Senegal, Africa: The First 2 Villages

I’m currently in Africa on behalf of Photographers Without Borders travelling with two great people from WaterCharity. We are visiting multiple water project sites across the country that have been initiated by the Peace Corps and funded by WaterCharity. I know, many organizations but all doing amazing work out here.

The first village we visited was Reur Daouda Cisse, in the Thies region. We has a very warm welcome from the village and the village chief. I have to send out a huge thank you to (Karen …) from the Piece Corps for setting it all up. She’s been living with her host family for about 20 months now and it’s amazing to see how appreciative the village is for all her hard work, they really respect her.

It’s also really eye opening to see how far a little water can go in terms of the sustainability of the village. The obviously aspect is for drinking but then you have so many other needs . We had a great explanation at the first village about plans to pipe water over to their cashew fields so they would have more of their own food, keep work for their people in the village and potentially act as a model for other villages.

So what about the technical details on the photography side? First off, clouds don’t seem to exist here, so my light source, let’s just say, is very strong. Normally, I have to worry about buying expensive fast lenses because of low light situations. In this case, it’s all about capturing the shot without blowing out my backgrounds and highlights on the subjects faces. Therefore, I’ve been exposing primarily for the backgrounds, knowing that I will have to pull out the shadows on the faces in post processing. This has all been done in Lightroom and of course shooting in RAW. Lastly, as I suspected, my 24-70mm 2.8 has been the workhorse lens for most of these shots.

That’s it for now, I’ll try to post more whenever I have access to wifi. Enjoy!


Thies Region

Thies Region

Village Chief welcoming us to the village.

Thies Region

Thies Region

A well that will be refurbished, you can see how cracked the walls have become.

Thies Region

Pointing out the cashews!

Thies Region

Karen’s host mother in the cook house

Thies Region

Karen’s host family.

Thies Region

Photographing children in the villages is a portrait photographers dream. They natural set themselves up in the perfect poses every time!

Kaffrine Region

Bankoto Village: Jessie Maier has been working on latriene projects and educating the village on hand sanitation. 

Kaffrine Region

Jessie’s tree! It’s really hard to keep things alive here, so she’s very proud of her Maringa tree in the Center of the village. Plus, this tree has a great deal to offer to a village. 

Kaffrine Region

A friend of Jessie’s teaching the kids a few games, she was amazing with the kids.


Sunay Shah on May 15, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Amazing. Thanks for sharing Marc.

Beautiful work Marc; love the pictures!

Well done! Keep up the great work!

Sophie Maheo on May 15, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Thanks for sharing this amazing experience – can’t wait to hear all the details when you come back! Until then, enjoy every minute of it 🙂

Beautiful. Luv it!

So inspiring Marc.. I’m sharing these pictures and your experience with my students to teach them about solidarity and how people coming together for one purpose can really make a difference!

That’s awesome! So happy you are doing that!

Your pictures are amazing Marc! Can’t wait to hear more about this wonderful adventure 🙂

Karen Chaffraix on May 19, 2014 at 11:52 am

Mark, your loving spirit and excellent eye is obvious is in every shot you take. And I’m so impressed with your equipment. You can tell that the glass is outstanding — the shots are clear, well-lit, smooth yet with incredible detail, and the color is true to nature yet vivid. Excellent work, my friend. It was a pleasure to watch you work, and to have you as part of the visiting team from Water Charity.

Great pics, what an experience, most excellent adventure..

Kimberly Scutt on May 29, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Wow, what an experience. Makes me want to go. Inspiring