For Puchercos, Photography Is Living the Story

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Yinka Olatunbosun

His grip on the camera tightened just as the tidal waves of the Lagos Harbour rushed against his feet. Michel Pucheros was standing close to the residents of Ilashe, near Snake Island to capture a crucial moment in the marine life of the people. The natives had a large net cast into the lagoon and collectively they pulled at the heavy net.

This scenario is just one of many that the French photographer captured in his series of photographs taken in Nigeria and Kenya to make content for the recent show titled, Carnet De Voyage, that is Travelogue.

Guiding this writer through his pieces at Omenka Gallery, Pucheros shared his experience as he lived the story with his subjects. All his works are results of instant shots; none of the subjects posed for him.

That technique makes his visual storytelling believable as they communicate the actual mood and atmosphere of his subjects. Pucheros is intrigued by nature, which naturally runs through his landscape photographs. He is also fascinated by children, whether at play or in child labour. Through the Kenyan wilds, he sourced for his escapism into untold narratives of humanity; of the crispness of the mountain air, the sounds of the voices of the people.
In Lagos, Pucheros sought to use his lenses to project the irony of being a Nigerian living under difficult conditions but remains happy.

“Life is tougher here in Nigeria,” he said. “Although the conditions are tougher here than it is in privileged countries, the people are happy. This level of joy, creativity and energy regardless of the condition is a lesson for us.”

Pucheros has a large heart. The proceeds of the show will be donated to a charity organisation, Casa Alba. This organisation teaches and supports vulnerable girls through skill-acquisition.

Founded in 1989 in Onitsha, by Focolare Movement, Casa Alba teaches young girls skills such as sewing and batik in a two-year programme to rehabilitate girls who are from less privileged homes.