It is in this period that the passion for photography was transmitted to them by their dad who documented the family’s life in Africa with his camera. Those pictures of the late ‘70s became part of the brothers’ identity and the physical, visual support of their memories.
In 2010 Jeff and Andrew decided to go back to Monrovia to see and understand what happened to the country in 20 yeas of civil unrest. This experience allowed them to reconnect emotionally with their childhood but it also inspired the documentary film project titled Liberia77.
In the quest for their own personal memory, they realized that the photographic memory of the country had disappeared during the civil wars, when the possession of photographs was interpreted as a sign of wealth and could cost ones life. To avoid getting into trouble people burned their albums, their family pictures and also the collections of museums were destroyed, leaving the country deprived of an important part of its heritage and its national and individual memory.
The dynamic relations between seeing and knowing were broken by the conflict. Liberians are now missing an important tool to share and transmit history to the new generations. Fragments of their identities are gone forever and this project is trying to start the difficult task of restituting to the nation some of these fragments, collecting images and creating a new photographic archive.
Jeff and Andrew need support for their amazing project so please if you are interested in donating pre-war photographs of Liberia, click here.
Two Photographers’ Mission to Retrace a Lost Liberia
The Liberia '77 Photo Repatriation Project
Retracing ‘Normal-Day’ Liberia via Images: Two Canadians Recollect Pre-War Imagery