Liz Gilbert

January 25, 2016 by Laura Gomez


 

Liz Gilbert is a professional photographer with over 20 years of experience working in Africa. She began her career as a photojournalist in 1991 working for the photo agency Sygma (Corbis) covering civil war, famine and conflicts in Somalia, Rwanda, Congo, Burundi, Sudan and Ethiopia.

Her work has been published in major news publications around the world including The New York Times, TIME Magazine, LIFE Magazine, Newsweek, STERN and Paris Match. She is the author of two books documenting African culture, Broken Spears (Grove Atlantic, 2003) and Tribes of the Great Rift Valley (Harry N. Abrams, 2007). Images from these books have been exhibited in galleries, museums and universities in France and the United States, and are in the permanent collections of The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

She is also the subject of the new documentary film The Last Safari, (2013), chronicling an epic journey across Kenya’s Great Rift Valley to discover cultural change in modern Africa. Today Liz Gilbert divides her time between New York City and Nairobi with her family.

Photo Interview

Name: Liz Gilbert

Age: 45
Birthday: November 12

College: Parsons

Color: Brown
Book: Warriors and Strangers by Gerald Hanley
Movie: The Killing Fields
Food: Paleo Banana pancakes!

For how long have been in photography? Over 20 years

How did you start? With a plane ticket to Africa, a camera and a map….

How would you define yourself as an artist? Jack of many trades, master of none, but the fun is in the trying Elizabeth L. Gilbert moved to Africa in 1991 to work as a photojournalist. Her images of conflicts and cultural issues in Somalia, Rwanda, and other East African countries have appeared in TIME, Newsweek, Life, and the New York Times as well as other European publications. She is the author of Broken Spears: A Maasai Journey and Tribes of the Great Rift Valley.

Please could you tell us about “Tribes of the Great Rift Valley”? 
LIZ: The book is a collection of images from a three year journey across the Great Rift Valley documenting whatever remained of traditional culture and adornment.

How did you get the idea to film “The last Safari” movie www.thelastsafarimovie.com?
= I always wanted to bring the photos I had taken back to the people who made them possible. It was a dream even when  I was working on the books.
The people in the photographs were the ones I most wanted to see them. www.thelastsafarimovie.com

Was it difficult to finance the production and post production of the movie? Fund raising is always a challenge. We felt truly humbled by the support we received from both private investors as well as our Kickstarter sponsors.
www.kickstarter.com/projects/135267184/the-last-safari

Where we can see the movie? Right now it is touring film festivals and should be available on DVD and digital download in 2015. You can always go to the website
or Facebook page to watch the trailer and learn more about screening opportunities at: www.thelastsafarimovie.com and www.facebook.com/thelastsafari

Do you have anothers works/projects has given you the most satisfaction? Designing jewelry referenced in African history with African artists for my company Shompole Collection www.facebook.com/ShompoleCollection has been a creative venture that has given me a lot of pleasure. Making things with my hands, working alongside other artists, finding inspiration in Africa – these are things are all connected.

Who are the photographer’s you admire the most? Malick Sidibe, Edward Curtis, James Nachtwey….but there are so many inspiring photographers out there. Right now I am loving Mutua Matheka’s architectural photography.

What about architects and designers? I’m building a treehouse now and so I am looking more at set design for inspiration – everything from Pirates of the Caribbean to old Tarzan film and of course the Swiss family Robinson stuff.

What are your next projects? Apart from the treehouse, I am starting a media collective in Kenya called Toolbox and am hoping to recruit talented young Kenyan photographers.

BOOKS:
Author, Tribes of the Great Rift Valley (Harry N. Abrams, 2007)
Author, Broken Spears: A Maasai Journey (Grove Atlantic, 2003)
Photographer, TIME/LIFE Books, Pictures of the Year 1996
Photographer, TIME/LIFE Books, PIctures of the Year 1998
Photographer, A Day in the Life of Africa
Photographer, A Day in the Life of The US Armed Forces

FILM:
2013, Subject of the feature length documentary film, The Last Safari (Pandora Multimedia Productions)
2013, Cinematographer, Eunoto, documentary short
2004, CNN, Ghosts of Rwanda, (photographic stills)
2002, Driector/ Editor/ Cinematographer, Katimwa’s Circumcision, documentary short

MUSEUM COLLECTIONS AND EXHIBITIONS:

1996: Visa Pour L’Image, Perpignan France, solo exhibition, collected news photography of conflicts in Rwanda, Somalia, Burundi and Sudan
2003: Visa Pour L’Image, Perpignan France, solo exhibition, collected images of Maasai ethnography from Broken Spears: A Maasai Journey
2003: June Bateman Gallery, solo exhibition of Maasai ethnographic images from Broken Spears: A Maasai Journey Broken Spears
2007 Alex Beard Studio, solo exhibition of Tribes of the Great Rift Valley
2012 Cummer Museum of Art, Jacksonville Florida, solo exhibition HIstories in Africa: Twenty Years of Photography by Elizabeth L. Gilbert
2013 Webster University, solo exhibition HIstories in Africa: Twenty Years of Photography by Elizabeth L. Gilbert
2013 Gallerie Noir, Dallas, Texas, solo exhibition Histories in Africa: Twenty Years of Photography by Elizabeth L. Gilbert

Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas, Permanent Collection
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Permanent Collection
 

www.lizgilbertphotography.com