Playtime in Congo: Michael Christopher Brown’s best phone photo | Photography
For years, Michael Christopher Brown had noticed the planes from the road to Goma airport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. From his first visit in August 2012, they caught his eye like a magnet, abandoned and inaccessible. “There was a military installation there and a UN base next door,” says Brown. “People were selling goods to the soldiers and you would see the children crossing the track. For a foreign photographer, it was forbidden.
Then, in November 2012, the rebel M23 faction arrived in the area, government forces withdrew and suddenly there was a window of an hour, maybe two. Brown, filmmaker Daniel McCabe and Horeb Bulambo Shindano, their Congolese friend and fixer, followed the children around the plane, Brown taking portraits, McCabe filming footage. minus the contrast between modern aviation equipment made obsolete, and the children who had nothing, taking charge.
“Back then, in 2012, and even today, I often use the phone to take pictures,” he says. “I love its simplicity and the way I feel closer to everything I photograph. Often people will forget that I am taking pictures.
Of all his work on the Congo, this series is Brown’s favorite. “It’s about hope more than any kind of victimization. These children rise above. They control these planes. They use them as a playground.