François Beaurain Puts a New, Animated Face on Liberia

French photographer François Beaurain is putting a new face on the capital city of Liberia. Here the citizens become the teeth on a turning gear, “a piece of the conveyor belt that animates the city.” All too familiar with the countries storied past, François’ gives the people a lively presence often missed by the westernized world and buried under news stories that highlight the grim and shocking.

“I like taking pictures of Monrovia and I was looking for a web based project idea where I could involve local inhabitants,” François told me when I asked what inspired him to make these images. “There are very few examples of web based creations in Africa. Most of fancy projects you see on the internet come from the modern and rich westernized world. Here, most of people do not have computer and even less internet access and when I show people my gifs, they sometimes ask me if I am a wizard…”

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“On the other side of the screen, people on the web are not used to see fancy things coming from the slums of Africa. I hope this creates a contrast able to raise the attention on this small and fascinating country unfortunately still famous for its civil war and child soldiers.”

Many of François’ images are taken at the derelict Ducor Hotel. Once one of the few five-star luxury hotels in Africa, the building sits atop a hill overlooking the city. Now it stands as a reminder of the nation’s former prosperity and a hope for things to come. Learn more about the work of François Beaurain, including more from Monrovia Animated and his collages using posters from “Nollywood” at

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Benjamin Starr

Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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