“By day the hot sun fermented us; and we were dizzied by the beating wind. At night we were stained by dew, and shamed into pettiness by the innumerable silences of stars.” ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom @matthieu.rivart.official
Since I was a child I’ve wanted to go to South Africa to visit the Zulu’s. I’ve always been fascinated by their history and culture.
I remember walking through the small villages around Isandhlwana, where the Zulu army defeated the British troops in 1879.
On top of its historic background, the place is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen, with open plains and mountains in the horizon, that reflects the magic golden light of African sunrises and sunsets.
In the villages, kids would always run at me with curiosity, as very few foreigners go there, not to say none.
Contrary to her friends, one little girl prefered to stay away from the storm of kids run, and was looking at me from distance.
I could not help take a portrait: her eyes had such strength for such a young age.
Photo @matthieu.rivart.official #email@example.com
Jewels and hairdress play an important role in Himba culture (north Namibia), as they reflect the status of the person who wears them.
I remember being impressed by this young, in a remote village I spent the night in the middle of the desert.
Her hair braids and skin are covered with Otjize (traditional red cosmetics mixture). Like other Himba women, she uses extensions made of goat hair that she sews to her natural hair when she renews the Otjize. This hair style is showing that she reached puberty and is now a woman. She will keep that hair style throughout her adult life.
Spending time and making photography in indigenous cultures means sharing their daily life. As they usually live in remote areas, they're quite reluctant to see foreigners. So to be accepted and welcomed, one needs to adapt to their living conditions, meaning getting rid of basic comfort (water, electricity...) But this is part of the magic of the experience. I really believe it's not possible to establish strong connection if one keeps a significant gap between the two cultures
During my last stay with the Himbas, in North Namibia, I would spend nights sharing the traditional porridge, made of flour and goat milk. The elder would tell kids about old stories, women would dance and sing by the fire.
And from time to time, I would walk a few steps away to capture the beauty of those nights.
"The last spirt"
I spent the whole morning looking for predators. Without any success.
So I came to make a detour, in case I could get something.
That was a good decision, as I came along a female cheetah hiding behind a bush, stalking two springboks.
The two antilopes could not see the danger, but they smelt the predator.
For three hours, the cheetah was looking at them, and the springboks were looking in her direction, suspecting something.
In such cases I'd usually grab a book, waiting for something to happen. But today I could feel that anything could happen at any time, so I stayed focused.
Several cars stopped near mine and I told them what I spotted. But each of them would leave after 5 minutes, probably bored by the lack of action.
Suddenly the springboks stopped looking in the cheetah direction, turned backwards and started grazing again. The cheetah took the opportunity to jump out of the bush and rushed on them. She was so fast I could not catch her in her run (cheetahs can be as fast as 120km/h!). Clouds of dust were created by her speed, and the whole run disappeared in the sand within a second.
But the wind ultimately blew the sand cloud away: I could now see the cheetah strangling one of the springboks: her hunt has been successful.
A last spirt, a last resistance, and the antipope was gone.
Nature is sometimes cruel and violent.
A springbok got killed...
A cheetah was ensuring her life for an extra 2 days in the desert.
Photo by @matthieu.rivart.official #capturethewild@wildgeography@igscwildlife99@wildlife_perfection@wildlifeonearth@wildlifeaddicts_@planet_of_animals@exclusive_animals
Akha woman, Myanmar Getting to meet Akha people is always an adventure, shall it be in Myanmar, Lao or China.
They indeed live in the remote mountainous areas of the Golden Triangle region, in South-East Asia.
Despite sharing the same cultural background (language, traditions...), the different ethnic groups can be distinguished by the way the women dress, and more specifically by what elements constitute their hat. Whereas Akha in Lao would privilege French Indochinese coins to ornament their hat, Akha would use Indian coins in Myanmar. @matthieu.rivart.official
I remember spending nights in the northern desert of Namibia, listening to Himbas conversations and at the sound of the cracking fire that was illuminating their figures. Only their laugh would prevent me from falling back into my dreams of adventure.
"Sunrise rustling", South Africa 2017
The sun was now down and I was starting to feel desperate. For the last eight hours, I've been sitting in the car, in the sun, looking at the pride of lions sleeping under the shade of a bush. From time to time, one of them would quickly stand before laying down again. I've spent the whole day without any nice shot and time was now running out: in a few minutes, I'll have to get back on the road to make it on time at the exit gate.
I was now about to leave. Sun had gone and only a few rays were still coloring the sky.
At that very moment the six lions stood up, headed towards my car, surrounded it and quickly disappeared in the tall grass.
I tried to figure out what their direction would be, by anticipating their movement, but the grass was now hiding them. So I parked my car further, where I thought they may get back on the road again, and I switched the engine off.
Silence all around, except the noise of a light breeze.
After a few minutes, I could see the grass moving, confirming that the pride was moving in my direction.
I just had the time to lift my camera up when the first lioness appeared through the grass. She was standing a few meters away from me, and looked like she was surprised to find me there.
I took a few shots within a few seconds, and moved my car backwards to let the pride cross the road, and for me to enjoy the spectacle of the moving column.
"I can't help wondering what you do for a living"
"I travel...I contemplate", I replied. I quite enjoy it"
"I'm sure you do" said Patricia. "But is that all?"
"No...when I'm back, I start writing"
"What are you writing about?"
"About what I saw during my last trip"
"For people who cannot travel"
Today is World Lion Day!
I took opportunity of this special day to celebrate the magnificence of the King.
Unfortunately it's population in Africa has declined by 90% over the last 75 years. Current population is estimated around 20.000 and some scientists are concerned: their number may still be divided by 2 within 20 years. Which now makes Lion protection a priority shall we want the next generation to enjoy the unique feeling of encountering a wild lion roaring during African sunset. @matthieu.rivart.official #worldlionday
"The world, for me, is only interesting when it comes to sea. It is my world, a magnificent, varied universe. Not monotonous, provided you can read it. Then it is as legible as the footprints in a wood for a gamekeeper"