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Pierrot Men, biography

Born in November 1954 in Midongy-du-Sud, on Madagascar’s east coast, Pierrot Men lives and works in Fianarantsoa, where he runs the city’s largest photographic laboratory, the “Labo Men.” His relationship with photography dates back to 1974, when he opened his first laboratory. Yet, at that time and for many years, photography was nothing more than a simple support (artistic and financial) to his first passion, painting. Between passport photos, baptisms and weddings, this situation will last for 17 years, until the day one of his friends shows a frankness that will change the course of his artistic activity: she tells him without detours that his photographs on which he bases himself to paint are much better than their pictorial result. This is how he came to abandon the easel to devote himself solely to photography.

The result was not long in coming: in 1994, he won the Mother Jones competition (San Francisco), which rewarded a Leica who has not left him since. This is the beginning of a recognition that today goes far beyond the borders of the Big Island. Awarded several prizes (Jeux de la francophonie in Madagascar in 1997, UNEP/Canon prize in 2000…), Pierrot Men’s photographic work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions and publications.

It is difficult to sum up his work in a few words… His work (since we can call it that) is both reportage and author photography it is full of humanism, it makes us feel all the dignity of the subjects he photographs. Finely composed, always with discretion, his images show an astonishing capacity to be constantly amazed by his environment, Madagascar. For if his photographic universe extends far beyond the Indian Ocean, Pierrot Men’s work is inseparable from the Big Island, and it is he who recognizes it: “I never photograph as well as what I know.” And it is true that, moving away from photographic reporting, he succeeds, in these extracts of life, to capture the essence of a country and to give us a breath of plenitude and emotion, like a little pure air… So that the authenticity, the soul and the unity of a people are perpetuated. – Franck Remy (Photographer)

Translated from

Rijasolo, biography

Rijasolo, was born in France.
In 2004, he went back to Madagascar, the country of his roots, which he had not visited for 20 years. With the help of a local council in Brittany, he set up photography workshops for young people in the town of Antsiranana (Diego Suarez). At the same time he started a wandering work called “MIVERINA”, in which he strove to show how difficult it was to regain an intimate relationship with Madagascar.
His selection at the 2005 Rencontres de la Photographie Africaine in Bamako gave him the confidence he need to work as a full-time photographer.
In December 2006, he embarked on a photojournalism course in Paris (EMI-CFD).
He was a reporter-photographer for the Wostok Press agency during the 2007 French presidential campaign, and in November of the same year, went on to set up RIVA PRESS ( in association with four photojournalists concerned with maintaining an independent view. Since he collaborates with french newspapers and magazines as Libération, Le Monde, Paris Match or Jeune Afrique.
In 2010, he won the 1st prize of Leica 35 mm wide angle contest.
In 2011, Rijasolo decided to return living in Madagascar where he focuses on reportage and corporate. Since 2013 he is AFP stringer.
In 2013, He published his first book of photography “Madagascar, nocturnes” (no comment® editions) about nightlife in Madagascar.

Rijasolo lives and works in Antananarivo, Madagascar.


Edouard Elias – Technical considerations… “SOS Méditerranée”

Each rotation at sea lasts 3 weeks. No stopover.” It was therefore obvious that the choice in terms of material would be important, even crucial from a mood point of view. Indeed, there was no way I would get frustrated not to have taken such a lens or camera… As a result I took everything. So it became necessary to bring a 22 Kilo bag into the plane as hand-luggage. I was less effective on the rest: toothpaste, socks and waterproof bags didn’t get the same attention, and I did miss these items.

My material of choice mainly comes from a psychological approach to shooting. I had the chance to test, use and work with different camera bodies. In the end, my decision is the simplest, most basic approach to cameras I keep in manual mode, leaving behind an ultra-technical approach that would occupy all my thoughts and therefore concentrating on intuition and emotions. Their often limited size allows me to be faster, save future physiotherapist fees and be less impressive for the subject.

How many stories on migration have we seen since the beginning of the year? Hundreds and hundreds? According to the media, a total flood. But how can one not go to photograph this subject of historical importance? So how can I bring something different when I will not follow the whole story but only one stage of a migration: the rescue part in the Mediterranean sea? My answer was to go further as a photographer, using different cameras and trying to convey more than information: that emotion I was mentioning above.

This time, even though I was commissioned by a magazine, I was able to negotiate to shot in black and white, more conducive to timelessness of the image but above all to obtain a more graphic approach. So I chose a digital Leica Monochrome, a Leica M240, my faithful companion on the road (in case I would still need colour, one never knows). Today, digital cameras offer an ease, a rise in sensitivity of unequalled quality. Then, and it was a first for a professional project, I chose to also shoot film.

My choice focused on the interesting aspect of the panoramic as a purveyor of dynamic framing. Also it is much more cinematographic and fitting for a maritime atmosphere, for the vastness of the sea facing the isolation of these drifting human beings. The environment had to be oppressive, the definition had to be high enough to produce gigantic prints and thus leave a mark on the public. So I took a Hasselblad Xpan and its 45mm as well as the large format Linhof 617 S III, 90mm f5.6 which absolutely seduced me. The challenge was to use this camera freehand, contrary to its usual tripod use. I alternated between films at 400 iso when I had time to pre-focus with a Leica and set the distance on the Linhoff. Otherwise, in action, I would put in some Ilford 3200 delta, exposed at 1600 iso. This allowed me, in broad daylight, to photograph at f32 and 1/500 while focused at hyperfocal distance.

During the rescues, I found myself with the four cameras strapped around me and I used them according to my needs. I was lucky not to fall in the water. So much for my physiotherapist wishful thinking…

The result, right from seeing the contact sheets, seduced me. Today, I would like to systematically take the Xpan or Linhof with me, for my personal or professional projects. Of course it would depend on the logistics. I would like to keep this panoramic choice, it fits much more with my framing approach in adequacy with my interest for classical art, especially frescoes.

Timeline – To each is own language…

French to English…

English to French…