Introducing Nader Fakhry, stumbled upon his work early this year and been inspired by his travel and adventure photos ever since. His incredible photography documents untamed and powerful landscapes giving his followers a glimpse of Africa and particularly his native Côte-d’Ivoire. Safari254 speaks to him about his photography, travels, and his country Côte-d’Ivoire.
A brief introduction … tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m Nader Fakhry, a photographer and videographer, based in Abidjan, Côte-d’Ivoire in West Africa. I have a deep affection for nature and addicted to adventure. I love venturing out of my comfort zone and exploring and documenting the wild and unknown.
Standing close to the highest peak in the Ivory Coast, Mount Nimba (Tonkpi region), exactly at 1752 meters above sea level
Let’s talk about your photography. What influenced and sparked your interest in photography?
Africa, with its expansive landscapes, jungles, beaches, and the people and their rich and diverse culture, is unquestionably my main inspiration as a photographer.
I have an affinity for shooting landscapes and specifically capturing the effect of light on a particular time of day or weather and how it hits and changes the optics of the landscape, and how it brings out a distinct aspect of beauty in each instance.
Every so often my travels also involve capturing the day-to-day lives of people.
the famous Baie des Sirènes
Does photography influence where and how you travel? Or does where you travel influence your photography?
I think my videography and photography are what pushed me to go out and travel and eventually I started to document my travels and show and share with people the places I’ve visited.
the Vatouo liana bridge
What kit do you shoot with and what would you say are your essentials to have on a shoot?
iPhone 11: very easy, convenient, and less obtrusive and intimidating to the subjects when shooting people.
Sony A7 3 + 3 lenses (wide angle + fixe 50 mm + landscape)
You are from Côte-d’Ivoire. How would you describe the local culture and life in the Ivory Coast?
I was born and raised in Abidjan, Côte-d’Ivoire but it is only in the last 3 years I have begun to discover and document the people and culture. The country has a rich history, is home to more than 60 ethnic groups each with a diverse and vibrant culture.
Côte-d’Ivoire is also stunningly beautiful, brimming with abundant and varied world-class landscapes from mountains, rolling savannas, jungles, beaches and so much more.
Assinie-Mafia, Côte d’Ivoire
Assinie-Mafia, Côte d’Ivoire
One of my most memorable encounters in the Ivory Coast: the Wê dancers. This was in Bangolo in the west of the country during an initiation ceremony.
I visited this magnificent little village inhabited by the Fulani north of the Ivory Coast
How would you describe your experience traveling and photographing different parts of Côte-d’Ivoire?
Photography is a way of life for me, it’s like a spiritual quest, a way of meditation, incredibly rewarding, personally, and professionally. I want to see the world and show it to others, and that sharing my work gives me a sense of purpose in my life. Without my photography and videography, I probably would not be living in my purpose and would not have had this wonderful opportunity to discover my country.
Boundiali, Côte d’Ivoire
Do you have any favorite destination(s)/best places to visit in Côte-d’Ivoire, tell us a couple of places that you just loved or surprised you – a place(s) you find yourself going back to.
The beaches of Grand-Béréby, Baie des sirens – I just love the array colors of the water in addition to having the best waves for surfing in Côte-d’Ivoire
Korhogo a town in the north, a very mystic place with lots of attractions in and around the city from the animist shrines and unique culture to the distinct local architecture and the savanna climate (hot but dry during the day, and cool and nice in the evenings and mornings) so different from Abidjan. And the sky is always blue 🙂
Taï forest where you encounter the cleverest chimpanzees in the world.
magnificent view from the bay of Dahoua, still in the vicinity of Grand-Bereby
Going through your YouTube channel ‘Toubabou TV’, it seems like you go out of your way to cultivate a connection with the people and the culture. How important do you believe it is for a photographer to connect with the people, not just the results?
Knowing and connecting with people is a way to learn about yourself. I believe people are what make a place interesting. So being able to connect with and capture people in their environment is a big part of what I enjoy about travel photography.
