«Vanishing Youth» – South Sudan (Jonglei)
After a month of fighting and marching in the Jonglei region of South Sudan, the young Lou Nouer return to the village after stealing the herds of the opposing tribe, the Murle, their opponents. Exhausted, They return, carrying, on their thinned shoulders, the weight of the loss of their brothers killed in combat.
As I cross the village Yuai, Lou Nuer territory, to go to the market, I see this group of young people, twenties, sitting under a tree. Some rest, others argue, their AK47 is placed on the green grass of the meadow. I approach slowly, mumbling a few words in local Arabic. They look at me and see my camera, suddenly, they get up. They then adjust their t-shirts with holes, redo their laces, pull up their pants or take off their kepi. Kalash in hand, they put on their African military masks: the smiles disappear, a piercing look replaces them. As if this photo allowed them to show their strength and to announce to the world that they had stolen the life of their enemies forever. A touch of innocence, however, lights their faces, leaving imagine that life or death, peace or conflict did not matter to them.
Camiile Lepage – august 30, 2013