Cazou cazou café bisous
An adventurous voyage on the African continent ! A little craziness, lots of new faces, and a few photos too ☺️
Cazou cazou café bisous
Don’t look for any logical link between this campaign’s title and my trip… there aren’t any !
Quick tip : slightly zoom out on your computer screen to better appreciate the pics ☺ (keyboard shortcut : push on “Ctrl” + “-“ or “Cmd” + “-“ on Mac)
Hey you! But who does “you” refer to anyway?
First of all, it seemed important for me to precise that I wish not to “cry for help” through the use of this campaign, but that I find it a good opportunity for me to present my project and its intimate character to a handful of people I chose; people with whom I feel close.
EDIT (Sunday 23rd of December, 2018):
The proximity, the connection, the feeling establishes itself over several years, several hours, a few minutes or in a fraction of a second. This text is addressed to friends I’ve known for many years to those I’ve met more recently to friendships that are simply short-lasting. I find that as soon as we are conscious of the fact that nothing belongs to us, not even our relationships with others, and that this doesn’t make them any less beautiful, then we are more apt to appreciate their beauty.
This is also addressed to “strangers,” or to people with whom I have very few connections. Why, you will ask me? Because I’m not so fond of the idea of feeding this form of “voyeurism” that I would be in sending this out to all of my contacts over social media. And I will be so happy and proud to know that my photos and my writings can be enjoyed by only certain people and that I can touch their emotions, without them saying, “I know Antoine, he’s a buddy of mine; a good guy.” A more neutral sort of view.
END OF EDIT
For what concerns the initial photograph, I chose to show you my friend Mustapha, who is Senegalese, without whom I would not be in the process of writing to you here, today. We met while carpooling a few weeks ago and a few days later I had my plane ticket to fly to Senegal. Thank you, Mustapha.
And now, let’s head to the next step...
Because that’s where Mustapha’s from and while speaking with him about his home land during the carpool, he gave me the desire to go visit. That’s all!
No, well ok, there were a few more thoughts before taking this ticket on the, “spur of the moment.” The following day of our carpool, I looked at my online account on “Pole Emploi” and realized that I would only be getting government funding until December 23rd, 2018… dilemma!
Might as well be honest, I had no desire to pick back up where I had left off, just before quitting my former job, as a computer engineer. Growth, productivity, numbers, results, pressure, stress, raise in wages…
On my side of things, it’s rather the contrary. Over the last couple of months of professional inactivity, I have never been so happy (oh, well of course, Antoine, you aren’t working…). It’s because I’m reconnecting with true meaning, my meaning, that which I would like to give to my life.
(Some 90’s tunes for the following sentimentally nostalgic chapter of my story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXnpsBBBMo4&index=1&list=RDpXnpsBBBMo4
Less is more. It’s catchy, but I think that it really summarizes my current state of mind. Fewer restrictions for more freedom. The freedom to look at the world which surrounds us and not only see it, but take the time to appreciate its environment, be it nature or people.
My biggest source of pride these past few months, has come from knowing that I have regained control of life’s boat. In a few words : recklessness, intuition, hearing, letting go. Many of these things bring me back tenderly and happily to childhood! And it pleases me to write and share it with you.
Well now, let’s talk a little more about the subject… the trip!
**Trips, like dreams, start as soon as we close our eyes and our mind transports us into another world. Last it 1 year, 1 month, 1 second, we are all free to travel whenever and where ever (caution: not paying attention to the road while driving can be very risky for your health and for that of others)**
I am therefore starting to be curious, researching more about Senegal. Google images, Google flights, it’s nice, it’s not expensive. Just under a hundred Euros for the ticket! And apparently, January just happens to be the best time of year to go there. Up to this point, I’ve traveled quite a bit, but only to developed countries. So, naturally, in my head I hear this “call of the wild.” Bingo, let’s go!
Senegal, as my first stop. But let us continue dreaming on together…
…with Booba! Neither a little bear, nor our greatly cherished virtuoso of the French language, but… the beauty of happenstance.
--Actually, I think destiny is more like it. It might sound a little overdone, but personally I believe in a sort of destiny, where things which must happen, happen. But everyone possesses inside of him the strength to provoke beautiful things, while smiling, while transmitting positive energy via kindness (peace and love, hippie style, and all that jazz)—
Booba, I met him at the N133 restaurant in Lyon. A restaurant where I had an apprenticeship during the summer, and where Albert shared a little of his immense culinary savoir-faire with me, along with lots of generosity and kindheartedness. Thank you, Albert.
Having established these connections, I often stopped by to say hello, drink a coffee, chat… and our talks, naturally, covered the travel plans I wanted to share with him. This lead him to telling me, “come back Saturday; I have a guy from Senegal who’ll be helping me out in the kitchen, that day!”. And after a few minutes of conversation that same Saturday, I found myself invited to stay in Kedougou, where Booba will be joining his family precisely in January!
That’s cool and all, but what about after that? What will you be doing?
