Interview with France Leclerc; published in our print edition #20

France Leclerc, born in Québec, Canada, is an independent photographer who currently lives in Chicago.  Her early career was in academia, but her true passion for documentary and street photography has now taken over. 

France Leclerc, born in Québec, Canada, is an independent photographer who currently lives in Chicago.  Her early career was in academia, but her true passion for documentary and street photography has now taken over.

Among her most prominent themes are culture (especially vanishing ones), gender, and social inequality. She has been traveling around the world documenting people’s lives in diverse settings, often in out-of-the-way places.  She often describes her work simply as “life photography” as her focus is always on people. [Official Website][Printed Edition][Digital Edition]

This body of work is very heart warming, I love how expressive the dancing is and how each photograph gives a feeling of soul and energy. I would like to know a little bit more about your experience while photographing each tribe and curating this collection of images?

I think the immense joy the dancers experienced while dancing has stayed with me over and over. Life is quite challenging for these tribal groups; people work hard all day to survive. Dancing and music are their only distractions (though cell phones are now appearing in some tribes, they are still not providing entertainment), and of course, dancing has an important spiritual aspect. One has the feeling when it starts that the dancers are transported somewhere else. They seem to feed on one another, looking at each other, smiling, making their best moves not for me but for themselves. They lose themselves to the dance once it starts. And the beauty of it all is that it is very inclusive: everyone is invited, and children learn to react to the rhythm and are delighted to join. I often get quite emotional watching them, as I see them transform in front of my eyes– so different than how they were earlier in the day.

You mentioned in your description about each tribe and the various dances that to your eye they all seemed to have a pattern or similarity in rhythm and music. What would you say was the most similar element that connected each tribe in dance and music?

I am sure these various dances are quite different to an informed eye. There are detailed descriptions written by scholars on how each one is unique to a tribe as a function of a wide range of factors: physical location (forest dwellers dance differently than riverine people), daily activities (working movements feed into styles of dances), whether it is done as a group or as a solo dancer, whether they are in line or circles, etc. The point I was trying to make is that for an observer, particularly a foreigner, it is the percussive rhythms, sometimes created on locally-made drums, but often just made by singing and clapping hands, that gets my feet moving whether I want to or not. That feeling is the same way every time. And the movements are all quite simplistic and repetitive (except for the high jumping, I suppose, which I am never tempted to emulate). Also, three of the tribes I photographed (the Turkana of Kenya, the Toposa of South Sudan, and the Nyagatom of Ethiopia ) are Nilotic ethnic groups (people indigenous to the Nile Valley.) They are probably part of the same “cluster” of people who split because of internal differences at some point, eventually creating distinct, independent groups. This could explain why some of the dances felt similar to me, at least at a superficial level.

Aside from the fact that many of these dances have been traditions for many years, one point that I found quite interesting was how each tribe has managed to keep western culture and influences out. I was curious to know a little bit more about the accessories that occasionally showed up… something which you also mentioned in the magazine, and I though was quite a good insight and observation! Did you ever feel that some of these accessories were used to individualise some of the members, maybe adding to their personality or specific character trait?

Of course, as we do, they used “accessories” to stand out from their peers and, to some extent, to convey that they have (or had) a connection with the “modern” world. For example, in South Sudan, some Toposa men were drafted to fight in the war and returned to their village with boots. One would assume that boots became a prized passion for their comfort and functionality. However, some boys who do not have boots will paint their legs up to their knees to simulate them. Also, some of these accessories are used for different functions. The Toposa women proudly use their newly acquired whistles while dancing as a way to mark tempo and lead the women in a queue. The Wodaabe, a tribe in Chad, sew the colorful whistles to their clothes as an additional ornament to their already vibrant outfit.

And of course, like for us, some of these accessories come in and out of fashion depending on availability. When roads were built in Ethiopia, some tribal groups managed to acquire bright orange safety vests. The year I visited, many of them were wearing these vests to dance. And of course, bras are the new thing for women, but they are rare and a luxurious object. This past year, I have also seen socks a fair amount, and I have to say that the bold striped socks from one Larim woman made quite a statement. I think I better stop here; I now feel like a fashion critic.

