Top – ‘How I made fathers in Senegal carry babies on their backs’

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Birama, a civil engineer, and Ndeye Fatou in the Residence de la Paix neighbourhood in Dakar, Senegal

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Marta Moreiras

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Birama, a civil engineer, and his child Ndeye

Marta Moreiras and the topics of her portraits – fathers carrying infants on their backs – had been stunned by the eye they attracted as she took their pictures on the streets of Senegal’s capital Dakar.

“Individuals had been clapping – typically it was a bit arduous to take the image as a result of we had been having such a big viewers,” the Spanish photographer instructed the BBC.

“All the ladies had been like: ‘Hey, give me 5, I’ll name my husband – we do not see this day by day.”

And that’s precisely why Moreiras began her venture, which has been shortlisted for the portraiture class of this yr’s Sony World Images Awards Skilled competitors.

The concept got here to her when she was trying via her photograph archive, which for Senegal goes again to 2008.

“I realised that I had tonnes of images of mummies with infants on their again, however I simply puzzled why I did not have any of males.”

Kumba and Binta in Senegal

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Marta Moreiras

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Kumba and her child Binta – from Marta Moreiras’s archive

When she started phoning up a few of her male Senegalese associates who had infants, most stated that they’d carry youngsters on their backs in the event that they had been at dwelling – however by no means exterior.

“There is a large division right here between public areas and personal areas… and it is essential what others consider you,” says Moreiras.

Demba and Ely in Virage, an neighbourhood by the ocean on the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal

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Marta Moreiras

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Demba, a monetary guide, together with his child Ely

But her analysis and interviews revealed that males do play a major child-caring function, not least as a result of Dakar is dear and {couples} usually each should work.

“That can drive them to begin dividing duties.

“And once I requested the lads if they really participated within the training of their youngsters and in the event that they helped at dwelling they had been like: ‘Properly, sure I am pressured to, my spouse, she works as nicely – she will’t simply tackle all of the completely different duties.’

“However everytime you see an image of a child you by no means see a dad with them or taking part in with them or taking them to high school or washing them,” she stated.

Cheikh and Zoe in Point E, a central neighbourhood in Dakar, Senegal

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Marta Moreiras

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Cheikh, a contract videographer, and his child Zoe

That is how she first coaxed her interviewees into having their portraits taken.

“I would say: ‘All proper, so to make it extra seen – this function of the dad – I need to take a photograph of you together with your little one.'”

Jules and Jade in Zone B, a central neighbourhood in Dakar, Senegal

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Marta Moreiras

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Jules, a pc specialist, and his child Jade

Once they agreed to that, she’d say she would really like the newborn to be on their backs as an alternative of of their arms – this too they fortunately agreed to, hesitation solely setting in when she requested them to maneuver exterior to offer the portrait “a extra fascinating setting”.

“We do not do this, we do not take youngsters to the road on our backs,” was the final response – however Moreiras’s persistence paid off.

“The entire response on streets was very cool, so the man I used to be photographing started to really feel extra comfy about it.”

Moulaye, Hassan and Malick in Mermoz, a residential neighbourhood of Dakar, Senegal

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Marta Moreiras

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Moulaye, a music producer, and his youngsters Hassan and Malick

The portraits she shot over a two- to three-month interval had been exhibited final Might at Dak’Artwork, the African Up to date Artwork Biennale, when the entire of Dakar turns into an artwork gallery.

And so they actually turned a topic of debate – given the impressed determination to stage her exhibition at les parcours sportifs – a giant open area on the principle seafront thronged by these in pursuit of the physique stunning because it is stuffed with health club gear.

Mouhammed and Zakaria in Liberte 4, a popular neighbourhood in Dakar, Senegal

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Marta Moreiras

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Mouhammed, a photographer, and his son Zakaria

“Ninety-nine per cent of people that go there are males, exhibiting their masculine, macho facet,” she stated.

However they had been additionally of an age once they had been turning into fathers – the right audience, says Moreiras.

One photograph specifically had an awesome influence because it was of a well-liked rapper, Badou, identified for his machismo.

Badou and Mouhammed in Medina in Dakar, Senegal

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Marta Moreiras

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Badou, a rapper, together with his child Mouhammed

“He has a public picture, and everybody recognises him. It is necessary on this venture that some recognisable individuals are included to be function fashions and open the controversy to understand there may be nothing fallacious with it,” the photographer stated.

There have been some public figures who turned her down when she approached them as they had been involved about public attitudes.

For Moreiras, who has eight of her portraits from the collection within the World Images Awards, will probably be a “unending venture”.

“I am nonetheless engaged on it – I am glad to have as many daddies as attainable as a result of I imagine that to destroy this stereotype of mums with infants, that we now have seen eternally, we have to do no less than the identical quantity of photos with males.”

Scorpion and Africa in Mermoz, a residential neighbourhood of Dakar, Senegal

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Marta Moreiras

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Scorpion, a wooden designer, and his child Africa

Photos by Marta Moreiras.

Winners of the 2019 Sony World Images Awards Skilled competitors will likely be introduced on 17 April 2019. All shortlisted collection will likely be exhibited at Somerset Home in London from 18 April till 6 Might 2019.

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