Christian Als

04.05.2012 in14:38 in Documentary -->


Christian Als is a Danish photographer who is concerned with global social, political and economic issues. Als’ interest in photography developed in the late 1990s after extensive travels in the Third World. Als has had a successful career as a photojournalist, working in many countries on both photographic and humanitarian projects, including Gaza, Haiti, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, China, Tibet, Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Lebanon, Syria, Latvia and India.
Als has won numerous awards, including an Honorable Mention in UNICEF Photo of the Year 2009 and second place in the News Picture Story – Newspaper category of the 67th Pictures of the Year International (POYi) award. He was a jury member for the China International Press Photo Contest. This year his series ‘Kibera – the Shadow City’ was shorlisted for the Prix Pictet Prize.
He says: “I undertook the Kibera project in a quest to document and visualise the term ‘urbanisation’. Given the scale of human growth today, this project could have been carried out in many different places on Earth. However, while travelling to another assignment, I happened to fly over Kibera and witnessed a scene that I will never forget. Shortly afterwards, I went straight back to Nairobi and began planning this project. I first visited one of Africa’s largest slums in 2007 and was to return continuously over the course of the next three years.
I plan to return again to Kibera, because, for me, the project is not a closed process. The slum grows by the day, and I feel that I must return in order to witness and document the latest changes.
For me, Kibera is a dichotomy – absolutely sad in many ways, so full of problems and harsh living conditions, but at the same time it is marked with the stunning beauty and courage of all its inhabitants. It might be a shadow city, but once in a while light shines on the least expected places. Kibera is a place that stays with you.”