Family History on the Move
North-West of Cameroon
Photo & Research: Vera Bakker
Vera Bakker is working on photographs for the project ‘Connecting in Times of Duress’, an NWO-funded research project at Leiden University, aimed at understanding communication and conflict in Middle Africa’s ‘mobile margins’. Vera focuses on photography and mobility of people in the Grass-fields of Cameroon. She is interested in how digitisation has transformed the presentation of the self and how this relates to questions of identity, memory, mobility and transnationalism.
Photographs in this sense are living and ever changing visual maps of personal networks. The emergence of mobile phones and small digital cameras has changed the practices of professional photographers and the importance of their studios in people’s everyday lives. However, photographers are still invited to document events such as weddings, birth celebrations and funerals. Their photographs end up in private photo albums and are displayed in the homes of their customers and are therefore highly present in the visual landscape. The photographs tell stories and are constantly in movement. Families hold on to them in order to hold on to their memories while the world around them changes.