Originally from Guadeloupe and based in France for the past eight years, Hély Habricot started photography at a very young age. As a complete and passionate artist, he also does graffiti, painting and has created a communication and audiovisual company. With many moves to his credit, Hély has had the opportunity to discover different cultures and traditions. A diversity that he particularly cherishes, and considers as one of the strengths of humanity. In his series made in Kenya, Abricot offers a curious look at the discoveries he made during his first trip to Africa.
What took you to photography?
I started photography at the age of six when my godmother gave me a camera for my birthday. Since that day, I fell in love with photography and I never stopped. I always carry a camera with me, to immortalize any moment or place I like.
What made you decide to go to Kenya?
My girlfriend went to work in Nairobi for two years, so I went on holiday to join her. It was the first time for me in Africa and the first time that I was discovering a new continent. I liked the experience so much that I’ve already been back there two other times and I’ll go again. I think that it is the most beautiful experience of my life, and I can only wish everyone to live it too.
Did you have any idea of what you might find there?
I’ve gotten into the unknown. There are a lot of stereotypes in people’s heads about Africa, but once I got there I discovered a beautiful country, with a very active and developed capital. The biggest discovery for me, however, was the one of Kenyan nature after leaving the city. A luxuriant one with different landscapes, each one more beautiful than the other. Between the mountains and their tea or roses fields, the savannah where animals live together… I got a real slap in the face when I found myself in the depths of the Kenyan bush in front of animals that humble us by their size and their power.
Is there something you wanted to convey through this series ?
If I had a message to convey through these photos, it’s that nature is beautiful and that, unfortunately, man has forgotten it. Animals are disappearing and I am really afraid that if we continue like this, the world we will leave to future generations will be insipid, empty of beauty and diversity.
And what about your work more generally ?
In my daily work, whether it’s in photography or video, I like to tell stories, to share the beauty of the world around us. The world is full of beautiful things, but you just have to take the time to live, to open your eyes and to realize it. Today we live in a system where everyone is in a hurry, overwhelmed, we no longer take the time to live what we do. When I experience such a wonderful moment, I often don’t take a picture. It could be a sunset on a beach in Guadeloupe or elephants playing in the water in Samburu, Kenya. What I want above all is to live intensely and not only through the lens. A way, for me, to anchor these moments in my mind.
Are you already thinking about a future project?
I would like to be able to travel again, to discover a world of new things, new cultures, traditions, lifestyles, ways of thinking. It’s a bit cliché, but I really think it’s important to live this kind of experience to open your mind, it allows you to realize that humans are only a grain of sand in the universe. It’s also an opportunity to question ourselves a bit about our place in this universe too. In a more concrete way, I want to commit myself to the preservation of nature and animals. That’s why I’ve put some of my photographs on sale and I’m donating part of them to organizations working in this direction in Kenya. I also have several ideas such as documentaries, photo or video reports that I would like to set up in Kenya and even in Guadeloupe, but I lack time and substance, so I try to make it up as I go along.