Two men playing draughts on an abandoned train: Gosette Lubondo’s best photograph | Photography

This picture, a part of a collection known as Imaginary Trip, was taken in an abandoned prepare exterior Kinshasa station within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I used to be searching for a website to evoke an imaginary voyage to convey the thought of reminiscence, the passage of time and the reappropriation of outdated locations. A number of younger men cling round this space, which is a poor neighbourhood, and so they squat within the trains in the course of the day whereas doing varied jobs comparable to serving to individuals on the station. Typically they’ve one thing to do, different instances nothing.

The 2 individuals on this photograph are each me. I took a number of digital photos after which superimposed them to signify two younger men playing a conventional sport of draughts with bottle tops – as they do. After I began out on this mission, I didn’t intend to place myself within the images – it was nearly unintended. I didn’t have the cash to pay for fashions, so it was partly a query of price range, but additionally of time. I spend ages in these locations creating my images, too lengthy for most individuals to hold round, so ultimately I discovered myself in entrance of and behind the digital camera. I typically work alone with a digital camera, a tripod and a distant set off.

Within the image, you see a bag from the native market in Kinshasa that offers the scene a extra world context – “See the north” is written on it. You can’t see something out of the home windows of the prepare, so this voyage may very well be going down anyplace on the planet. The image is full in itself, however suits in with the remainder of the collection to inform a much bigger story: the collection exhibits a visit that begins someplace, however doesn’t finish, and the vacation spot is a thriller.

Some figures within the different images within the collection are clear. They signify individuals who have handed by this abandoned place previously, and those that might go by it sooner or later. Many see them as ghosts, however I see them as representing individuals who have been right here and can come right here.


Setting footage in abandoned locations evokes the duality of the private and the collective reminiscence, in addition to the historical past of the DRC: the prepare carriage right here is from the period of colonisation. The thought is to make use of a figurative voyage to evoke the passing of time, in an actual and imaginary sense.

My father is knowledgeable photographer and I started as a young person serving to him out at weddings and different occasions. Someday, I simply took one among his cameras and didn’t give it again. After I determined, at round 17 years outdated, that I wished to make this my profession, too, he didn’t precisely attempt to discourage me, however he was nervous that I wouldn’t have the ability to make a hit of it.

It’s sophisticated within the DRC – and in lots of different African international locations – as a result of being a photographer was not thought of a job for a lady and it nonetheless isn’t, largely. I might go to take footage at an occasion and other people would check with me because the “Sunday photographer” that means an beginner, somebody who takes household snaps, so, whereas no one truly informed me to cease, it was very discouraging. After I inform people who I’m a photographer they’re stunned, regardless that there are extra feminine photographers within the DRC at present, our quantity remains to be small, and it stays a macho society.

In 2013, I made a decision I used to be going to cease doing marriages and business work and focus on private pictures initiatives. It was a tough time as a result of I had no cash, no assets and it took three years to promote my first picture. I had completed my research and other people would say: “When are you going to seek out some actual work?” However for me, working on Imaginary Journey was my actual work. I imagine it is crucial, particularly on this age, to detach oneself from what is trendy and from so-called guidelines about what works or doesn’t work. I inform myself, voila! I’ll do that photograph as a result of it pleases me. Whether or not it really works or not is just not essential.

Gosette Lubondo
Gosette Lubondo

Born: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1993.
Skilled: Discovered with father then studied communication and visible arts on the Académie des Beaux-Arts, Kinshasa.
Influences: “The workshops of EZA Possibles collective, the Kin ArtStudio, photographers Sammy Baloji, Cindy Sherman and James Barnor.”
Excessive level: “The 2018 residence at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris – Jacques Chirac (Imaginary Trip II). Then in 2019 I had an exhibition at a women’ faculty in Lubumbashi, DRC, and the interplay with the younger pupils was fantastic.”
Low level: “The three years between beginning doing my very own initiatives and promoting my first picture.”
High tip: “Keep true to your self and what you wish to do.”

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