What would you say was the most impactful image you shot? A photograph that really resonates with you and that you believe captures the spirit of a tribe or person.

It would be presumptuous of me to discuss the impact of one of my images on others. But I can speak to the image that resonates the most with me. It is probably the photo of the Suri tribe. Quite frankly, I am not sure whether it is the image per se or because I can recall the event surrounding it quite clearly (a problem all photographers have, separating the story and feelings associated with the photo and the photo itself.)    The Suri dance was done to commemorate the death of two prominent tribe members. It was a sweltering and humid day, and the entire village was dancing. They were going around in a circle for hours, with occasionally one or two people dancing in the middle of the circle. I remember feeling that it was not physically possible to be going on for so long, and yet they kept at it, close to one another, humming a song. At one point, we heard a loud noise which I thought was probably someone with a drum. The noise got repeated a few times, and we realized that there were now shooting their AF-15 rifles in the air. At that point, we thought this was a good time for us to leave.

As to which photo best capture the spirit of a tribe, I sincerely think they all do. I like the photo of the Toposa women roaming around their village in a queue.   I photographed them during a wedding celebration we ran into unexpectedly (but happily). They basically danced and followed the groom in his pretended attempt to find the bride in the village. The Toposa women are strong, determined, and supportive of one another; for me, this is so clearly shown in this image.

I would like to know if at any point you were invited to dance with members of the tribe and join in the festivities and celebrations? Also, were these dances a kind of daily routine or do the dances serve a specific function in the community.

These dances can serve many functions in the community, to celebrate, communicate, mark a  rite of passage, as ritual ceremonies, or just relaxing after a hard day. As I said earlier, one of the Toposa images in the set was to celebrate a wedding; one was for commemorating the departed, and others were explicitly for thanking us as we typically bring food for them.

As for joining in, everyone is always invited to participate. I join in with a few dance steps from time to time, but I mostly try to photograph (and it is hard to do both at the same time!). Of course, they are delighted if you dance along with them and are very supportive of your (embarrassing) efforts.

I would like to conclude this interview by asking you about future work and if you are planning on visiting these tribes again and continue documenting these beautiful dances?

Yes, and yes. It is likely that I will revisit at least some of these tribes.  I have also been traveling to West Africa lately, namely Ivory Coast, Togo, and Benin, where the dance and music cultures are quite different from East Africa, but also very vibrant. And I am just back from Angola, where dances are somewhat reminiscent of the ones performed by the Maasai. I hope that these traditional dances survive the impact of the modern world, I feel that I am in a race against time to see them.

Francesco Scalici

A recent MA graduate from the University of Lincoln, Francesco has now focused on landscape photography as the basis of his photographic platform. An author for DODHO magazine, Francesco’s interest in documentary photography has turned to writing and has had various articles, interviews and book reviews published on platforms such as: ‘All About Photo.com’, ‘Float Magazine’ and ‘Life Framer Magazine’. Currently on a photographic internship, Francesco has most recently been involved in the making of a short film titled: ‘No One Else’, directed by Pedro Sanchez Román and produced my Martin Nuza.

More Stories

Gender identity; Lexi by Timothi Jane Graham

Gender identity; Lexi by Timothi Jane Graham

I first met Lexi at the beginning of her medical gender affirmation journey in December 2020. At 58 years old, she had identified and lived as a woman for decades behind closed doors. She was born and raised in Ecuador where the LGBTQ community faces intense discrimination which often ends in violence.
Metaversic world by Byoung Ho Rhee

Metaversic world by Byoung Ho Rhee

With the innovation of digital technologies such as artificial intelligence in the 21st century, the world of metaverse is being witnessed around our lives such as games and movies. The age of mixing virtual with reality. In the metaverse world, the cyberspace where virtual and reality are harmonized is called mixed reality MR.
Border without limits by Monika Ruiz-Bernal

Border without limits by Monika Ruiz-Bernal

As far as I remember, I have always questioned my own identity, and in fact, the mere notion of identity. I was born and grew up in Bogota, Colombia, a South-America high-altitude city, spreading north to south, ranging from the poorest to the wealthiest neighborhoods, where the notion of classes is very vivid.

