Camille Lepage 1988-2014
The French photojournalist who was found murdered in the Central African Republic on Tuesday left behind a remarkable volume of work.
Camille Lepage, 26, spent her career covering East and Central Africa and has been photographing the conflicts of South Sudan since 2012.
Lepage had her work published by several news outlets including the New York Times, LA Times, International Herald Tribune, Al Jazeera, Le Monde newspaper, Vice magazine, and the Guardian. It has been honored by competitions like POYI 2014 and La Bourse du Talent 2013.
“I want the viewers to feel what the people are going through. I’d like them to empathize with them as human beings, rather than seeing them as another bunch of Africans suffering from war somewhere in this dark continent,” she said. “I wish they think: ‘Why on Earth are those people in living hell; why don’t we know about it and why is no one doing anything?’ I would like the viewers to be ashamed of their government for knowing about it without doing anything to make it end.”
Rest your smiles and your eyes in peace
Today in Palestine
1. A Palestinian demonstrator holds portraits of late South African Leader Nelson Mandela and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as he stands in front of Israeli soldier during the weekly demonstration against Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah on Dec. 6, 2013. (Majdi Mohammed/AP)
2. A placard depicting former South African President Nelson Mandela hangs on a barbed wire as a Palestinian protester reacts to tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes at a weekly demonstration against Jewish settlements in the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah on Dec. 6, 2013. (Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)
Female sniper from the YPG.
The YPG (Popular Protection Units) of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) considers itself a popular democratic militia with the mission of maintaining order and protecting the lives of those living in Western Kurdistan and citizens living in the primarily Kurdish districts of Syria against both regime forces, FSA and AL Qaeda affiliates attacks.
They are against Assad, FSA and Al Qaeda?
The Kurds are possibly the closest thing to modern Spartans. I love the Kurdish people, more than I can possibly say.
An aspect of war
What would you do if you were a 22-year-old soldier, nine months into a tour of duty fighting for the US in Vietnam, and every night you didn’t know if a sniper was going to shoot you in your bed?
For James Speed Hensinger, the answer was to get out his camera.
In April 1970, the compound of the 173rd Airborne Brigade had been receiving sporadic night-time visits from a lone Viet Cong gunman, firing down on the soldiers in their huts with an automatic AK47 rifle.
After a while, James explains: “We were pissed off. We decided to use a ‘heavy’ response the next time the sniper hit us.”
The next night, James set himself up in a guard tower near the perimeter of the camp. Using a 35mm Nikon FTN camera, a camera release and some sand bags for a tripod, he waited.
Sure enough, when darkness fell the lone sniper opened fire. And the US army unleashed hell.
From the left and right, two 7.62mm M60 machine guns peppered the hills with rounds, shooting one red tracer for every four normal bullets.
Down in front of James an M42 Duster open turret tank fired its twin 40mm anti-aircraft guns, with its huge white tracers followed by large explosions.
Finally, this was all supplemented by high explosive shells shot from an M2 Browning .50 caliber machine gun, creating white bursts without tracers.
Using long exposures between 15 seconds and one minute, James was able to capture the action with some breath-taking photographs.
He had no idea what they would look like when he mailed them home to be developed, and was amazed when he returned from his 12-month tour to find he had brilliantly recorded the power and force of the American response.
James had kept the pictures to himself until now, choosing to release them to the public in celebration of this year’s Memorial Day in the US.
And though the 66-year-old from Westminster, Colorado remained an enthusiastic photographer, he has never been a professional, instead going on from the army to careers as a petroleum geologist, Volkswagen mechanic, university librarian, software developer, published author, IT manager, and corporate manager.
And did they ever catch the Viet Cong sniper?
“We sent out patrols during the day,” James says, “and found a blood trail one morning. Otherwise, we never found him.
“The rocks on the slope were as big as Volkswagens. It took a very stupid officer to put a pin in the map and say, “Build it [the camp] here.”
Richard Mosse is an Irish contemporary artist working in photography and video.
Mosse’s practise is concerned with post-war and post-catastrophe landscape, linguistics, loss and memory