Yann Gross


Yann Gross

Photography book 'Kitintale'



Park of Dreams
To his sur­prise, Yann Gross dis­cov­ered a skatepark in a set­tle­ment on the out­skirts of Kam­pala, Uganda. As a skate­board­ing en­thu­si­ast him­self, he was as­ton­ished to find such a fa­cil­ity there. While liv­ing in Kit­in­tale for a few months, he would often go there to skate, and so got to know about the his­tory and back­ground of the place and the peo­ple.

It was not until his sec­ond visit to Kit­in­tale that he cre­ated a se­ries of pho­tographs about the skaters and their park. For Yann Gross, the ap­proach of the pho­tog­ra­pher is im­por­tant. He does not start tak­ing pho­tographs the mo­ment he ar­rives some­where, but spends time there first and only gets to work later, when he has re­flected on what he has seen. He dis­likes the post-colo­nial­ist at­ti­tude of many pho­to­jour­nal­ists who briefly visit a place, take their pho­tos and leave. His ap­proach is more long-term. It is im­por­tant to him to show pho­tographs of life in Africa that do not re­it­er­ate the same fa­mil­iar media re­ports of poverty, hunger and war. He still keeps in touch with the peo­ple of Kit­in­tale and is con­sid­er­ing get­ting in­volved in a so­cial pro­ject there.

Yann Gross shows the first Ugan­dan skate­board­ers to build their own park. He is fas­ci­nated by the ways peo­ple cre­ate havens of peace and places of hap­pi­ness. In his pho­tographs, he ex­plores is­sues of iden­tity, dreams and the im­por­tance of be­long­ing to a com­mu­nity. At the same time, the nar­ra­tive as­pect is also im­por­tant to him and he wants his pho­tographs to con­vey the at­mos­phere of a place.

In these im­ages, Yann Gross opens a win­dow on the his­tory of this African sub­urb in a way that touches the viewer. In doing so, his inner at­ti­tude, char­ac­terised by a so­cial com­mit­ment and will­ing­ness to pro­ceed slowly, plays as im­por­tant a role as his in­sis­tence on avoid­ing a clichéd por­trayal of the place.
Au­re­lia Müller  


Yann Gross
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