Book Review: Nothing In Vain by Emmanuelle Andrianjafy
Written by Liz Von Klemperer
When former electrical engineer Emmanuelle Andrianjafy moved to Dakar in 2011, she experienced a culture shock like never before. Andrianjafy’s debut Nothing in Vain is the fruit of her experience photographing her environment in order to cope with and understand her new home. Her book won the MACK First Book Award 2017, and offers viewers both panoramic views of cityscapes, as well as portraits and interiors to portray a multifaceted view of the city.
“My method is simply to experiment, to photograph intuitively, and to produce – which seems obvious, but is not always simple,” Andrianjafy told Huck Magazine.
To gain access to people’s homes as an outsider, Andrianjafy hired a “fixer,” a local who introduced her to potential subjects. “Sometimes we went to see family and other times simply entered random houses. For interiors, people were comfortable because I was with someone they could trust,” Andrianjafy explained.
Andrianjafy cast her lens on urban landscapes and scenes of everyday life. The resulting images are at turns idiosyncratic, lonely, and stark. Graffitid buildings are juxtaposed against close up portraits and interiors to create an encompassing and raw portrait of a city. Much was left to chance during Andrianjafy’s process of photographing, as she meandered the streets with the open-minded curiosity of a traveler. This technique, rooted in circumstance, proved to be an asset. Andrianjafy’s images are dazzling in their scope and diversity.
Nothing in Vain is available for purchase here.