Iannis G presents “Codji” at the Speos Gallery– 7 rue Jules Vallès, 75011 Paris, from October 25 to November 25, 2016.

Codji: the Black Lands of Benin

Like a color chart, the scarified skins of those initiated to voodoo and the changing colors of the soil are reflections of both a physical and spiritual relationship to the land. Variations of color evoke the singularity of each individual in their choice of religious beliefs. At the same time, we can feel their geographical distance as the ground changes color according to regions.
By Codji one designates “The black Lands”, the remote regions of Bopa. Away from urban centers, these territories still testify of a traditional way of life and allow us to approach what voodoo represents in today’s Benin. Philosophy as much as superstition, it includes a variety of definitions. With legends, divine representations, as well as community rules, voodoo is first and foremost a way of life.
As a photographer, my goal wasn’t only to illustrate the individuality of each person as such, but also their positioning as actors within a given culture. I thus chose to present my subjects in both a realistic and symbolic way. Looks, scars, colors of the soil on one side – a poetic illustration of daily life on another – all of which allowed me to give a representation of life in Benin today.

Brought up within two cultures, I was confronted from a very young age with the question of identity. Quickly, I learnt to see cultural differences from a distance. Based in Paris since 2014, I studied philosophy, specializing in social sciences and political philosophy, continually placing the human in the center of my questioning. Understanding human society, its structure, its mechanisms and diversity has become my passion. Photography thus became my privileged tool to gain access to the world.
Iannis G

Iannis G is a portrait photographer based in Paris. After studying philosophy at the Sorbonne, Iannis turned to  photography and graduated from Speos in 2012. He is the co-founder of Windmill studio in Montreuil.