A Passage to Congo - Pierre Loos and Pierre Buch
A Passage to Congo by Pierre Loos and Pierre Buch is a collection of photographs taken by Doctor Emile Muller (1891-1976) in the Congo provinces of the Kasai and Katanga, territories of the Chokwe, Luba, Bashibushong and Basalampasu tribes. For these people, he was not the "boss", but he who cured, who gave relief, who listened. He could move easily between the tribes without having to tackle the reticence that has denatured so many ethnic photographs. The privileged witnesses of esoteric ceremonies that are rarely photographed, his images are precious from an ethnographic and historical point of view, and reveal a fine aesthetic sense and profound humanity. Veritable living masks, as in the remarkable portraits of young Chokwe girls, astonishing initiation rites, scenes of divination, wild rhythmic dances responding to the beat of the large slotted drums, sculptural bodies decorated with tattoos and refined headgear recall the beauty and riches of these cultures, now lost in the modern world.Although some of Muller's negatives have survived over the years without excessive suffering, most were damaged. Numerous details had become indecipherable. Pierre Loos, who initiated the project, decided that a careful restoration had become vital. This was entrusted to Pierre Buch, a specialist in digital processes, who scanned the glass plates and films, restored the digital files, prepared the images for this edition and produced enlargements on art paper for a travelling exhibition.