Michaël
Zumstein

Michaël Zumstein

biography


Michaël Zumstein, French-Swiss photographer and director, based in Paris (France)

After graduating from the Ecole Supérieure de Photographie de Vevey, Michaël Zumstein takes a plane off to a long initiatory journey through Africa. With more than 20 years of experience in reporting different types of groups, societies and populations, in Africa and in France, his work is in the tradition of investigative photojournalism, combining documentary realism and graphic writing to reveal interactions between individuals and show beyond the cliché.

As a keen observer of Africa for the press, for NGOs or for his personal projects, he looks at “the ambiguous relations between Africa and the West”, at conflicts and political events, but also at daily life in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Senegal, Mali, Niger, or Central African Republic.

In 2014, he begins a large-scale project on the crisis in the Central African Republic “Of terror and tears” which will be exhibited at the Visa pour l’image Festival: “The reasons for the ordeal of the Central African Republic are complex and profound. Michaël is interested in history in its entirety. Tries to understand it. To explain it. With discretion and humility, he is one of the most attentive witnesses of the Central African crisis. Through his photos, Michaël Zumstein succeeds in restoring to us the state of this state that no longer exists.” (Cyril Bensimon, journalist).

In fact, violence is indeed present in the images of Michaël Zumstein but more evoked than shown frontally: “Ultra-violence sometimes diverts the vision of the whole and removes the narrative side of the story that is given to see” he says.

Faced with the importance, diversity and complexity of the subjects he documents, he multiplies his travels, investigations, but also the mediums to become the most accurate witness of the situations he is confronted with: in 2013, he started the project “Good Friends” which mixes photos and videos to address the difficult reconciliation that must be carried out by the different Ivorian camps; in 2019 he actively participated in Boris Lojkine’s feature film “Camille”; in 2020 he obtained the first Canon grant for the video documentary short film that will allow him to realize his project on the organization of Miss Central Africa in a country affected by outbreaks of violence.

Regularly published in the French and international press, Michaël Zumsteim is the winner of 2 Swiss Press Awards: the 3rd Swiss Press Photo Award abroad in 2014 for “Chaos in Central Africa” and in 2019 the 1st Swiss Press Photo Award abroad, for “Life after Boko Haram”.

Series


AKA ZIDANE, 2019

Serie | A crowd of anonymous people wearing the names of the world's greatest soccer stars on their tshirts. Facing poverty, violence, exile but also some sweet moments of the daily life, the contrast is striking...

On the movie set of Camille, Central African Republic, 2019

Serie | In 2014, Camille Lepage, a French photojournalist based in Bangui, lost her life in unsolved circumstances while covering the conflict between Selekas and anti-Balaka militias in the Central African countryside.

Those who leaves, 2016

Serie | With eight children by woman, Nigeria has the world's highest natality birthrate and is the 6th poorest country in the world.

On the Road of Sub-Saharan Migrants, 2016

Serie | Michael Zumstein followed the road taken by thousands of Sub-Saharan migrants as they leave their countries for a long and dangerous journey : from Banjul (Gambia) to the Libyan coast, including Agadez (Niger).

Bamako, The Downloaders, 2015

Serie | Since two decades, cellphone has created a little revolution in Mali, overcoming the lack of landlines. Its capital, Bamako, has seen come into being new sellers who download popular music as much as diversified.

Trafficking Bolabola Rosewood, 2015

Serie | Rosewood is one of the most sought-after resources, and is trafficked as "forest ivory".

Central African Republic, The Wages of Fear, 2014

Serie | In Central African Republic, torn appart by the conflict beetween Christians and Muslims, diamonds production decreased sightly. Dispite the dissolution of the Seleka, a muslim coalition opposed to the former president François Bozizé, mining still fuels the conflict.

Crisis in Central African Republic, 2014

Serie | In 2013, the Central African Republic found itself plunged into an unprecedented spiral of deadly violence since the overthrow of President François Bozizé's regime by the Seléka rebels, a coalition from the northeast of the country.

Two presidents for one country, 2011

Série | The 2010-2011 Ivorian crisis is a political crisis that emerged after the second round of the 2010 Ivorian presidential election, the first election whose outcome led to an electoral dispute following a suspicion of fraud.

