Please, take a minute to vote this! THANKS!

Hello lovely people!
If you like this photo of a female fighter from Congo (from rebel group Mai Mai Shetani), please vote for it in this contest!
Users can choose their favorite image by voting online that will help in the final results:) THANKS! //

Car* tutt*!
Partecipo a questo concorso con questa foto di una teenager congolese, guerrigliera combattente in un gruppo ribelle chiamato Mai Mai Shetani.
Se vi va votatela, tra i vari premiati pesa nella votazione anche le prefenze del pubblico. GRAZIE!

Screen shot 2013-08-20 at 12.07.01

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Here we are again!

Hello everybody, sorry for my silence. I’ve been following a long story in Congo for 4 months. Before that period of time in the field I was in Italy, studying. I was doing a wide research about an undercovered topic: female fighters in African wars, more specifically in Congolese rebel groups..
Basically after my research I took a flight for Kampala. I ended up staying in Congo instead Uganda, 4 months instead 2 weeks. It took a very long time to find the rebels and get the access…but actually it has been the most exciting adventure of my life…
Now I’m in the process of selling the project in the European magazines’ editorial market.
If any of you is curious about the project you can see it on my website, MS KALASHNIKOV. Unfortunately a magazine tried to steal my photos (no comment) so there’s a password to get the access. Just drop me a line to and I’ll be happy to share the story with you.

MS Kalashnikov | Female fighters in Congolese rebel groups

I’m in Italy at the moment and I’ll stay here for 1 month to reorganize many things.

For those who are planning to be at the Festival of photojournalism Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan, see you there the first week of September!

Let’s keep in touch with the blog, Twitter and Instagram!

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Once were warrior, thai boxe @ Tpo, Bologna IT

I didn’t know much about the Thai boxe, so I decided to watch it directly during a national match in Bologna, IT. Unfortunately I could stay just half an hour, but…Well, it has been fun! Thank you Patrizio for inviting me, here there are a few shots of the evening.
(I didn’t understand yet what thought thrills me more: staying behind the lens or joining them…?:)

21st of April, 2012, Tpo Bologna, IT

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Transboarding of shark carcasses and shark fins. Porto Grande, Mindelo, Sao Vicente, Cape Verde

As this is our last production update from Cape Verde and West Africa, we would like to share a discovery with you which we made during our stay in Mindelo, on the island of Sao Vicente. We decided to not go public with our progress because we needed to investigate something that has been proved to be a legal mess allowing unregulated and destructive fishing practices.

The European Union has an agreement with Cape Verde to fish highly migratory species, namely tuna. But Spanish and Portuguese vessels actually target sharks because of the high value of their fins on the Asian markets. This is done at the fringes of what is legal but it’s having dramatic consequences on the local population. It is not illegal because the agreements are unclear and can be interpreted in various ways. But what we know for sure is that this practice goes against the foundation of the agreement, where it is stated that European fishing vessels should work sustainably and not have an impact on resources targeted by locals.

Sharks are top predators and removing them has effects on the entire food chain in the area. Smaller fish that would prefer to be in the open ocean stay close to shore to find refuge from the sharks. Those smaller species that have disappeared mysteriously are what locals have caught for centuries. The pressure created by sharks is now so weak that fish which used to shelter by shore now freely roam the open ocean. Local fishermen can’t reach their target species unless they go far out with their little boats (which can have lethal consequences) and shoals are now in reach of international vessels, which can vacuum them up without having to take the risk of fishing them illegally within the 12 mile exclusion zone.

In 2009 the port of Mindelo saw 1400 tons of shark and shark fins. In the following year transshipment of shark products had more than doubled to 3200 tons, and by 2011 this reached 12.000 tons. These numbers are an indication of how worrying the whole situation is but don’t represent the entire scale because much fishing remains unreported.
Have a look at this photo gallery for a glimpse of what we filmed during that week of investigation.

