This is the Prince René Douala Manga Bell, leader of "Bali", one of the many districts in Douala downtown. I met him just before the Ngondo Ceremony I told you about the last few days.
I discovered that Prince Manga Bell had a palace located in Douala itself and ornated with many symbols (lions, crocodiles, a kind of magic key, etc...). Each district has a kind of traditional chief getting his power from his father.
Prince René Douala Manga Bell, Prince of the Sawa people, did live in France. He was a soldier during the Indochine war in the 1950's, then a french journalist at the ORTF. He did became Prince in the 1970's when he's old brother died since Alexandre had no son. I believe that he's a direct child of the King Manga Bell I just mentionned above.
René Douala Manga Bell has a large house in Bali but rules a large palace. Not the Pagoda built in 1905 by his father Rudolf Duala Manga Bell and located in the "Bonanjo" district but a new one called "Nyasam Betote" located in the "Bali" district.
One of his ancestors, the Bell king (Lobe Bebe Bele Ba Doo) was one of the 4 main kings who ruled the actual Douala together with Kings "Akwa", "Priso" and "Ekwalla". Each of them did rule a specific district of the actual Douala respectively called "Bonanjo", "Bonaberi", "Akwa" and "Deido". They were dealing with the European people within a court called "court of Equity" which was set up in 1856.
Critiques | Translate
Vasylis (1410) 2006-12-06 15:58
A very strong , well done photo.
SamB (1948) 2006-12-06 22:57
Interesting take on this one. The foreground table really adds some interesting depth and substance to the picture, but what keeps on catching me are the hard diagonal lines--from the cane to the prince, then from the prince to the mural, and then up the mural. It's interesting to see the contrast between the (viewer's) left-facing mural and the right facing prince, as well as the strong resemblence of the mural and the prince. Is the mural of the prince or a relative?
luisafonso (862) 2006-12-07 4:15
This is one of the best portraits I've seen lately. This reminds me the old painting style when photography wasn't an option. You included several elements that connect to the subject himself and his magnificent posture really adds a lot of character here. One can really draw so much of his own personality just looking at this. Great work Steven.
sebcz (2345) 2006-12-07 4:27
I like it, two faces, big and small. Takes a moment to study the expressions.
pgorod (1019) 2006-12-07 5:57
Indeed an outstanding portrait! I love the three depth levels (background, person, table), the colors and the lines that SamB pointed out.
Perhaps what strikes me the most is a certain irony I detect from the fact that he's laid back so lazily, despite all the royal signs that surround him (the most significant of which would definitely be his deep, confident look!).
eleparc (24063) 2006-12-07 6:52
geniale cette photo. un décor kitch à souhait et un prince fatigué...haha! les couleurs sont fortes et donnent du punch à la photo!
terimakasi74 (283) 2006-12-07 9:03
Just excellent! You proof a good eye for the interesting.
designsoul (21492) 2006-12-07 16:15
Absolutely superb portrait, Steven, on so many levels: to shoot a prince from such closeup is already a treat for us, but to shoot him in this pose, whether he is tired or just not comfortable in his guilded armchair, we don't know; to see his own portrait painted on the wall is another incredible graphic momentum, so is that utterly tacky clock on the table in front of him. A superbly done shot that i hope you sent him...
fantastic work, bravo!
manub (920) 2006-12-10 10:14
splendide double portrait! quelle expression! (et splendide horloge). Je regrette juste le bras jaune qui dépasse sur la droite...
merci pour la note très informative.
et merci aussi de poster des images du Cameroun et d'Afrique en général, malheureusement sous-représentée sur TE!
ciec (1081) 2006-12-15 14:15
Excellent portrait wit the picture in the back, the prince in the middel ( did he drink too much ? ) and the funny 'swiss?' clock, completing it.
verswe (7322) 2007-03-28 16:25
Hé, excellent picture and interresting note, too.
Good combination of levels in the picture, Steven.
Luko (13998) 2007-09-03 14:04
Et il t'a pris combien çui là pour la photo? au moins 20USD négocié à 5€, je sens que c'est du lourd :D ...
J'aime beaucoup le coucou suisse ou maison bavaroise très couleur locale, ça pose son altesse sérenissime. Dommage pour la manche sur le côté droit....
marietom (34609) 2008-02-02 4:06
Très bien vu, il y a quelques petits trésors, dans ta galerie !
- Copyright: Steven Le Vourc'h (Curioso) (9271)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2006-12-03
- Categories: Festivals
- Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Tamron 28-75 f2.8 DI, Digital RAW, Hama UV 67 mm
- Exposure: f/4.5, 1/100 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Travelogue: LIVING IN CAMEROON
- Date Submitted: 2006-12-06 15:56