Michaël Zumstein, French-Swiss photographer born in 1970, graduated from the Ecole Supérieure de Photographie de Vevey (Switzerland).
Whether working on commission for the French or foreign press or on his personal projects, Zumstein’s work follows a heritage of photojournalism of objective observation that allows himself to honestly render situations and look beyond stereotypes.
While Following the conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Ivory Coast, and Sudan, he focused on the « ambiguous relations between Africa and the West ».
Along with his work on the African continent, Michaël Zumstein covers French political and social news.
For more than a year, he has been photographing a series of stories on the Cité des Courtilières in Pantin. Witnessing the tensions between the youth and the police, he has covered the events at Villiers-le-bel or Clichy-sous-Bois.
Elsewhere, Michaël Zumstein animates photographic studios in Africa for the World Press Photo.
In the town of Mongo, located 400km east of N'Djamena in the Guera region, the Catholic church is launching the construction of a new cathedral, the final step in order to be elevated to the rank of diocese.
In a country were the majority is Muslim, the many Catholics congregations have had to learn to practice their faith in the respect of other beliefs. In fact, out of a population of around 10 million, the catholics only represent 20,3%. And in the region of Mongo itself, they are only 15.000 out of a population of 1,7 million inhabitants.
According to Father Henri Coudray, curate of Mongo's Church, "The best manner for our people to show that our God is a God for all, is by having a...
To recover North-Mali which is currently under Islamist's control, militia groups are being put together in Mopti.
With the help of the NLF: National Liberation Frontand the Ganda Izo (The Sons of Soil), this militia is under the orders of Moussa Traoré (former sergent of the regular army).The soldiers - who are no more than 1300 - are trained by Ibrahim Maiga.
In order to avoid a new military disaster, Ibrahim Maiga has deceided to put up resistance. From parades to never-ending standing at attention, members of the militia group practice in a not so bold assault course, which undeniably shows a true lack of resources. No soldier receives a salary and the militia has no more twenty...
While former Liberian president Charles Taylor (1997 - 2003) has just been found guilty of crimes against humanity as well as war crimes by the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the entire country has to learn to turn a new leaf and rebuild itself.
From the former headquarters of the Charles Taylor party, today an abandoned building in the middle of the city centre, Monrovia follows the trial of the one who was its president for over a decade and who took an active part in the civil war in neighbouring Sierra Leone.
An autocrat at one point, he now leaves behind a trail of orphans where his loyal subjects once were, wandering the old quarters of the General Service Agency. This place in...
Today in Niger, 400.000 children are at risk of dying from Malnutrition. Endemic poverty, an out of control population growth and severe draught are affecting this sub-Saharan country, on the verge of a major health catastrophe. Also this precarious situation is made worse by the geo political instability of its neighbouring country: Chad, Libya and Mali.
The camp of Mangaize, two hours away by road from Niamey, is already refuge to nearly 3000 people, of whom many are children suffering from malnutrition. Fleeing the Malian rebellion that rife in the neighbouring frontier area, families have left everything behind to find themselves totally helpless before the risk of starvation. The...
In Senegal the albino population has had the proof that their fight against discrimination is far from being over.
Carrying on their shoulder the double burden of being different and having a higher predisposition for skin cancer, the albinos from Senegal also suffer from people’s superstitions. At all times, albinos have been the victims of fear and irrationality.
Excluded from society and at times even from their own family, there are very few places where they feel welcomed and accepted.
Mohamadou Bamba Diop, President of the National Association of Senegalese Albinos, owns a shelter in his house in Thiès, located 70 km away from Dakar.
Adding to the fear of an already...
Senegal has designated its new president in the person of Macky Sall, whose candidature against Wade was supported by the opposition coalition.
Even though Macky Sall used to be Prime Minister of Abdoulaye Wade, he represented for many the only possible alternative to Wade’s highly criticized – both on the national and international scene – will to run for a third mandate.
Conflicts in Senegal blemished the announcement of Wade’s third stint. And if Wade has conceded defeat to Macky Sall, the country expects great changes from their new President and it’s political party.
Religious brotherhoods play a major role in Senegalese society. Spiritually and economically powerful, these groups can act as lobbies and jeopardize the State secularism.
The Mouride Brotherhood, whose spiritual centre is in the city of Touba, 200 kilometres from Dakar, is the most powerful of these religious groups. Groundnuts production and trade are under its control and the brotherhood claims four millions disciples, including outgoing president Abdoulaye Wade. First Mouride president of Senegal, Wade speaks openly of his obedience and uses politically his supports in his community.
Wade’s declarations don’t go down well with other brotherhoods. The Layènes of Dakar, a minority...
Abidjan Zoo is located on one of the highlights of the fightings that took place in the capital. In the neighborhood of Abobo and Cocody, the place, which looks melancholic and has crumbling equipments, is at the border of the road leading to the police camp of Agban, a strategic location.
Recently, three lions that used to be one of the attraction of the zoo were buried in the shade of ancient trees, creating a feeling of emptiness. In total, there are about forty animals which have perished, leaving only 112 residents. We remember the loss of five camels offered by Gaddafi in the same zoo a year ago.
But after a crisis that has made at least 3,000 dead and tens of thousands...
After four months of a political crisis, the confrontation between the internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara and the outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo almost led the Côte d'Ivoire and Abidjan to civil war. On April, 11th 2011, the fallen president was arrested in his house by Alassane Ouattara’s supporters.
Facing a fierce opposition from the FANCI (National Armed Forces of Côte d'Ivoire) supporting Laurent Gbagbo, the Republican Forces had to fight during two weeks in the economic capital before the former president and his last loyal soldiers were finally arrested.