Portrait Photography Awards

We invite you to participate in the first edition
of the Portrait Photography Awards. We are looking
for the best portrait for this year, 2023.

Our call is open to any artistic interpretation of portrait photography.

DEADLINE | FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2023

PHOTO BY © JOSE GIRL
Mapusa Road Washermen by Henri Kartmann

Mapusa Road Washermen by Henri Kartmann

At daybreak, the light is splendid on the plain of Mapusa road. The laundry seems to float in the void. The laundry team is already hard at work. They are low caste people, none of them speak English, but after exchanging tea and cigarettes contact is established and I spend the morning with them.
Snow Journey by Mitsuharu Maeda

Snow Journey by Mitsuharu Maeda

Mitsuharu Maeda creates works based on the concept of journey. It's a more evocative landscape, with snow as a motif. This is because I believe that the severe yet beautiful snowy scenery, which has lost its color to the extreme due to monochrome,
Journey into the depths of Chad by Elena Molina

Journey into the depths of Chad by Elena Molina

We are in the Borkou desert, in the Sahel; that torrid plain burned by an implacable sun and a wind that roars until exhaustion. However, this is where the Tubus, since ancient times, decided to live.

Featured Stories

Self-Portraits by Jen Davis

Self-Portraits by Jen Davis

In this body of work, I deal with the insecurities associated with my body image and the direct correlation between self-perception and the way one is perceived by others.
Living with albinism; Nude by Justine Tjallinks

Living with albinism; Nude by Justine Tjallinks

Living with albinism not only means an absence of pigmentation in the skin and hair, but also impairment in vision.
Faubourg Treme by Alexis Pazoumian

Faubourg Treme by Alexis Pazoumian

There are many similarities between Louisiana and my country of origine, Armenia.That they are a victim of a natural disaster or a crime against humanity, a doggedness of the history
Pilot by Mano Svanidze

Pilot by Mano Svanidze

We live in a boom of scripted TV series where watching TV shows take the face of addiction. It has brought many changes in people's behavior and their response to others.
Monologue about Chernobyl by Raúl Moreno

Monologue about Chernobyl by Raúl Moreno

A few kilometers from Chernobyl, there is a radioactive atmosphere that can not be seen but can intuit it. Food contaminated by Cesium 137 and Strontium, these inhabitants consume daily making radioactive isotopes are deposited in their bodies gradually.
Fine art photographs; Big Appetites by Christopher Boffoli

Fine art photographs; Big Appetites by Christopher Boffoli

Big Appetites (2003-present) is a a series of fine art photographs that features tiny, meticulously hand-painted figures photographed against real food environments.
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/bannerpr.jpg

We invite you to participate in the first edition of the Portrait Photography Awards. Our call is open to any artistic interpretation of portrait photography.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/BAnImage.jpg

ImageRights provides intelligent image search and copyright enforcement services to photo agencies and professional photographers worldwide.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/mono2022.jpg

The best 100 images along with the winning images published in the yearly book “Monochromatic – Best Photographers of 2022”

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/banner24.jpg

Call For Entries #24 | After 23 editions and more than 100 published photographers, our print edition has proven to be a simply effective promotional channel.

The Tribal Heartland of India by Tania Chatterjee

The Tribal Heartland of India by Tania Chatterjee

Bastar is the tribal heartland and treasure trove of ancient Indian culture. Today Bastar, is a part of the State of Chhattisgarh, India. It is a land of undiscovered surprises, with mysterious forests, breath-taking waterfalls
Trump-Kim craze by Biel Calderon

Trump-Kim craze by Biel Calderon

The second summit between the U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea chairman Kim Jong-un brought to the city of Hanoi heavy traffic, security cordons, and bustle. However, the residents of the capital of Vietnam welcomed the distinguished guests with great diplomacy and, in many cases, with joy and very peculiar demonstrations of admiration.
Time To Rush Home by David Nam Lip

