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.
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.
A woman sells mangoes and other fresh fruit on the street in Old Town Niamey.
A popular local reggae artist hosts a music show on one of Niamey’s largest radio stations, Anfani FM.
A woman sells boiled greens out of a shed beside her small home in a Niamey suburb.
Vendors hawk grains, legumes and dried insects at a street market in Niamey.
A man carefully stacks handmade hats at the entrance of his shop in Niamey.
A boy unpacks balls of soap at his stall outside Niamey’s giant central market.
A man watches customers pass by his necklace shop in Niamey’s central market.
A man peddles sandals and sundries from his mobile cart.
A fruit vendor takes a nap during the hottest part of the day when customers are few and far between.
Two men butcher game and livestock at a roadside market in Kouré.
A man grills an assortment of meat over an oil barrel at a roadside market in Kouré.
A tailor transforms colorful, patterned fabrics into various garments at a shop in downtown Niamey.
Check out more high-resolution shots from my trip in my album on Flickr.