Nevertheless, the new president Alassane Ouattara has another fight lying ahead of him: pacify a...
Since the end of November and the defeat of the outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo against his opponent, the former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara, fears of civil war have risen in Ivory Coast.
The international community supports Alassane Ouattara, and his election, announced by the Independent Electoral Commission, seemed to lead to a changeover of political power, 10 years after the previous elections.
Ouattara only has a few means of action, and has taken refuge in the Golf Hotel in Abidjan.
Outgoing president Gbagbo in fact refuses to admit his defeat, keeping the power, and leading everyday his country closer to a political and diplomatic dead end.
As the international...
Ten years after the last elections, Ivory Coast’s voters are going to elect their new president at the end of October, 2010.
Electoral lists, made by the Independent Electoral National Commission (CENI) will allow 5,7 millions electors to take part in the presidential elections of the 31th of October 2010.
“Since the independence, this former French colony, first cacao-producing country in the world, has never had a poll so open and fair.” (AFP)
Lagos, capital of Nigeria, is now paying the prize of the country’s growth. Banks, telecommunications and oil companies try to settle in the city, making the price of land follow the surge of oil – Nigeria becoming world’s second exporter to United States.
More attractive than ever, the city of Lagos has now to deal with thousands of migrants, coming from the inland and border countries to gather in squalid shanty towns. One of them, Festac Town, was a symbol of modernity in the 1970s, when it was built. Nowadays, the district no longer provides neither electricity nor running water but only precarious and derelicted housing conditions. As many others, its streets are often flooded...
The Evariste Gallois Jr. High School in Nanterre (a suburb just outside Paris), has developed various initiatives in order to prevent violent behaviours within the school and among students. Working in an area of high unemployment and low social mix, teachers, counsellors and social workers repeat school rules, listen, help and keep on teaching.
Confronted by a growing social unrest, firefighters today see their field of action opening up to new challenges far from the typical job description.
The firestation of Pars d’Aubervilliers responded to a part of 500,000 parisian calls in 2009. The jurisdiction of this Parisian suburb of covers six districts ranging from office building complexes to a major northbound highway a part of Paris’s Périphérique or primary highway complex.
Most of these firefighters were born and raised in this region and find themselves in the middle of a powerful and rapidly growing social distress. The fires they have been prepared to fight have been replaced by a new threat.
For now, fire...
The numerous stories that Michaël Zumstein has photographed for the press has allowed him to document French social news.
Unemployment, immigration, education, Michaël Zumstein combines journalistic rigor with sensitivity to provide a look beyond the stereotypes of today’s reporting. Accustomed to sensitive situations, he chronicles daily life in the Parisian suburbs of Aubervilliers, Villiers-le-bel, Pantin, and la Courneuve.
For five months, Michael Zumstein followed various candidates criss-crossing France. From meeting to meeting, the halls must be full to feel that the popular momentum backs each contender for the highest office.
Five months of persuasion and battling to win support. The photographer provides a look behind this process, its actors, and its exercise, and decodes the dramatisation of this story, where, in the end, only one will win.
Liberia is the world largest rubber producer. However, like many other African countries, Liberia imports old and dangerous used tires manufactured in the U.S, used in Europe and then sold in Africa.
In the middle of this chain is the Harbel hevea tree (rubber tree) plantation, owned since 1926 by the American company Firestone, sole exporter of Liberian rubber to the U.S.
With work conditions reminiscent of the bloody history of the Congo latex exploitation in the 19th century, 10,000 workers cut through the brushwood, make incisions in and treat the 8 million trees of the plantation for $2 a day.
A month-long, 1 400 km journey by railroad to the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo (ex-Zaïre) from Kindu in the central province of Maniema to Lubumbashi in the southern province of Katanga. We sleep on the train, we live on it, we start on it, we fight on it, we break the law on it, we die on it . Perfect immersion : Africa is on the train ; the train is on Africa .
« This railroad line is a line of life, said Michaël Zumstein, on the return journey. Without the train, Lubumbashi, the country’s second most populated city, lacks foodstocks and no longer exports pens, dishes, and other manufactured products that now come from China through the Maniema enclave. » There are no...
Since January 2006, about 50 young Senegalese from Thiaroye's neighbourhood have been lost at sea trying to get to the Canary Islands in dugout.
Getting together mothers who lost their son at sea, the Group of Thiaroye's Women tries to dissuade the young people to leave and risk their life.
Lokichokio is an artificial town, emerging from a no man’s land located in northern Kenya near the Sudanese border.
15 years ago, in this remote “Far East” a UN camp was temporarily set up. To give aid to the Southern Sudanese war-wounded, more than 80 NGOs worldwide came to settle, under UN supervision, in this 300-inhabitant village.
Today, the small village has turned into a 25000-inhabitant city, including 300 expatriates. In spite of this gathering of know-hows and facilities, today in Lokichokio, there are only four water wells, no garbage collection and no electricity.
The flurry oh humanitarian aid jumbo-jet punctuate a daily emergency that has been lasting for...
Before me comes chaos... From Zaïre to Congo (2003)
The former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko never ceased to say, « Before me comes chaos, after comes the flood. » In 1997, after 35 years of power, the dictator was overthrown by a rebellion supported by neighboring Rwanda. But the signs of civil war were already present in the outrageous exploitation of wealth, corruption, and tribal structures.
The pillages, calls to murder, and the ensuing rebellions used the same weapons of the regime they had deposed. Seven African nations became involved in the conflict.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo had created on its soil the « first African world war. »
In 2003, to set an end to the violence between the Hemas and Lendus in the town of...