Jason Lauré's Photographic Odyssey

Jason Lauré is a veteran of some 25 books during his years as a highly accomplished photojournalist, and his latest--Africatrek--is his most personal book to date. As the subtitle states, this story is "an American photographer's odyssey through Africa." However, this book offers us even more. It's the journey of Lauré's life, career, and what initially drew him to Africa. The story and accompanying 187 images provide an interesting view of Africa as seen through the eyes of one who's deeply involved with this continent and its people, not merely from the viewpoint of a visitor.

South Africans participating in a march to protest the government's refusal to supply basic AIDS-fighting drugs.
All Photos © Jason Lauré , All Rights Reserved

"I've had the idea for some years about doing a personal book," states Lauré, who now makes Cape Town, South Africa his home. He observes that most photographers who come to Africa concentrate on wildlife, and "don't have much contact with the people." Of the whales and beautiful views of the African coast, he says, "I love nature; it gives me energy, but I'm really not a wildlife photographer. I'm into photographing the people."

A photo on the cover of a proposed book, entitled Hard Journeys In The New South Africa.

A gold-clad model in Cape Town's annual Anglogold competition. This event gives young jewelry designers the opportunity to make amazing creations with this versatile metal.

Today, in post-apartheid South Africa, there is much more freedom of travel--"I have the whole continent to play with." He remarks,"I've been very lucky," and recounts the interesting times he's experienced and photographed in the United States and abroad. But once in Africa, he says, "I've never seen any reason to work anywhere else." Lauré lives in a part of Cape Town that he compares to Sausilito, a picturesque coastal town north of San Francisco, California. He enjoys the views of the ocean in the distance and the rolling hills out of his window. "I really like it here, and can walk into town."

A young Samburu warrior with a camel.

Series of Connections
During the '60s, Lauré worked as a copyboy at the New York Times, a job that he had hoped would be a stepping-stone to becoming a journalist of the globe-trotting variety, one who would travel far and wide to cover news events. However, he discovered that "that old intern system was changing," and the Times required a college degree in order for one to advance.

Nonetheless, Lauré stayed at the newspaper for a year, where he worked by day and attended Columbia University at night. "I was befriended by a gentleman who had a camera column for the paper." This columnist suggested that Lauré get a camera, thus he purchased a Voigtländer. As he often says, "My life is a series of connections."