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A day in the sea with Drew, the under water cameraman and Antonio, the fisherman

Our underwater operator Drew came to visit us on production and we had quite a few problems at customs with his equipment. But after a week of panic and haggling we finally managed to start working on our underwater scenes. Visit this link to see some photos of the week.

With special thanks to the photographer Andrew Sutton who took the under water pictures.
Full copyright © Andrew Sutton

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Mindelo: backstage of the backstage

Mindelo is a quaint touristic city, with colonial architecture and beautiful beaches by the promenade. To be honest we had hoped to spend a few days there relaxing by the sea, but in the end the stories we found were so intense, and what we discovered about foreign fishing in Cape Verde was so stunning that we barely managed to stop, although we did manage to get a little rest at the end.
The 4 Sundays ahead of carnival see a celebration with the exhibition of a group, like the one of the Mandingas, and the city becomes alive with the rhythm of samba. An explosion of energy featuring man in black, the whole gay community and abundance of grog which gives a yellow tint to the eyes.
In Mindelo we also met Kiso, our Cape Verdian supporter and flight controller. He has been extremely welcoming and joined us for an unforgettable dive into the Cape Verdean culture at the Esplanada Hollanda, a bar where Cesaria Évora used to perform before she became famous, in exchange for a couple of glasses of grog.

Mindelo è una cittadina turistica, curata, con un’architettura coloniale e meravigliose spiagge nei paraggi.
Per essere onesti la speranza per questi 10 giorni era quella di ritagliarsi anche qualche momento di relax e mare, ma alla fine le storie che ci circondavano erano talmente intense che anche quando ci siamo fermati per qualche ora, la testa continuava a ragionare e continuavamo a pensare e progettare e confrontarci…
Ma qualche pausa ce la siamo comunque concessa.
Le 4 domeniche prima del carnevale vengono celebrate con l’esibizione di un gruppo, come quello dei Mandinga, e la cittadina si muove a ritmo di samba. Un’esplosione di energia, la comunità gay al completo e lunghe bevute di Grog che tingono gli occhi di giallo.
A Mindelo abbiamo incontrato anche Kiso, un controllore di volo e musicista capoverdiano, nonché supporter di ‘Sandgrains’. Accogliente e disponibile come raramente capita, ci ha regalato un’ indimenticabile immersione nella cultura capoverdiana all’Esplanada Hollanda, dove anche Cesaria Evora si esibiva agli esordi in cambio di qualche bevuta di Grog.

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Mindelo: 2nd chapter of production

After a long sleepless night at the airport, spent working with the wonderful free wifi there, we arrived at Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente, part of the northern Barlavento archipelago.
We rented a flat (bartered to a great price by Francesca from our landlord Artur), and spent another intense 10 days there.
Mindelo is a strategic point for international fisheries: thanks to geological formations the port is the biggest and most active in all of CapeVerde. We made several interviews with fisheries engineers, marine biologists and the CEO of the port’s node for international and national fisheries. José ended his stay with us in Cape Verde and left for Gothenburg in Sweden. We spent only three weeks with him and it felt like three months!

Dopo una lunga notte in bianco in aeroporto, passata a lavorare con una meravigliosa connessione gratuita wifi, siamo arrivati a Mindelo, nell’isola di Sao Vicente, che fa parte delle isole al nord, dette ‘Barlavento’.
Abbiamo affittato una casa (con annessa contrattazione sul prezzo di Francesca col Sig. Artur), e sono volati altri 10 intensissimi giorni.
Mindelo è un punto strategico per la pesca internazionale: grazie alla conformazione geologica, ha sviluppato il porto più grande e attivo di tutto Capo Verde. Abbiamo realizzato varie interviste a ingegneri della pesca, biologi marini e i direttori esecutivi dei due punti nevralgici della pesca nazionale e internazionale.
Zè ha terminato la sua permanenza e purtroppo è tornato a Göteborg, Svezia. Sono passate solo 3 settimane e ci sembra di stare in viaggio da 3 mesi!

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