Africa

Liberia comes alive ...

Updated 0938 GMT (1738 HKT) May 8, 2014
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Monrovia animated child soldier Francois BeaurainMonrovia animated child soldier Francois Beaurain
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Photographer Francois Beaurain is creating a series of GIFs of Monrovia, Liberia's capital. These are still versions of those GIFs. Courtesy Francois Beaurain
When Beaurain first decided to move to Monrovia, all the Google images looked like "a nightmare," he says. Courtesy Francois Beaurain
All the images he found on Google were of child soldiers, civil war and blood diamonds. On moving, he admits he was "worried." Courtesy Francois Beaurain
On arrival in Monrovia, however, he found it a lovely place, and one of the safest cities in Africa. He decided to address this discrepancy by creating his own version of the city through a series of GIFs. Courtesy Francois Beaurain
Many of his GIFs are set in the Ducor Hotel, which was once one of Africa's first five-star properties. Today, it sits mostly abandoned in the aftermath of Liberia's Civil War. Courtesy Francois Beaurain
Beaurain found his subjects by simply walking around his neighborhood with a camera. Courtesy Francois Beaurain
Many locals assumed he was a foreign journalist, planning to sell his images abroad. Initially, putting them at ease took some work, he says. Courtesy Francois Beaurain
When describing his work to potential subjects, Beaurain shows them some of his work on a smartphone he carries around. Courtesy Francois Beaurain
Ultimately, Beaurain hopes that when people search Liberia or Monrvoia, his images will trump some of the more negative ones that are prominent on the Internet. Courtesy Francois Beaurain