Ollivier Girard

Photojournalism | Last Updated: February 16, 2021

I’m a French-born documentary photographer based in Niamey, Niger. I specialize in global development issues with non-governmental organizations. My work as a humanitarian and non-profit photographer has taken me to various destinations around Africa and the Middle East. I am passionate about telling the stories of people and organizations making a difference in the world today.

I started with the Nikon F4 and F5. It was a tank—fantastic body, ready for adventure—but after a while I moved to digital. Then I used the Nikon D200 and D300, and finally one of the best cameras at the time, the Nikon D700. I enjoyed the performance of this camera.

I really like how Nikon fulfills my geeky side with the many intuitive buttons and a more rugged style of the camera. I couldn’t have been happier back then. It just fit my needs of having all the features. Then the D810 came out, but I missed the feeling and the texture of the D700’s sensor. Since I’m always on the move, every item in my gear bag has to be worth its weight in gold so I decided to make the move to Fuji.

I have always used Nikon, but that’s not to say it’s better or worse than any other brand. It’s difficult to find a poor camera these days, so there’s no need for brand loyalty. Since I purchased my first Fuji back in 2012, I have been an enthusiastic user.

Having owned several of their bodies and being such a fan already, there were a few new features the Fuji X-Pro2 promised that convinced me to jump in and so far, so good….

Each camera gave me a new way to think about how to capture images by improving my style. I believe that we are in the greatest age of photography, because we have more tools to create today than ever before. In the end, it is all about the creative process.

I used to travel with studio lights and big stands to a location, then in the end I didn’t even use them due the time passing so quickly on the field, so now I only carry what I need to work with. So attached to my X-Pro2, my lens selection basically pairs a wider lens with a longer one, so common combos with the two cameras are Fuji 16mm f/1.4 + Fuji 35mm f/1.4, or Fuji 18mm f/2 + Fuji 90mm f/2. My walk-around lens when I’m doing personal work is normally the Fuji 18mm f/2.

In reality, I picked Fuji because of the rich and smooth colors with outstanding detail sharpness, and because I can customize the settings to how it feels in my hand and hanging on my shoulder. For me, Fuji strikes the right balance of flexibility, fun, form and function.

I use Moleskine notepads to record names of people, quotes, contacts, and snippets of information and observations, as well as ideas for future stories. Every now and then I’ll need to capture audio in the field, the Zoom H5 offers an inexpensive way to get the job done right.

To save my back a little when trudging through airports, the Apple MacBook Pro 13’ is very light, and having solid-state storage means that it can be bashed around without too much risk of losing data. I often have to file pictures from the field and so keep it with me whenever I can.

Finally, I work mainly with natural light and a LiteDisc reflector. I also use Cactus System RF 60. I also have a tripod, the MeFoto, follow me around the world – it is very light to carry, but robust at the same time. To carry everything I use a Lowepro Bag.


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