Richard Dansou, the black and white photography master

Born in a small village called Togbota-Oudjra , which is located in  Adjohoun( Benin) . Richard has a typical life story. A story that teaches us about faith in ourselves, courage and audacity to take the unkown part and to learn every single time we have the opportunity.

Seeing the light in a tunnel

 I lost my parents very early. My primary studies took place in Togbota (Benin) , my village. After obtaining my Certificate of Primary Education (CEP), the College of General Education (CEG Adjohoun welcomed me to high school). I was dismissed from college in 5th grade for non-payment of school fees. It was in this dark phase of my life that I met Mariette GARRABE-FERRAN, President of the NGO “Amour Sans Frontières” (Love without borders) she did not only take a mother’s place but also influence me in photography.

From diplomacy to photography?

It sounds really spectacular as a turnaround. But knowing me this does not surprise me because I know I have an unforeseeable side. I have always loved photography a little bit for a long time. During my training in Diplomacy, I was rather the kind of student very focused on his studies. But once the training finished, I experienced a kind of disillusionment. I had to be a little more realistic in my way of seeing things. That’s how I made three options that have changed a lot of events in my life.

First of all to do my second cycle in a sector other than Diplomacy. I chose to do Project Management. Then, i moved to the active phase of a secret passion. Which led me to buy my first camera on December 31, 2010.  To this day I have continued to ruin myself a little more to enrich myself. Finally, i have a work through which i’m building my professional experiences while continuing to learn photography.

Where did your passion for black and white come from?

The passion of the black and white came e when I discovered the software of the post-treatment and especially lightroom . I have started with retouch black and white photos that I took because I found it fascinating. But it must be confessed that my true passion was revealed by the my social media followers. They so appreciated my blacks and whites that I could not move on.Similarly as and as I went on this adventure a wide boulevard, bursting with infinite possibilities s offered to me.

How do you get to be creative with black and white?

Before being creative in black and white, you must first be creative in general. My creativity comes from the fact that I observe a lot . I also try to network with great photographers that inspire me a lot. I also strive to develop a special relationship with light because I am at the base of everything in photography.

How did you come to impose black and white to your audience?

First I had the grace to discover a favorable public to my black and white pictures from the beginning. But that is not enough. It was necessary to widen this public and to conquer new fans of black and white. To get there,  I continued to do and show black and white. The respect that I owe to all those who appreciate my work and the love I have, myself for the black and white forced me to push this type of photography a little further.

For me, it goes through a style. Black and white is, like any other material, wide. I had to find a style of my own. And in this quest I believe that I am almost there. But this is not enough.We must explore other horizons of this huge and rich’art.

And to think about it , I am tempted to think that I did not impose anything on the public but it is rather the public which imposed me the black and white.

What are the messages you are trying to convey through your black and white pictures?

Black and white today is like a philosophy for me, a way to look at the world .

What I’m trying to show in a general way is the ability of this style to convey emotion despite its simplicity. This is proof that we do not need many things to be happy. I need little to make a picture that moves me myself because every emotion that I project is first personally experienced.

In a world that is changing at a breakneck pace and full of color s, black and white, like a nostalgic approach, just remembers that in our drive towards the future, we sometimes let things in the past that deserve to be perpetuated .

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What are your principles of success in the field of creative photography?

Humility for me is a basic principle. Because it allows us to realize our smallness and all the work that remains to be done. Yes, work matters a lot because I am even tempted to say that there is no talent only work. It is also important for me to have references that have a very high level in the field because it is very inspiring. The openness in photography is a very important aspect because it allows us to enrich ourselves in order to restore an innovative vision of passion.

I will say at last that the eye is what makes the difference between photographers. It is in this that I strive to work my sense of observation and in this matter I think I still have some way to go.

Crowned by an award recently, pride or responsibility?

For me this prize is much more a responsibility than a pride. This is a message to remind me that what I am doing now is beyond my own person and that even unsuspected glances are sometimes turned towards me. I must not only prove that I was at the height but i must go further.

Also, knowing my expectations vis-à-vis myself, it would be a lack ambition to give place to a crippling pride. I am grateful but I have to roll up the sleeves because there is so much to do.

What does the future hold for uDarimage?

No one knows what tomorrow will be like. However, I can say that I have old projects in the closet that would be dusted. Also, I’m working on finding ways to show my work to the public in a more appropriate setting than social media. And beyond all that I have announced, by the grace of God, there will also be pleasant surprises. 

Myself, I cross my fingers while waiting for what will happen because everything does not depend on me. Much of what will happen depends on who gave me that talent and vision because it is from him that the supply will also come.

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