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Photographer captures 'unbreakable spirit' in West Africa

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Photographer Thomas Nybo recently visited five West African countries
  • Nybo took pictures showing some of the continent's toughest issues
  • He says everywhere he went he met hard-working mothers

(CNN) -- Photographer Thomas Nybo has captured images of some of the toughest issues facing Africa, from child mortality to access to education.

He recently visited five countries in 11 days as he traveled around West Africa with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

An experience photographer and filmmaker, Nybo has documented life in more than 65 countries including Sudan, Lebanon, Congo and Yemen. A regular contributor to CNN, he's also worked for other organizations including, the United Nations.

While in West African countries including Niger and Burkina Faso, Nybo says no matter people's hardships, he found an unbreakable spirit in everyone that shines through in his pictures.

The photographer's favorite image from the trip was of a girl carrying her sister to a health clinic.

A Photographer's journey
RELATED TOPICS
  • West Africa
  • Niger
  • Africa

"She was fascinated by the camera and followed me around until I took her photo," he said.

At the same center he met a boy who was carrying his sister on his back. Nybo points out that if you look closely at his eyebrows you can see he is wearing make-up.

"It was the first time I'd seen a boy of his age in Africa wearing make up," he added.

In another of his pictures Nybo also captured a young woman with facial scarification, a common practice in the area.

"They typically use a razor blade or a sharp knife to carve different patterns in to the skin," he explained.

One of the toughest places Nybo says he visited was a center for malnutrition in Niger. He photographed a family who were camping outside the building because of the stifling heat inside.

At the center he photographed a two-year-old baby who was suffering from measles. The baby was starting to go blind from a vitamin A deficiency but doctors were able to save her in time.

Nybo says that everywhere he went he met hard-working mothers; one group in particular that caught his eye had started a community garden to feed their children.

Watch the video Video to see Thomas Nybo talk about more of the photographs.