Christian Als Kibera - The Shadow City
I undertook the Kibera project because I wanted to document and visualize the word ‘urbanization’. I could have done it many places on earth, as this kind of human growth takes place in too many corners of the earth.
On my way to another assignment I flew over Kibera, and it was a scene I’ll never forget – I went straight back to Nairobi and started planning. I started to visit Africa’s largest slum in 2007, and just kept coming back for the next three years. Actually I dream of going back, it is not a closed process to me. The slum grows by the day, and I have a feeling that I have to go back and see the latest changes. Every time I visit, I am amazed by the place. So absolutely sad in many ways, so full of problems and harsh living conditions, but at the same time overloaded with stunning beauty and courage in all its inhabitants. It might well be a shadow city, but light shines on the least expected places once in a while. Kibera is a place that stays with you.
About the author
1974, near Copenhagen, Denmark
Christian Als is a Danish photographer who is concerned with global social, political and economic issues. Als’ interest in photography developed in the late 1990s after extensive travels in the Third World. Seeking to document his experiences and surroundings, he enrolled at The Danish School of Journalism from which he graduated in 2006. Als has had a successful career as a photojournalist, working in many countries on both photographic and humanitarian projects, including Gaza, Haiti, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, China, Tibet, Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Lebanon, Syria, Latvia and India.
Als has won numerous awards, including an Honorable Mention in UNICEF Photo of the Year 2009 and second place in the News Picture Story – Newspaper category of the 67th Pictures of the Year International (POYi) award. He was a jury member for the China International Press Photo Contest. His work has been featured in many international publications such as TIME, The New Yorker, The Sunday Times Magazine, GEO, Stern, Der Spiegel, The Wall StreetJournal and L’espresso.
Mitch Epstein, American Power, 2003-2008
Christian Als, Kibera - The Shadow City, 2007-2008
Edward Burtynsky, Oil, 1999-2009
Stéphane Couturier, Melting Point, 2005
Chris Jordan, Midway: Message from the Gyre, 2009-2010
Yeondoo Jung, Evergreen Tower, 2001
Vera Lutter, Body of Work, 1997-2006
Nyaba Leon Ouedraogo, The Hell of Copper, 2008
Taryn Simon, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, 2004-2007
Thomas Struth, Paradise, 1998-2006
Guy Tillim, Petros Village, 2006
Michael Wolf, Architecture of Density, 2005-2009