This is from a small village called Tangora near the town of Banfora in southwestern Burkina Faso. This picture was taken in 1982, when the country was still known as Upper Volta.
I was on a long tour of West Africa writing freelance stories for various magazines and papers. Sometimes I was in touch with UN staff and invited to visit their projects. This was one of those occasions, when I spent a day with staff from the UNICEF and a local organization.
In this village we arrived while a midwife from town was doing health checks of the smallest children. I can't say I was extremely interested in watching this, but I was certainly pleased to see that such check-ups were done in the small villages of a country as poor as that. I mainly used the opportunity to take a few pictures. There will be two more as workshops.
I had to consult my diary from that journey to recall the circumstances and the name of the village. That is how I found out the exact date of the visit.
All pictures were scanned from Ilford FP4 negatives. These are original B&W pictures, not converted in my computer.
Critiques | Translate
Silvio1953 (124729) 2013-05-10 10:20
Ciao Gert, fashinating B&W composition with lovely scene, excellent clarity, fine details and splenddi light, very well done, my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio
Romano46 (18466) 2013-05-10 10:29
certe foto non hanno tempo.
Che tu l'abbia scattata nel 1982 è relativamente importante. Allora non c'era il digitale e il bianco e nero andava alla grande. Certo la resa in digitale sicuramente è ben diversa dalla stampa in BN , ma restano inalterate le espressioni che hai colto su questa gente, al di là della definizione più o meno elevata del fotogramma.
Rimangono documenti storici di grande importanza. Basti osservare la bilancia! Oggi ce ne sarebbe una elettronica, ma non credo, al di là di questo particolare che la situazione in questi trenta anni sia molto cambiata, almeno in questo luogo che hai ripreso.
E questo ci dovrebbe far riflettere molto.
Ciao e buon fine settimana.
rychem (24654) 2013-05-10 10:52
You have an extensive collection of documents from past times, this is one of them, interesting scene, valuable picture
mesutilgim (86134) 2013-05-10 11:35
Hello dear Gert,
Another "evergreen" in b&w ! A timeless taste.
Many interesting and usefull notes.
TFS and have a nice weekend
pajaran (53022) 2013-05-10 12:05
Vrlo interesantan i dobar tekst sa datim podacima ...
Dobar rad sa lepim fotografijama u radionici.
Ostaju fotografije i secanja.
Lepa crno-bela fotografija dobijena skeniranjem negativa.
Prijatno vece i sve najbolje za vikend.
Very interesting and good text with the given data ...
Good work with beautiful photographs of the workshop.
Photographs and memories remain.
Beautiful black and white photographs obtained by scanning the negatives.
Good evening and all the best for the weekend.
williewhistler (14697) 2013-05-10 13:58
Hello Gert,the quality of the original Ilford negatives is first rate, the image has a very fine range of tones in a strong composition.
A photograph that has a great deal of interest,it is simply a stunning shot,BW at its very best.
Best regards Les.
zoomer (6) 2013-05-10 14:02
Hi,this picture shows the orderly and neighborly fashion in which the check-ups were carried out.Great human interest recorded here,all the best,Wolf.
lousat (78503) 2013-05-10 14:12
Hi Gert,a magnificent piece of your precious archive,taken 31 years ago but i think that nothing is changed in this poor country,a very bright capture whit perfect details,you were lucky to made these trips when you was young! Have a nice weekend and thanks,Luciano
carlo62 (34572) 2013-05-10 14:33
questa è la fotografia, un attimo, un momento, fermo per sempre.
Quello che ci mostri è un documento molto interessante, un momento di grande evoluzione per questo popolo, purtroppo i risultati, dopo tutti questi anni, non sono cambiati molto.
