Niger Express (2 of 4): Working for a Living

Niger’s geography makes large-scale agriculture and livestock production impractical, but subsistence farming (particularly millet) and pastoralism are still two of the primary ways a large portion of the desert-dominated country’s residents make their living. In the capital, however, there is a more diverse economy. While many work opportunities require manual labor, Niamey residents with in-demand trade skills and entrepreneurial spirits have a number of venues throughout the city in which to ply their trades or express their creativity.

Niamey Seamstress

During my recent trip to Niger, I made a concerted effort to photograph residents in their work environments when feasible. The following shots (and animation, above) illustrate a small sampling of the numerous industries in which Niamey’s hard-working residents engage.

A cobbler coats seams on handmade leather sandals with a layer of black polish in an artists’ cooperative on the outskirts of Niamey.

Niamey Cobbler
19mm @ 1/40, f/2.8, ISO 1000

A woman sells mangoes and other fresh fruit on the street in Old Town Niamey.

Woman Selling Mangoes
25mm @ 1/320, f/3.5, ISO 1600

A popular local reggae artist hosts a music show on one of Niamey’s largest radio stations, Anfani FM.

Niamey Radio DJ
17mm @ 1/160, f/2.8, ISO 100

A woman sells boiled greens out of a shed beside her small home in a Niamey suburb.

Boiling Greens in Niamey
24mm @ 1/15, f/2.8, ISO 400

Vendors hawk grains, legumes and dried insects at a street market in Niamey.

Niamey Street Vendors
70mm @ 1/640, f/2.8, ISO 800

A man carefully stacks handmade hats at the entrance of his shop in Niamey.

Hats for Sale
35mm @ 1/80, f/3.2, ISO 800

A boy unpacks balls of soap at his stall outside Niamey’s giant central market.

Soap Vendor
27mm @ 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 100

A man watches customers pass by his necklace shop in Niamey’s central market.

Selling Beads
17mm @ 1/80, f/2.8, ISO 800

A man peddles sandals and sundries from his mobile cart.

Street Shoe Seller
165mm @ 1/800, f/4, ISO 100

A fruit vendor takes a nap during the hottest part of the day when customers are few and far between.

Sleeping Vendor
24mm @ 1/250, f/7.1, ISO 100

Two men butcher game and livestock at a roadside market in Kouré.

Street Butchers
98mm @ 1/320, f/7.1, ISO 100

A man grills an assortment of meat over an oil barrel at a roadside market in Kouré.

Grilling Meat in Kouré
116mm @ 1/200, f/7.1, ISO 100

A tailor transforms colorful, patterned fabrics into various garments at a shop in downtown Niamey.

Tailor in Niamey
17mm @ 1/60, f/4, ISO 400

Check out more high-resolution shots from my trip in my album on Flickr.

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