Project Detail: BEHIND THE GLASS


Mobile Photo Contest 2017




Elena Massarenti



Project Info


Behind the glass is a collection of images shot between 2015 and 2017 during my frequent business trips to Cameroon. The photos were taken while seated in a jeep or during short stops throughout hundreds of miles of driving across beaches, mountains and rainforests.

I witnessed life’s flow, my view of the inhabitants filtered through tinted car windows raised against the monsoon. With the end of the heavy rains, the windows came down and I looked again directly at the world outside, my gaze seemingly washed clean as well. And to my amazement, I felt the world looking back at me, searching for my gaze and pushing through that boundary which had thus far divided me from its true manifestation.

In the street life of Cameroon there are no barriers; the concept of discretion typical of European culture is out of place, privacy operates under different parameters. The world that surrounds you is dense and permeable. It penetrates your shell, connecting viscerally with you through a smile, street side sales offers for a flying carpet or hand-shelled peanuts, convulsions during a masked dancing ritual, a celebration of sexual freedom, bribery requests by police at checkpoints. Intimate gestures are carried out in public without any sense of modesty or fear of prying eyes. There is a strong interconnection between the outer and inner space, creating continuity and new opportunities for communication and sharing. This project shows a glimpse of Cameroon and its inhabitant’s street life from a very limited visual field. All spaces merge. My subjects and I enter simultaneously into the intimacy of each other’s private lives.

01. Magic carpet. Limbé – South-west Province. Cameroon

02. Message in a bottle. Yaoundé – Cameroon

03. Checkpoints. N10 National Road to Abong-Mbang –East Province. Cameroon

04. Come closer. Kribi – South Province. Cameroon

05. Ecstasy. Kribi – South Province. Cameroon

06. Out of the blue. Kribi – South Province. Cameroon

07. On the wings of love. Kribi – South Province. Cameroon

08. Read my lips. Kribi – South Province. Cameroon

09. Moto taxi. Yaoundé – Cameroon.

10. Whispering prayer. Apostolic Church of Soa, Yaoundé – Cameroon

11. Urban waterfalls. Limbé – South-west Province. Cameroon

12. Open doors. Soa. Yaoundé - Cameroon.