Una condivisione ammirevole
siudzi (34047) 2013-05-10 14:33
Wow! What a great daily life scene you have captured! Excellent composition of this group of people seen and taken from a good POV. Very interesting work as well as your note. TFS.
worldcitizen (7137) 2013-05-10 15:00
Another fine documentary shot from the past. I admire that you have been to so many remote places. I like the woman smiling at the camera, and the small child that is investigating the table. The WS photos are also very interesting.
batalay (35791) 2013-05-10 15:16
Fascinating and timeless image posted of Burkina Faso, previously known as Upper Volta. I remember in the 70s when the United States was considering going metric, and abandoning the Imperial System, it used to be said, "The United States is the only nation left using the Imperial System of measurement, with the exception of Upper Volta." I wonder if the latter nation went metric yet. The astonishing happenstance is that the United States still resists it. 220 years ago the erudite and enlightened Thomas Jefferson had pushed for the metric system, paralleling France that had gone metric under the scientist Lavoisier.
Warm regards and have a good weekend,
ACL1978 (7507) 2013-05-10 15:29
Beautiful B&W Gert, and of an important service in rural Africa. I'm pleased to see that not only is it offered, it seems to be quite popular.
bukitgolfb301 (36516) 2013-05-10 16:13
Hello dear Gert
This is another precious archive from your endless lifework stocks. So tasteful and impressive B&W tone and shot. I can perceive thier life so well and so vividly. Greatest job and work as usual! This is really along with TE policy, Gert!
Thanks a lot and have a good weekend!
Takero from rainy Tokyo
rogerl (1544) 2013-05-10 17:21
Gerd, this is a great scan from film. The detail is just outstanding, and it's a great composition to start with. Lots of people, all focused on that table. I'd love to see this shot in color. Thanks.
Nicou (124295) 2013-05-11 1:56
quelle compo NB on pèse et prend la grandeur des enfant, très touchante image de ces mères avec leurs enfant et ce rendu splendide captage.
Bravo et amitié
ourania (32867) 2013-05-11 2:11
I like very much the group portrait and the information icluded in this frame. A very sharp, detailed and deep view into the daily life of the people of then Upper Volta. The interaction among the people and the details that surround them is superb. They look almost 3D, their naturalness, their facing various directions and the central lady's look into your lens, make our impression of this scene very immediate and vivid. The monochrome treatment is wonderful. In this, as well as in the superb workshop pictures I love the closeness of the people. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely weekend,
dkmurphys (50224) 2013-05-11 2:12
I was a year old when you took this image :P. Great every day scene document, I like your great gallery of past better times.
Have a fine weekend.
marabu61 (8755) 2013-05-11 3:22
I really enjoy your great archives of documents from the past. It is so good to see all these wonderful places from a time long gone by.
It is good to see that even as early as the 80ties the UN helped the african communities with health and education. This is such a charming daily life scene from central Africa.
1982 was the year I moved to Stockholm for my first job abroad, so the date bring back great memories to me to.
hejdå och trevlig helg
Wanda1 (14982) 2013-05-11 3:28
Another great documentary shot from your archives, well composed to include the scale in the foreground. I hope that these health checks are still being performed these days. I see you were using good old Ilford film, the best for black and white in my opinion.
saxo042 (37588) 2013-05-11 9:11
En fin gammal bild. Det finns en tydlig diagonal linje i bilden fast den har många delar. Den börjar i vågskålen och slutar i en stolsrygg. Personerna här är väl samlade kring denna diagonal. Extrabilderna är också bra. Vem sålde du artikeln till?
agjika (3616) 2013-05-11 14:55
Another timeless photo. It doesn't get more Africa than this! Fantatic journalistic photo, candid and they seem to ignore you completely!
Thanks for sharing
bayno (18342) 2013-05-12 3:33
you must be proud of this fine document in its original format B & W, as well as being a beautiful photo is a valuable report on the situation of those years, excellent contrast and sharp and a perfect framing, nice job...
have a good sunday...
chrisvek (7001) 2013-05-12 8:15
Wow.So wonderful composition with amazing atmosphere.Very nice POV and awesome lighning.Very good job.
