Thierry Gouegnon

Thierry Gouegnon

Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Ouragahio, Ivory Coast
“It’s very important to respect the people you photograph.”


Politics, daily life, culture, women’s issues.

One Shot

. Abidjan, Cote DIvoire. Reuters/Thierry Gouegnon
French troops stand near a dead Ivorian youth as they confront protesters at Abidjan airport, which the troops were protecting. Hundreds of demonstrators faced off with French troops in Abidjan after state radio urged protesters to form a "human shield" to protect the house of Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo.
“It was the first time I had covered such clashes and I was trembling when I saw the body of the boy. I took a picture but I was still very sad.”


My earliest memory of photography is my father’s amateur photography. He always took pictures of our family, whenever we travelled and on special occasions. I remember looking through our family albums a lot as a child.

My father passed away when I was 28. I was looking through his belongings and found his camera. I was very interested in photography at the time and I started taking pictures more seriously, teaching myself as I went along.

I’m a naturally observant and inquisitive person. I have always wanted to keep hold of memories, and for me photography is the best way to do that.

I love meeting new people, exchanging ideas with them and learning from their personal experience. For instance I especially enjoyed a report I did on women cocoa famers in Djangobo, Ivory Coast.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned while working as a photographer is perseverance. If you pay close attention to the realities of how people live, you will succeed.

I want major decision-makers to see my pictures so they know what daily life is like for the majority.

I love the work of Sebastiao Salgado because he treats very human subjects. His path to photography, after a successful career in business, is also inspiring.

New photo technology, as well as the widespread use of smartphones, threatens the traditional way breaking news is covered. But that does not diminish the work of professional photojournalists, who have the ability to tell stories in ways that amateurs cannot.

Photojournalists have the ability to reflect reality and capture history through a still image. Nothing can replace this profession.