I’m also a social and outgoing person who loves interacting with people, not only for the images but for getting to know the person or people I’m shooting.
It was her father who brought her this ‘pet’ one day when he came back from the bush when it was little. The monitor lizard has practically been raised by this little girl. She mainly feeds it snails.
Important to note the monitor lizard is carnivorous and feeds on corpses, birds, and fish. Its bite is dangerous because its mouth is full of bacteria due to the fact that monitor lizards are scavengers. If a monitor lizard is attacked, its best weapons are its teeth, claws, and tail. No matter how big or powerful the enemy is, it will fight until its death. The adversary may die from the infection of its wounds. Suffice to say that in this village, no one dares mess with this little girl.
Initiation ceremony in Wê, Man, Ivory Coast
Tell us more about ‘Toubabou TV’ …
Toubabou Tv is my small baby, a platform I use to show and share the beauty and day to day life in Cote-d’Ivoire. I have visited Senegal, Liberia, and planned to visit Ghana, Mali, and Burkina Faso but the COVID situation put paid to my plans.
I ultimately hope to expand and cover the entire continent of Africa.
Sassandra, Ivory Coast, the sea, one of the best therapies that can exist for body and soul.
The shrimp island off Dabou. On this island live a few families who live exclusively from shrimp and crab fishing.
How is the experience of photographing and interacting with the people in the community? How do people react to being photographed?
I never shoot without speaking to the people and asking for their permission. It is a way for me to connect with them, and being open and honest about what I’m doing and why. I will normally have a conversation with the people prior to taking their photograph, that way the people normally sense that I am genuinely interested in them and their experiences and will readily share their stories.
The traditional festival of Abissa celebrated by the N’zima community which takes place every year in Grand-Bassam
What recommendations do you have for people interested in traveling across Côte-d’Ivoire – places to go, things to see, places to photograph, etc.?
Côte-d’Ivoire has so many attractions, it is difficult for me to list them, so please check my social media pages Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram you will get a glimpse of what the country has to offer.
And I will soon be launching my website www.bonjourcotedivoire.com where I will include all that information. Stay tuned!
a rising tide, Assinie, Ivory Coast
A break in the middle of the Bandama River.
What would you like people to know about Côte-d’Ivoire that the media rarely shows?
Côte-d’Ivoire is beautiful and impressive with varied destinations above and beyond the capital Abidjan. But more importantly, are friendly people and diverse cultures.
Are there other destinations you’ve always wanted to explore, but haven’t yet had the opportunity/time?
I plan to visit all the countries in Africa before I turn 40.
La Dent de Man, one of the attractions in the city of Man
What advice would you give the authorities and stakeholders on ways to make Côte-d’Ivoire an even more popular tourist destination?
Ensure the country is safe everywhere.
Expand the infrastructure – build roads to some of these far-flung areas. If possible find a way to attract investors who can invest in the infrastructure and build hotels and lodges.
Decrease the price of Visa and come up with attractive tour packages that cover the varied attractions in the country.
Sensitize Ivorian’s on the importance of tourism. Particularly encourage the development of eco-tourism where locals can earn an income from tourism for example by becoming tour guides or being employed in various sectors of the tour industry. This will in turn make them stakeholders in the industry and thus encourage them to conserve the environment.
Marketing – advertise the country more, connect with international tour companies, and invite travel influencers to showcase the country.
As a traveler myself, I am readily available to offer advice and expertise … I have too many ideas … I could go on and on …
Drewin beach and its traditional fishing canoes seen from above. A true feast for the eyes. This is also where you’ll find the Door of No Return
magnificent coast at the mouth of San Pédro
Parting shot …
In Africa, people believe they have to go outside the continent to find wonderful spots or have a good time but in fact, Africa has everything and one does not need to go outside the continent to discover anything new – we have got it all. All we in Africa need to do is explore more of our surroundings, go out to other cities, villages and meet new people. Explore and discover the off the beaten path destinations – there is something for everyone.