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.