Toucouleur made such an impact on us when he brought the mango leaves for his mum Ayou’s shoot, he was immediately headhunted to also appear in front of the camera.
He fearlessly accepted our proposal and we proceeded to create a homage to his long term commitment to cultivating trees in the region.
Mane is one of the grand grandmothers of the Ndos village and a tornado of energy and vigour. She applauded to our invitation to collaborate and so it happened that we were up before the mosquitos, armed to the teeth with wire, millet and cameras, ready for anything.
The village of Ndos. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
First contact at grandma Mane’s porch, with Mamadou, Moussa, Aïcha and Jenny translating from Serer to Wolof to French to English. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
In the heat of the moment we were gifted this beautiful garment and it became the perfect photographer’s uniform. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Many changes have taken place in Mane’s lifetime. A regular home during her younger years was a little bit like the one on the left, while these days the one on the right is the village norm. Let’s take a moment here to remember that in her childhood, panthers, giraffes and other big mammals were still abundant. No more. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
About one third of Senegal’s arable land is devoted to millet, a hardy and nutritious staple and one of the country’s main crops with deep cultural roots. It is highly drought resistant and vital to subsistent rural communities where soil fertility is poor and rain is scarce at best. Read more about this amazing crop here. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Mane confessed this was the first time she had worn millet in this fashion. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Racing against the sunset. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Toucouleur is the president of the village and has been the manager of the Tree Re-plantation program in Ndos for a decade. He is also a happily married man and grandpa. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
This is how Toucouleur arranges his mango-, lemon-, and other trees on his forest plantation. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Revel on this truckload of charisma. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
These guys are featured on every audio recording from Ndos. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Toucouleur was musing on the fact that his chosen material neem (Azadirachta indica) also produces oxygen and allows the whole production team to take nice, deep breaths. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Small talk on lethal snakes, favourite plants and excellent stargazing on the way to Toucouleur’s fields. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
In our search for the perfect shadow we meandered to his friend’s field (third from the left), who came to inspect what was going on. After realising it was the one and only Toucouleur, he joined us and the shoot action was allowed to resume. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Most of the action on the harvesting fields happens during an intense three-month period. The rest of the year Toucouleur focuses on his trees. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen