilles Nicolet arrived in Somali... Read More