Reunion Island : First contact 6

That’s it, I’m with my family on the island of Reunion ! To tell the truth, it feels good to be with my wife and children after more than a month spent away from them after their departure in early August. We have already been separated but never so long. The longest duration should not exceed 1 week. I do not stay long nevertheless because I have to go back to the continent for 3 weeks of training … I was able to discover the new routine of my children. Wake up at 6:15 am, leaving for school at 07:15 am. FYI, at Jouques we used to leave home at 8:00 am … Which is still a big difference. Two reasons explain this earlier departure. The traffic is very dense (not to say infernal …) and also the school that starts half an hour earlier. It’s a new rhythm to take.



Since we are on a tropical island, the sun rises earlier and the city activates earlier too. I was able to visit their school and I am very happy to see that the school is very good and that my children have already adapted to their new environment. They really have a capacity of adaptation that we adults do not have ! I did a little Street Photography in the city with them after school as you can see in the photo above. They have a uniform like the little English. Last Tuesday, I was able to go explore my new playground with my Ricoh GR. I had to roam a little over an hour in the streets of Saint-Denis, where I will work and also live. I was there very early and the streets were pretty deserted. We have to wait until 9:30 am to see the streets come to life.



Since I arrived, the weather is pretty capricious. To be honest, it was often cloudy and we even had some showers. But nothing really bad. We are on a tropical island and the sun reappears often after the showers ! This Tuesday morning, I had a lot of luck because the sun made meager appearances allowing me to play with the light. As in Aix-en-Provence, I am more comfortable now when the light is flat. Why ? Because I do not have to worry about where the sun comes from to take pictures. I just have to focus on the scenes to capture.



When I was in Aix-en-Provence, I knew my environment and it was quite simple to do Street Photography there. Here it is not yet the case. I do not know the city well yet or how people will react to my rather intrusive style. They will not react in the same way to my presence. Aix is ​​a very touristy city and the presence of people with a camera passes almost unnoticed. Although there are also a lot of tourists in Reunion, they are not necessarily in the city of Saint-Denis which is not of great interest to people passing through the Island. My approach may be different at first to domesticate this city. It’s quite exciting but also intimidating. I might have run into another street photographer during my hour spent in the streets. There is no mistaking the signs. A shoulder bag and an analog DSLR screwed to the wrist. I did not dare to call him but I think I will run into him again in the streets of Saint-Denis …



The picture above is a failed one. You guess why, it was just a question of a few milliseconds when pressing the shutter. To be too close to people, that’s what happens … This woman is from the Comoros Islands, which are located in the north-west of Madagascar not far from Mayotte which is a French island. As you can guess, many Comorians fleeing the poverty of their islands try to pass on Mayotte to obtain the French nationality. For several years, there has been an increased presence of people of Comorian origin on the Island. This is not without generating quite a lot of tension with this community on the Island. I will not dwell on this delicate subject because it is not the object of this Blog. So we often meet women with these paintings on their faces. Reunion is a multi-cultural island. Several different ethnic groups live side by side without much problem. I still have to find the limits not to exceed so as not to offend these people. I keep a certain distance for the moment to evaluate their reactions to my presence.



Change is good. In Aix-en-Provence, I was at home. This change will force me to evolve, to do things differently to confront new type of people. Will it be harder to do Street Photography on Reunion Island ? It is difficult to answer this question because I spent just a little time in the streets of Saint-Denis. What is certain is that it will be different. What I did in Aix will serve me but I have to reinvent myself in relation to the context.



All the photographs were made with the Ricoh GR.





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6 thoughts on “Reunion Island : First contact

  • John Harper

    Firstly it’s good to hear your boys have settled in, kids do adapt very quickly to new environments. Although that’s an early start…school begins here at 9:00am and ends 3:15pm, which probably explains why we can’t sort out bloody Brexit! Your photography is going to adapt too, it’s bound to now you’re in a ‘normal’ town. That said you didn’t have any problem in Bristol and that isn’t a tourist city. Time will tell, but for now a great start…quality always shines through and it’s evident here in these shots.

    Cheers for now.

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      Just after walking a few times in Saint-Denis, I can feel that there is an enormous potential in this city. It’s not fancy and posh as Aix-en-Provence. A more raw colorful city. Will i miss the crowded streets of Aix ? Not sure. I can say that I can do Street Photography almost everywhere in the city. The light is awesome and even when it’s cloudy, the colors are just great. Well one more month before switching completely to Reunion Island

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      Hello HP,

      j’ai toujours considéré que la routine était plus intéressante en ce qui me concerne. Cette année néanmoins, j’ai plus photographié ailleurs que dans ma ville d’Aix-en-Provence. Comme tu le dis, le changement a du bon. Est ce que j’ai fait le tour d’Aix ? Je n’en sais rien. Ce qui est sûr c’est que je ne referai plus de photos là bas. C’est une nouvelle page qui se tourne. La Réunion est un endroit excitant car très différent de ce que je connais et c’est aussi un territoire à défricher car je n’ai pas vu encore de photos de rue de l’île… Je suis sûr qu’il y a des photographes de rue ici. Faut juste trouver leur travail