Mobilité à risques

Gilles Coulon takes us down the tracks followed by the herds to the south of Burkina Faso to Togo, from January to June, looking for more appetizing pastures and new livestock markets.

He lays our eyes right behind the men who walk in the back or in the middle of the flock and tells with modesty his admiration for these « cowboys ».

“It’s about the notion of mobility that I have focused my workI shared for weeks the life of the breeders, their walk, their difficulties to move in an increasingly hostile and dangerous environment.

He tries to place us in the sacred atmosphere of the adventure experienced by transhumant shepherds, unrecognized as major “modern” economic operators, who are, nonetheless, real smugglers of trade secrets between the different regions they cross, across borders, twice a year.

With this series made in 2016, Gilles Coulon takes us on legendary tracks of a necessary quest: the change of horizon.

Text by Chab Touré

He won the 1st prize of the World Press Photo in the category «daily life» for a first work on transhumance between Mali and Mauritania.



Solo show: Gilles COULON



PHOTO DOC. foire


10 – 12 mai 2019


Gilles Coulon’s work has three ages.

Between 1990 and 2002, he drew from Africa the subjects of several years of reporting. The meeting with Mali gave rise to several photographic stories. “Avoir 20 ans à Bamako” embraces the energy of Malian youth, “Delta” plunges into the meanders of the inhabitants of the banks of the Niger River and “Un président en campagne” follows, in 1997, the campaign tours of Alpha Oumar Konaré.

From the 2000s, he moved away from the documentary form and set out in search of a new poetics. He created “White Night”, a work on neon, a form of night wandering in search of a universal and suggestive light.

Gilles Coulon then takes the path of another composition. Definitively avoiding the singular “beautiful image”, he seeks to build a questioning through series. Triptychs and diptychs thus compose «Grins», a work on speech circles in Bamako in which the mouvement of the subject’s speech leads to that of the viewer’s gaze. “For Reasons” is a photographic history composed in counterpoint, where the apparent serenity of the image takes on a completely different dimension by binding itself to the testimony. This echo to time and space leaves the spectator silent in the face of a serious reality of contemporary society.

With « Black Out », in-production project, Gilles Coulon returns to explore Africa, trying to represent darkness, its matter and its rhythm.        


Solo exhibitions


Transhumance – Photo Doc – Paris, France


Entrevues – Festival Portrait(s) 2018 – Vichy, France

Rebirth – Maison Européenne de la photographie – Paris, France

Extime ou l’intimité exposée – Jeunes Générations – Friche La Belle de Mai – Marseille, France


Hiver(s) – Paysages Français – BNF Paris – France

Extime ou l’intimité exposée – Jeunes Générations – Phnom Penh Festival 2017, Cambodia

Extime ou l’intimité exposée – Jeunes Générations – Villa Pérochon – Niort, France

Extime ou l’intimité exposée – Jeunes Générations – Gare de Lyon – Paris, France

Extime ou l’intimité exposée – Jeunes Générations – Festival ImageSingulières – Sète, France

Transhumance, mobilité à risques – Institut Français in Bamako – Mali

Transhumance, mobilité à risques – Institut Français in Ouagadougou – Burkina Faso

Transhumance, mobilité à risques – Institut Français in Abidjan – Ivory Coast

Transhumance, mobilité à risques – Hôtel N’gor Diarama – Dakar, Senegal

Transhumance, mobilité à risques – Espace Central Dupon – Paris, France


For Reasons – La galerie particulière – Paris, France


Hiver(s) – Mai Photographie – Quimper, France

Féroé – Festival Photo de Mer – Vannes, France


Hiver(s) – La galerie particulière – Paris, Franc

Voyage en Flamenco – Galerie du Palais, Doha, Qatar


Voyage en Flamenco – Arte Flamenco Festival – Mont de Marsan, France


White Night – Espace André Malraux – Herblay, France

White Night – Bibliothèque Municipale – Anglette, France


White Night – Espace Robert Desnos – Montreuil, France

Grins – Festival Chronique Nomade – Honfleur, France


White Night – Light Galery – Marrakech, Morocco


Grins – Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie – Arles, France

White Night – Galerie la chambre Claire – Annecy, France


Un président en Campagne – Confluence – Paris, France

Delta – Festival Photo Peuples et Nature – La Gacily, France


White Night – Acte 2 Photo – Paris, France

White Night – Lagerfeld Galery – Paris, France


Avoir 20 ans à Bamako – Galerie du Théâtre de l’Agora – Evry, France


Samedis Soir – Festival Visa pour l’Image – Perpignan, France

Samedis Soir – Centre Photographique d’Ile de France – Pontault-Combault, France


Marée noire – Centre Atlantique de la Photographie – Brest, France

Delta Festival Photographique de Biarritz – Biarritz, France

Avoir 20 ans à Bamako – Galerie Chab – Bamako, Mali


Awards, Scholarships and Public Orders


Winner of the 8th Edition of the Eurazéo Prize – « Ré-enchanter l’entreprise » – Rebirth


Winner of the CNAP Public Order – Jeunes Génération – Extime


Infinity Awards 2007 ICP New York Photographic Book of the Year for the publication of the book Sommes-nous ?


Winner of the DAP Public Order on Youth in France – Samedis Soir


Winner of the World Press Photo – Daily Life category for his work on transhumance between Mali and Mauritania



Eurazéo / BNF (Bibliothèque Nationale de France) / FNAC (Fond National d’Art Contemporain) / Musée de la Marine / DRAC, Les Landes / La galerie Particulière – Paris / Tendance Floue Galerie / Acte 2 / Artothèque de Rome


Individual edits

Entrevues, Filigranes Editions / Transhumance, Mobilité à Risques, Tendance Floue Editions / Voyage en Flamenco, Editions Atlantica / White Night, Editions Steidl / Un président en campagne, Cauris editions / Delta, text by Marie Laure de Noray, editions Donniya / Avoir 20 ans à Bamako, text by Marie Laure de Noray, Editions Alternatives

Collective exhibitions