Photography: Harouna Marané and the art of witnessing with a lens

Stung by the viral photography on the shores of the Ebrié lagoon in 2002, young Harouna Marané decided to make it a job, a passion in Burkina Faso. From classic photography to artistic photography, there is only one step. As long as the photographer cultivates his view. Portrait.

“If there is no emotion, if there is no shock, if we don’t react to sensitivity, we shouldn’t take pictures. This is the photo that captured us,” said Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the greatest French photographers of his time. Harouna Marané claims to be part of today’s humanist photography that only pays attention to humans in their daily lives. For him, the subject’s environment is as important as the subject itself. And perpetuating this set is an art.

Yes, Harouna Marané is an artist. Discreet, but open. With him, artistic photography is a testimony profession where every click freezes a subject for posterity. The practice of this art cannot be improvised, as it requires work, motivation and above all passion.

Harouna Marané at the general assembly of the Federation of the plastics and applied arts sector of Burkina Faso

“I am not one of those who allow themselves to be bullied”

That passion, Harouna Marané has had it since Abidjan when in 2002, he started photography with his “brother”. But his thirst for learning led him to his native Burkina Faso. To fulfill his needs, he launched family photography with a camera received from a relative in 2006. He had to run after the wedding and christening ceremonies. It’s another world, but young Harouna is resourceful and doesn’t allow herself to be distracted.

“When you do a certain job like photography, there are always people who discourage you. They think you are doing this job because you failed. There is also a category of people who think you are unprofessional because you haven’t done any special studies in that area. I am not one of those people who allow themselves to be bullied, discouraged, or verbally humiliated. I choose photography, I love what I do”, states loud and clear, young Marané.

Photo by Harouna Marané

“Camera is one of the best approach tools”

His thirst for learning and desire to stand out and discover new horizons led him down the path of artistic photography. A field that has not been explored much until now. His initiation, he will do so thanks to training organized by the Goethe-Institut and the French Institute (formerly the center of French culture Georges Méliès).

“The camera is one of the best approach tools. This is a gap that opens many doors for you if you know how to hold it well,” assured the young photographer, who won his first win in 2012. He took second place in the illustration category of the human rights creativity competition. This is a competition organized by GIZ, Burkinab Movement for Human and People’s Rights (MBDHP) and Network of Journalist Initiatives (RIJ) with the theme “Right to a healthy environment”.

At the opening of the photo exhibition ”Burkina Faso land of horses”

From victory to victory

In 2013, Harouna Marané took her first steps in photojournalism. In the same year, he won the 2nd prize at the Grand Prix national de la photographie. Two years later, he won 1st place in the “best artist” category at the Directorate General of State Heritage competition. In 2016, his talent was once again rewarded in the first edition of the Focal d’Afrique competition, where he won first prize. His wallet grew in 2019 when he repeated 2015’s feat by climbing to the top of the Norbert Zongo Prize for best photo at the International Festival for Freedom of Expression and the Press (FILEP).

Looking out

Over time, Harouna Marané “digs, digs, digs” on the internet to get inspiration from the creations of other photographers around the world. In 2017 with the support of the Goethe-Institut, he discovered another dimension of artistic photography in Bamako, Mali. This is the surprise. “Bamako is a motivating environment. There is Maison de la photographie, a photography biennale that brings together artists from all over the world. We always come back from Bamako excited to take our work more seriously”.

Harouna Marané is the association president of Photo Club du Burkina

Also in 2017, Harouna Marané was awarded the Villa Waldberta residency grant in Munich, Germany. He perfected his art and exhibited his work in collective exhibitions at the Gasteig gallery. Returning to the country, in 2018 he appeared at Kunstraum, his photo exhibition entitled “Under the veil”. This is an artistic research in which photographers mingle and immortalize, for five months, Muslim women.

“It’s not the camera that takes the picture”

In 2019, Harouna Marané again won a residency grant at the University of Bayreuth as part of a project themed “In/visibilities” in collaboration with the university center Iwalewahaus (research and training center). The following year, amid the pandemic, he was the winner of the SOFACO call for projects for the COVID-19 special lot from the African Culture Fund. In June 2022, he launched a photography exhibition called “Burkina Faso: the land of horses”.

All these victories, Harouna Marané owe to her perseverance and curiosity. “To be a good photographer, you need patience, motivation and above all, passion. You have to think a lot and be ready to learn from the older ones. It’s not the camera that makes the photos, because beautiful photos are taken with a smartphone. It’s not enough just to have a good device. You have to have a good artistic eye,” he boasted.

About the need to unite

Arouna Marané did not evolve into a lone wolf. Apart from being a member of the Burkina Photojournalist Association, he is also the associate president of the Burkina Photo Club. “We must unite, organize ourselves to relaunch photography, especially artistic photography at the national level. In Mali, the government supports artistic photographers. We have to change our perspective so that the state and cultural institutions support us in developing our approach to photography,” suggested the artist, a member of the Burkinabe Copyright Office (BBDA).

The art of canoe fishing, according to the photographer

Safe “Backlight”

While waiting for the State of Burkinab to turn her gaze to artistic photography, Harouna Marané saw her activities slow down due to the security crisis in certain areas of the country such as Boucle du Mouhoun where she often went to take photos in the market area. gardening for NGOs. “We can no longer take pictures everywhere. People are haunted by other evils. In order to adapt, we were forced to create a limited framework to develop our project. I have a photography project that I want to carry out in the Cascades region, but I am stuck”, laments Harouna Marané who hopes for peace to return to explore the city and countryside and recount scenes of Burkinab life . .

Fredo Bassole

Posted in Art

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