Gilles Nicolet

a bit about me

I am a self-taught photographer who has been living and working in Africa for almost 35 years now, with long stays in Somalia, West Africa and Tanzania. I started out as an agricultural engineer but became a full-time professional photographer in 1992. I have since shot numerous stories for all sorts of magazines, including the Sunday Times Magazine, National Geographic, GEO, the Smithsonian and Paris-Match.

I have a special interest in anthropology and ethnography, something that – I hope – has helped me capture the essence of my subjects. In the past most of my stories where about rare traditions that somehow linked man and wildlife or nature, but Africa has changed a lot in the last few decades and unfortunately most of these traditions have now disappeared. My recent work has therefore been more personal and contemplative and less focused on narrative picture stories meant for magazines. In fact, today my interest lies in the convergence between art and documentary photography. I have also moved away from color photography and now only shoot in black and white.

I have been the recipient of several awards, including a Fuji Award and a World Press Photo Award. My current work on the Swahili Coast recently obtained 3 Honorable Mentions at the Monochrome Awards (USA) and the 2nd Prize in the Portfolio category of the Hamdan International Photography Awards (UAE).

To see more of this on-going work on the Swahili Coast – a unique physical, historical and cultural entity that runs from Southern Somalia to Mozambique – you may visit