Philippe Dudouit: The Dynamics of Dust (Edition Patrick Frey, 2019)

Philippe Dudouit (b. 1977) is a Swiss photographer. After studying photography in Vevey, he won the Kiefer-Hablitzel Prize in 2004 and first prize in the World Press Photo contest in 2008 for his work on PKK fighters in northern Iraq.

The series featured in The Dynamics of Dust – a longterm photographic study on the sociopolitical evolution of the Sahelo-Saharan region since 2008 – was first shown at the Rencontres d’Arles photo festival and at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.


Dudouit documents the new relationships that historically nomadic native inhabitants of the Sahelo-Saharan region have forged with a territory through which they can no longer pass freely, or safely. The former tourist paradise is now also off-limits to foreigners, due to a burgeoning abduction industry, making the formerly dire economic situation even worse, with large parts of the population cut off from an essential source of income. At first glance, the rise of Islamic terrorism in the area is to blame, but a closer look reveals a reality that is much more complex: the area now faces a dangerous mixture of underdevelopment, poverty and state failure. The new constellation consists of armed Islamists, human traffickers, drugs and weapons smugglers, topped off by international businesses jockeying to win oil, gold and uranium mining rights.

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