AKA ZIDANE, 2019

Serie | A crowd of anonymous people wearing the names of the world's greatest soccer stars on their tshirts. Facing poverty, violence, exile but also some sweet moments of the daily life, the contrast is striking...

On the movie set of Camille, Central African Republic, 2019

Serie | In 2014, Camille Lepage, a French photojournalist based in Bangui, lost her life in unsolved circumstances while covering the conflict between Selekas and anti-Balaka militias in the Central African countryside.

Those who leaves, 2016

Serie | With eight children by woman, Nigeria has the world's highest natality birthrate and is the 6th poorest country in the world.

On the Road of Sub-Saharan Migrants, 2016

Serie | Michael Zumstein followed the road taken by thousands of Sub-Saharan migrants as they leave their countries for a long and dangerous journey : from Banjul (Gambia) to the Libyan coast, including Agadez (Niger).

Bamako, The Downloaders, 2015

Serie | Since two decades, cellphone has created a little revolution in Mali, overcoming the lack of landlines. Its capital, Bamako, has seen come into being new sellers who download popular music as much as diversified.

Trafficking Bolabola Rosewood, 2015

Serie | Rosewood is one of the most sought-after resources, and is trafficked as "forest ivory".

Central African Republic, The Wages of Fear, 2014

Serie | In Central African Republic, torn appart by the conflict beetween Christians and Muslims, diamonds production decreased sightly. Dispite the dissolution of the Seleka, a muslim coalition opposed to the former president François Bozizé, mining still fuels the conflict.

Crisis in Central African Republic, 2014

Serie | In 2013, the Central African Republic found itself plunged into an unprecedented spiral of deadly violence since the overthrow of President François Bozizé's regime by the Seléka rebels, a coalition from the northeast of the country.

Two presidents for one country, 2011

Série | The 2010-2011 Ivorian crisis is a political crisis that emerged after the second round of the 2010 Ivorian presidential election, the first election whose outcome led to an electoral dispute following a suspicion of fraud.

AKA ZIDANE, 2019

Serie | A crowd of anonymous people wearing the names of the world's greatest soccer stars on their tshirts. Facing poverty, violence, exile but also some sweet moments of the daily life, the contrast is striking...

On the movie set of Camille, Central African Republic, 2019

Serie | In 2014, Camille Lepage, a French photojournalist based in Bangui, lost her life in unsolved circumstances while covering the conflict between Selekas and anti-Balaka militias in the Central African countryside.

Those who leaves, 2016

Serie | With eight children by woman, Nigeria has the world's highest natality birthrate and is the 6th poorest country in the world.

On the Road of Sub-Saharan Migrants, 2016

Serie | Michael Zumstein followed the road taken by thousands of Sub-Saharan migrants as they leave their countries for a long and dangerous journey : from Banjul (Gambia) to the Libyan coast, including Agadez (Niger).

Bamako, The Downloaders, 2015

Serie | Since two decades, cellphone has created a little revolution in Mali, overcoming the lack of landlines. Its capital, Bamako, has seen come into being new sellers who download popular music as much as diversified.

Trafficking Bolabola Rosewood, 2015

Serie | Rosewood is one of the most sought-after resources, and is trafficked as "forest ivory".

Central African Republic, The Wages of Fear, 2014

Serie | In Central African Republic, torn appart by the conflict beetween Christians and Muslims, diamonds production decreased sightly. Dispite the dissolution of the Seleka, a muslim coalition opposed to the former president François Bozizé, mining still fuels the conflict.

Crisis in Central African Republic, 2014

Serie | In 2013, the Central African Republic found itself plunged into an unprecedented spiral of deadly violence since the overthrow of President François Bozizé's regime by the Seléka rebels, a coalition from the northeast of the country.

Two presidents for one country, 2011

Série | The 2010-2011 Ivorian crisis is a political crisis that emerged after the second round of the 2010 Ivorian presidential election, the first election whose outcome led to an electoral dispute following a suspicion of fraud.

multimedias


Une caravane en hiver, 2020

Film | In a small town of South Morocco, sheltered by a camping, some modest French pensioners move in every winter...

Ivory Coast: When Police Rob, 2020

Film | Ivory Coast is trying to get rid of the rampant corruption in its police force. A military court in Abidjan tries to crack down on police officers that exort their victims, knowing full well that the issue is wide-spread and systematic.

