Africa’s people inspire travel photographer Pascal Mannaerts

Posted on 14 April 2021

During his many years of travel, Photographer Pascal Mannaerts has found that it’s the people that really inspire him – particularly in Africa.

Abaté is a Karo chief and lives in the village of Korcho, on the eastern bank of the Omo River in Ethiopia.

‘I place the human being as the main focus in my photographic work, through photographs which tend to open dialogues, arouse emotions and questions,’ says Pascal Mannaerts of his travels around the world, immersing himself in the different cultures he discovers.

He began photographing his journeys about 15 years ago and soon realised that discovering people was what interested him the most.

A Sufi Imam on the streets of Harar, Ethiopia.

A young novice at the Orthodox monastery of Oura Kidane Mehret, in the Lake Tana region of Ethiopia.

‘When I take someone’s portrait, I always try to give priority to naturalness and spontaneity,’ says the Belgian-based photographer. ‘For me, a beautiful portrait gives off an emotion that comes on its own, and that is not calculated. This is why the contact and the relationship with the person being photographed are fundamental. For this, I have no recipe. I work by feeling.’

Hamar women in Ethiopia are easily identified by their characteristic outfits. The traditional dress code for unmarried Hamar girls includes elegant cowrie-shell collars, seeded or glass-beaded necklaces and decorated goatskin clothing.

Young Malian boy, Bamako.

He’s most drawn to Africa and Asia. ‘Africa fascinates me by its diversity, the richness of its cultures and its peoples, and by the feeling of warm and sincere welcome that I usually feel there. It’s also a continent where the word “adventure” still takes on its full meaning. So often in Africa my heart goes boom.’

A young mother proudly poses in traditional dress with her son in the streets of Porto-Novo, the capital of Benin.

Tuareg eyes, Timbuktu, Mali.

The past year has turned his work upside down but Pascal is currently working on a project on women in Oman which will be presented in France and Oman this year. ‘I will also hit the roads of Namibia later this year.’

A Fulani girl at the weekly market in Markoye, Burkina Faso.

His first photographic book Parchemins d’Ailleurs (Parchments of Elsewhere, Hachette, France), features over 10 years of Pascal’s photographs and stories from around the world. His second photographic book will be released this year.

Mursi woman, Ethiopia. The Mursis are animists. They believe in the spirits that inhabit their universe.

See more of Pascal’s work at

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