All the best
eldancer1 (29055) 2013-05-12 18:47
It must have been a wonderful experience and adventure to see Africa from a writer's perspective. My college degree was in Journalism. This is a great documentation of life in this village especially in B&W. (But I prefer Kodak Tri-X to Ilford film.) I hope those people made great progress in life since this was taken. Well done, tfs.
jhm (140689) 2013-05-13 4:24
Back to your archive with these three wonderful pictures.
I don't not or a lot is changed since your visit.
Excellent depth and perspective picture.
Sharpness and clarity make these picture attractive.
Very well done, TFS.
COSTANTINO (56837) 2013-05-13 10:36
your photos are a real miracle
they help everybody to travel
all over the world,I like
the sepia used in this capture
all the details are verywell composed
the portraits are verywelldone
one shot is one thousand words
have a nice evening
SnapRJW (31613) 2013-05-14 0:25
Hello Gert - How did I miss these? A really special trio of shots that seem to point back to another age. I'm sure scenes like this are still commonplace in some areas of Africa but these capture the rural feel and unquestioning compliance and discipline of the African women. Not that I wish in any way to knock the routine health checks but the status of African women in their society has changed a lot since 1982 and female voices become more strident. What I really like about the shots is the way they document community so well. Excellent. Warm regards rosemary
tyro (20782) 2013-05-14 1:58
A fascinating trio of photographs and an inteersting note too. How nice that health checks were being carried out on these mothers and their children thirty years ago - and I just hope that this tradition continues here.
These are three fine "record" shots but they are much more than that because in every single one of the three pictures there is interaction between at least one of the group and the photographer.
Perhaps not the highest quality of photographs here but, together with your note, they represent a very fine posting for TE.
Graal (98351) 2013-05-14 23:18
nice archival photo here. Good scan. Nice portraits and reportage about daily life in Africa. Also interesting WS. Photos I like.
Have a nice day.
abmdsudi (44328) 2013-05-15 22:43
Excellent documentary shot and interesting moment of daily life, with good pov as the weighing machine leads from the bottom of frame. An interesting picture - these children are fathers and mothers now - just one of your excellent scans, sharp and good tonal contrast, very good portraits of all these people. An excellent shot and as always a good accompanying note, Congrats, TFS.
adores (38240) 2013-05-22 16:57
Another good old daily scene here! It's great in b&w and I like their expressions and details all around, including this scale in foreground. It must have been a great experience for you!
You should post the image 2 as a main post also. That row of women holding their babies is really something! Very good work!
kato (11630) 2013-06-20 4:02
It's interesting daily life shot in a small village, so it's interesting and impressive to see the spectacle in which a midwife from town is doing health checks of the smallest children. Maybe, the balance set to the side lookss like for measuring a child's weight. It's interesting in their traditional clothes and cute children, too. And, the nature of backdrop shows this circumstance well.
delpeoples (53421) 2013-06-21 4:17
A photo that has aged like fine wine. What a B&W shot, and a superb historical document. The tones - particularly the skin tones - are wonderful. I like the vertical frame and the way you have composed it is really impressive.
Thanks for sharing, have a lovely day
fabbs99 (16747) 2013-06-26 23:02
Great documentary shot in B&W of health check up in Africa.Amazing sharpness and contrast as well as perfect lights. Very well done.
Urs (14082) 2013-07-22 3:16
That looks like an unconventional post office, a real time document. You also did a great job scanning the picture, I would love to have the time to do it with my archive as well. But so far, my trials were not satisfactory.
Yes my post from Laos was not so idyllic, the bulldozer was there but he should construct another dirt road for the farmers, which are planting here paddy. Behind the trees there is the river and more forested area ..
janraiski (558) 2013-08-07 5:32
interesting scene, nicely composed.
subhendu_bagchi (25877) 2014-02-15 3:45
this nice daily life presentation catch my eyes while taking a glance in your gallery. Excellent composition. Nicely done monochrome conversation made it atmospheric. Excellent depth and light. There are so many point of attractions are here in this frame.Great moody one. Tfs.