Bons amis, 2013

Film | Investigation, interviews, portraits, Bons Amis aims to explore the delicate issue of reconciliation in Côte d'Ivoire and to document the challenges of a peaceful memory for a major West African country.

With the christians of Chad, 2012

Film | Report in Chad on daily life of christian community in Mont Guera region.

3 Sticks of Chalk, 2012

Film | Report in Chad on daily life of christian community in Mont Guera region.

Une caravane en hiver, 2020

Film | In a small town of South Morocco, sheltered by a camping, some modest French pensioners move in every winter...

Ivory Coast: When Police Rob, 2020

Film | Ivory Coast is trying to get rid of the rampant corruption in its police force. A military court in Abidjan tries to crack down on police officers that exort their victims, knowing full well that the issue is wide-spread and systematic.

Bons amis, 2013

Film | Investigation, interviews, portraits, Bons Amis aims to explore the delicate issue of reconciliation in Côte d'Ivoire and to document the challenges of a peaceful memory for a major West African country.

With the christians of Chad, 2012

Film | Report in Chad on daily life of christian community in Mont Guera region.

3 Sticks of Chalk, 2012

Film | Report in Chad on daily life of christian community in Mont Guera region.

Une caravane en hiver, 2020

Film | In a small town of South Morocco, sheltered by a camping, some modest French pensioners move in every winter...

Ivory Coast: When Police Rob, 2020

Film | Ivory Coast is trying to get rid of the rampant corruption in its police force. A military court in Abidjan tries to crack down on police officers that exort their victims, knowing full well that the issue is wide-spread and systematic.

Bons amis, 2013

Film | Investigation, interviews, portraits, Bons Amis aims to explore the delicate issue of reconciliation in Côte d'Ivoire and to document the challenges of a peaceful memory for a major West African country.

With the christians of Chad, 2012

Film | Report in Chad on daily life of christian community in Mont Guera region.

3 Sticks of Chalk, 2012

Film | Report in Chad on daily life of christian community in Mont Guera region.

Interviews


La vie après Boko Haram
Swiss Press Photo

2019

Interview with Michaël Zumstein who went to Niger, in Goudoumaria, for a report on a center that welcomes the repentant of Boko Haram. In this centre, attempts are being made to reintegrate repentant fighters from the Islamist terrorist sect. Some prefer to remain anonymous, and others show their faces. There is also a section reserved for women.

Une photo, un auteur
Visa pour l’Image

2014

At Visa pour l’Image, Michaël Zumstein presents his work in the exhibition “Centrafrique. Of terror and tears”. Ten days after the attack launched by anti-Balaka militiamen on Bangui, Michael Zumstein met with young Christian rebels.

Michaël Zumstein à Visa pour l’Image
L’Obs

Interview by Tancrède Bonora, 2014

On the occasion of the Visa pour l’image de Perpignan festival, photojournalist Michaël Zumstein looks back on his reports in Central Africa.

Centrafrique de terreur et de larmes
France 3 Occitanie

2014

In 2012, Michaël Zumstein was in Central Africa at the heart of the conflict between Christian and Muslim militias. He spent 6 months in this country, moving from one camp to another in order to show the backstage.

Dignité
Elizabeth Kelly

2014

Interview with photographer Michaël Zumstein about his photo series documenting housing injustices in the rapidly growing city of Lagos, Nigeria. This video is one in a 6-part series of interviews with contributors to Dignity, a photographic exhibition sponsored by Amnesty International focused on humanitarian issues around the world.

Côte d’Ivoire, la démocratie par les armes
Arte

2013

Michaël Zumstein followed the outcome of the Ivorian conflict in the heart of Abidjan. Although calm has returned, it still remains calm: Alassane Ouatara has been invested President of the Republic promising to gather all the Ivorian people. This task will be difficult after the violence that has taken place between each side.

awards


Canon 2020 Grant for short Film (France)

For his film “Bangui la coquette”

2020

Swiss Press Photo – 1st Prize, World category (Swiss)

For his subject: “La vie après Boko Haram”.

2019

POY (Pictures Of the Year) – Award of Excellence

For his subject: “Terror and tears in Central African Republic”

2014