I’ll improvise! (Editor’s note: I haven’t gotten a return ticket)
I’ve chosen to let my trip be guided by my encounters, humanity, because that’s the way it started and I believe in the goodness of mankind. I want to let myself be lead by these encounters as much as possible. And to simply take the time to stop when something interests me: the freedom that comes with purchasing a one-way ticket.
That’s euphoric and all; Earth to Antoine!
Oh boy! There are nice people in this world,…but maybe not everywhere!
The plan will therefore be to, first off, travel to the coast of all countries on the Guinean Golf, indicated in yellow on the map. And notably: Guinea Conakry, the water tower of Africa, with all of its beautiful landscapes, Sierra Leone for its forests (thanks, Teddy for the advice), then Togo and Benin for their Voodoo traditions!
And then, if I still have any money, and that I haven’t been cursed down to the 23rd generation, a tsetse shot or any other deadly event, I’ll keep on!
Back up to the north of Senegal, that I will have probably not yet visited, then head towards north Africa! Morocco, notably to trek across the Atlas, if possible, and Algeria… because few tourists are over there (roots 4 ever)
And thereafter? Let’s say that I’ve approximately calculated that we’ll probably be in early summer 2019. And summer means heat and heat means trouble for my films, and therefore a return to a more temperate climate (aka France)
Here’s a little presentation… and flashback too! This summer, I hit up Lisbon’s Sunday market on arrival. A little posh, very industrial/modern, and sunny. I went for a stroll, and this time, decide to stop at a stand that we often see at these types of places: old cameras! You know, the type your father owned, his very first, lying around somewhere in the attic. The one that took all those pictures you see in old photo albums, souvenir photos.
As you probably are already aware, I like old things… I already wear previously-worn clothes, use old records, so being attracted to what is vintage naturally led me to ask myself, “why not photography?”.
Not really placing much importance on it right away, I sent Yonas, a friend from Lyon and excellent photographer too (http://crepeetcitron.com), a message, “Any interesting things in here?” And then, one thing led to another, and he liked my eye for things. I then found myself buying one of his old cameras, love at first sight, as if I were being sent back to childhood only to discover Pokémon yet another time! (Okay, maybe not that much…)
An there you go! Plus, I find it really good-looking…
This is what is called a manually-operated camera. To make things simple, the photo is taken on a physical support (the film), which is not directly exploitable (not like on a digital camera, where we can see the image instantaneously on a small screen). Here, you must first finish the film roll you’re using (which contains normally about 36 slides or photos), then develop it (chemical process, which leads to the creation of “negatives” !)
But Antoine, why do you waste your time on this sort of stuff? With digital cameras, you take as many photos as you like, the ones you don’t like you trash, it’s so much simpler!
Well, let’s make things really simple then: my camera cost only 100€, I am really really happy with the results I get out of it (https://www.flickr.com/photos/162586444@N03/), and I like using it and the philosophy associated with this type of photography. And then the result is raw, has an authentic character, without anything artificial.
I will not see my photos before my return home to France. And I love this way of playing with this temporal aspect of my trip! To be given the time to forget about the shots and then rediscover them a few months later. Away from the instantaneous, from social media, from our (dis)connected lives, I feel the need to so and I find much delight in it!
36 photos per film roll. About 6€ per film roll, I won’t draw you a picture! To take the time to observe my surroundings, listen to my feelings, veer my attention on the details. With every picture taken comes a manual roll readjustment. This means that I must pull back a lever to go on to the next one. A seemingly trivial motion, but is important for me by showing me how much I consume. To give you an idea, I’ve planned on bringing what will allow for me to take 10 pictures a day for 5 months and that’s already a budget of 500€ alone!
Manual photography is really complicated…
Not really! It is both very accessible and a great way to satisfy your curiosity cravings. My camera only has 3 buttons to define the proper parameters in order to take a photo. Easy, right? No delete button! The magic of error, but a mess up is a lesson :) and then with 10 photos a day, it gives me the time to take each photo cautiously, but also the time to simply enjoy my trip :)
And then, a little something to close out
The surprise. The reason why I haven’t sent this out to my family.
To find an old lemon. For example, the first car that I drove in the parking lot of a supermarket one Sunday morning at 8:30. This pretty off-white Mercedes that my grand father let me drive, a few times, in the same parking lot, despite barely being 15 years old.
Fix it up, if need be. And well, I’m pretty bad with mechanics. So why not find an auto repair shop and offer him the following proposition : what I have to give is time. 1 month, 2 months. Work. Help him do paperwork, clean up his shop, do the dirty tasks, I don’t care! And learn how to repair cars in exchange. And if he accepts, help me fix my lemon.
And then go back to France! That’s why I thought of finishing in north Africa, in order to go home in my car by ferry ☺
Shoot! I almost forgot the radio ! It ABSOLUTELY has to work. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie, “Le Grand Bain,” but I highly recommend it! We saw it as a family. And we had a couple of good laughs, hadn’t been to the cinema in a while. And the music at the end of the movie, we’ll never forget! And I’m sure my dad loved it when he was young.
