Best Self Magazine

Inside Africa: The panAFRICAproject

panAFRICAproject, photograhy of modern Africa, by Lou Jones

Photograph by Lou Jones

Photographer Lou Jones describes an ambitious project to create a contemporary, visual portrait of modern Africa.

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Folded under me, my knees were about to explode. My heavy camera bag was in my lap. The compass pointed due north to my destination in Ghana — a clinic in the epicenter of Asante territory, 250 kilometers from Accra. For two days I had bumped over red clay dirt roads, stuffed into the rumble seat of an American vintage pickup truck. My body was no longer capable of absorbing this kind of abuse. So began my ambitious quest to photograph the continent of Africa…country by country.

A number of years before, I read a newspaper article that reported the African Union was contemplating censoring western access to the continent because of their negative, biased coverage of only poverty, pestilence or conflict. At first I was appalled at such a kneejerk reaction, but eventually I came around to their way of thinking. In an effort to stem this craven indifference, I contemplated how my profession might help ameliorate the problem by depicting Africa in a realistic, yet more positive way.

My career as a freelance photographer and Road WaRRioR (a long-term project sharing my experiences as a social documentary photographer) prepared me for the rigors of travel. While

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