Numéro 13

Mbuti Visuals

Photography in the Ituri Forest (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Page 106
Reto Kuster

From above, the Ituri forest in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaïre) appears as an endless green carpet of trees, obstructing the view into the world below the forest canopy (cover photo). Seen from an outsider’s perspective, this image may provoke feelings of fear and isolation, conjuring up Western notions of wilderness, impenetrable jungle and Joseph Conrad’s «Heart of Darkness». Yet, below the canopy, the forest is well-structured: a web of trails and forest camps are used by Mbuti net-hunters, village farmers, traders, rang- ers, army deserters and people looking for ivory and gold.