And boom! I’ll show up at my parents’ just like that, without warning them in advance, with that music blasting out of my car radio! Just like in the movie. I get teary eyed just thinking about it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this all :)
Allocation of funds
** A small reminder of the steps in film photography: 1) Taking the picture with the camera: the photo film is exposed to the light for a few moments 2) Development of the photo film : to summarize, we prepare several chemical baths with products in order to "reveal" the contents of the film 3) Scan and / or Print the photo **
At first I had thought about the film rolls, but… I had already bought them! ahaha
For now, I have never developed my films (I go through a photo lab). But when I come back, I would love to develop them myself!
After inquiring, for the color development it seems a little ambitious. But for black and white photos, it’s accessible! So that's enough to introduce my first “level”…
1 - Photo development and digitization: 411,5 €
A - Development 161,5 €
50% in the lab (for color film), 50% home (for black and white film)
For the laboratory part, the cost is 0,15 € per photo (based on the rates of my current laboratory in Lyon, Gris Souris! Http://www.labo-gris-souris.com/tarifs/index.html)
Given that I have a roughly balanced ratio between the number of color film and black and white dandruff that I carry with me, and on a basis of 10 photos per day for 5 months ..
10 (photos) x 30 (days) x 5 (months) / 2 = 750 color photos!
We arrive at a total of 750 x 0.15 € = 112.5 €
For the house development part:
I go on the purchase of a starter pack at € 44 at my favorite film shop, Marinette Vintage, still in Lyon! (Hello to Thibault who helped me a lot with his many tips for each of my visits, thank you)
It contains both the liquids (chemicals) as well as the tanks necessary for the realization of the development.
For the room dedicated to the photographic development (you know the one you see in the movies, a black room with neon lights or the old bathrooms with a grimy tub), I thank Mom and Dad in advance for the free loan of the bathroom of the second one!
We’ll then do a little trick with the figures, this time to calculate the cost of liquid refills. Indeed, the quantity of liquid provided in the pack allows to develop only 10 films! Let's see how much I'm going to bring back :)
10 (photos) x 30 (days) x 5 (months) / 2 = 750 black and white photos! (the art of copying pasted)
Next step: 750 (photos) / 36 (number of photos per film) = 20
10 films more than the capacity of the development kit
Poppycock for the accounts of apothecaries, Thibault told me that it was about 0.50 € to 1 € cost for the liquid part by photo film, so we add 0.50 € x 10 = 5 € (the one who will finance me will have lost the equivalent of a kebab)
44 € for the kit, 5 € for additional liquids, we find a total of 49 € to become a chemist apprentice!
Added to the cost of developing color photos in the lab, we arrive at the sum of 161.5 €
It's fine, but what do I do with it?
I scan them for sure!
B - Scanning 250 €
And yes well, it passes through a specific scanner, a device dedicated solely to this function. Double advantage: see the silver photos that we made on his computer (before, we necessarily had all of them printed! And it is more expensive), but also archive / save (it is the former engineer in computer security in me speaking)
This represents a significant cost in the process of obtaining photos.
Still at Gris Souris, it is € 4.70 per film, or € 0.13 per photo. For the 1500 photos that I will have to scan, so it is..195 €!
So I plan to buy a negative scanner as a long-term, economical solution, and think of my friends when I could finally see the result of these months of travel :)
Without further ado, I present you the beast: the Epson V600. Thanks to Yonas, again, for the bike recommendation. 250 € !
Dang that’s ugly !
Well it's all that yeah but 161 + 250 it's 411 € … give back the money Antoine! We’re giving you 500 €!
2 – Bonuses on this side, come get your extras!
A – Pump it up, DJ! 100 €
Thanks Alex for the very interesting suggestion: record sound! (animals, traditional music, tribal songs, ...)
And why not create some small background music from the compilation of these recordings, on my return? :)
Here is the beast I plan to buy:
It is a digital recorder, it costs 85 € (https://goo.gl/pwv6Vb). To this is added the cost of the SD cards (support on which the sounds are recorded), about 100 € for a total, therefore!
B - Parallel world: 100 €
Attention you’re penetrating into a parallel universe of the photo .. the infrared photo! Curious as I am, I have already bought some film rolls that I would like to take with me to Africa. Here is an example of a result (I love aesthetics!)
However, some additional equipment is needed to achieve this type of shot.
A filter, worth about 40 € :
It is placed on the camera, and captures the infrared light (not visible to the naked eye)
To capture these infrared lights properly (e.g. to expose the film sufficiently for the result to be exploitable, understand that the photo is not missed to be simple), it is necessary to provide a long exposure time. This exposure time can be counted in minutes! (The exposure time is the time that you hear between the first ** click ** and the second ** click ** on old appliances. The famous click click yes yes!)
Good idea, if you do not want to have a blurry picture like this each time:
It's to not move! And that’s where the idea of buying a tripod comes into play :)
To be honest I have not yet done extensive research on this type of equipment, so we expect about 60 € (example photo below)
Well and if you really insist, if the Christmas period makes you (too) generous, and that I therefore have more than 611 €, the rest of the money collected will help me to finance a potential photo exhibition when I return :) whose expenses include the rental of a place, the printing of the most beautiful shots, ...
This time it's really over, thank you again, and see you soon friends
** Legal notice: I will collect the entire sum **