Time To Rush Home by David Nam Lip

This portfolio is specifically captured an environment with expression of muslim people after they completed the congregation of the Bishwa Ijtema at Tongi, Bangladesh.
Ethiopia; The art of disappearing by Harry Fisch

Ethiopia; The art of disappearing by Harry Fisch

The trucks continually roll past the roads that lead to their villages, spitting out so much dust that people living in the villages can no longer breathe. 
The Girl Who Escaped and Other Stories by Joan Haseltine

The Girl Who Escaped and Other Stories by Joan Haseltine

Some years after losing my husband I decided to reinvent my life, so I purchased a small ranch in Montana and a camera, neither of which I knew how to operate. I began visiting small towns at night. A woman standing alone on the streets after dark with a camera naturally aroused suspicion and distrust in these old Montana towns.
Greenland; Stories from the Sea by Camille Michel

Greenland; Stories from the Sea by Camille Michel

Greenland became politically independent from Denmark in 1979 and is slowly getting on the path to economic independency. The ‘ice country’ is currently facing the consequences of climate change.

Trending Stories

Wild violets by Judith Rodriguez

Wild violets by Judith Rodriguez

There is a murmur of images in the cities. There are people. Stories walking down the streets. You can see them in faces, in gestures. Those stories are being written again and again.
Portraits by Richard Ansett

Portraits by Richard Ansett

My style and relationship to photography has been built from this foundation and I have come to realize that my fascination with other people’s lives is entirely relative to my own lack of understanding and sense of dislocation.
Fine art photography; Visions of Diana Debord

Fine art photography; Visions of Diana Debord

As a child I was more interested in insects, astronomy and ghosts than dolls, I've always felt attracted to obscurity: I use photography to show this hidden side of me, without fears.
Five minutes with Goran Jovic

Five minutes with Goran Jovic

Like any other photographer who pursues art, I try to bring something personal to every photo I take.
Another Place by Arif Furqan

Another Place by Arif Furqan

Why moving? Mobility is an act of survival, surviving from the geographical boundary of your-self, territory, and boundary that prevent you from encountering the others.
The 10 Commandments by Dina Goldstein

The 10 Commandments by Dina Goldstein

The narrative seeks to examine the socio-political makeup of America through its political icons - the presidential figures that mark the most notable and controversial chapters in American history.
Landscapes and self-portraits; Torn by Manuela Thames

Landscapes and self-portraits; Torn by Manuela Thames

Created from analogue landscape prints and some new and older self-portrait prints, I began creating this series of diptychs "Torn" shortly after the start of the Ukrainian war. These images are a representation of my own emotional reactions to the unfolding events because of family connections and family history that is tied to Ukraine
A Movable Beast by Jason Florio

A Movable Beast by Jason Florio

The rhino population in Africa has fallen by more than 95 percent since 1900, to just 21,000 southern white rhinos and 5,000 black rhinos; 80 percent of those animals are in South Africa’s game reserves and on ranches.
Documentary photographer; Notes for an Epilogue by Tamas Dezso

Documentary photographer; Notes for an Epilogue by Tamas Dezso

Tamas Dezso (Hungarian, b.1978, lives in Budapest) is a fine art documentary photographer working on long-term projects focusing on the margins of society in Hungary, Romania and in other parts of Eastern Europe.

Other Stories

stay in touch
Join our mailing list and we'll keep you up to date with all the latest stories, opportunities, calls and more.
We use Sendinblue as our marketing platform. By Clicking below to submit this form, you acknowledge that the information you provided will be transferred to Sendinblue for processing in accordance with their terms of use
We’d love to
Thank you for subscribing!
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted.
- Between 10/30 images of your best images, in case your project contains a greater number of images which are part of the same indivisible body of work will also be accepted. You must send the images in jpg format to 1200px and 72dpi and quality 9. (No borders or watermarks)
- A short biography along with your photograph. (It must be written in the third person)
- Title and full text of the project with a minimum length of 300 words. (Texts with lesser number of words will not be accepted)
This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Contact
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted. This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation.
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Get in Touch
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.