South Sudan was finally able to separate from the north in 2011. The state celebrated its independence as though looking at an endless sky: freedom and unlimited vastness, hope and a never-ending future. Everything was possible. Resurrection, democracy and life. When the Italian photographer Fabio Buccarialli first went to South Sudan in 2012, a joyful breeze still wafted through the country, which, up till then, had known close to twenty years of war.
Already a year later even the tiniest spark of positivity had been extinguished, the fight for political power had taken up the reins. Instead of freedom and democracy there was now rebellion and conflict, instead of hope suffering. “I consider it my job to tell the stories of people who are powerless. I want to deliver objective information about the state of human rights,” Buccarielli says, speaking about his work as a photographer.
In 2017, he returned to South Sudan. Accompanying an NGO, the Comitato Collaborazione Medica, he wanted to understand the dramatic consequences of the bloody civil war, and document the devastating situation. Hunger, poverty, cholera and flight – the country not only loses its population, it seems as though it is destroying itself. Bucciarelli’s haunting images of people and their surroundings reveal this process. Sick children, emaciated patients, relentless drought. The Italian delivers the information in full colour, and with images you will be unable to forget.
You can see Fabio Bucciarelli’s full South Sudan portfolio in LFI 2/2018 which will appear on 23 February.