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Naked in Paradise

The first hour without clothes was difficult but I soon began to feel confident. The site was surrounded by a high wall – taking photographs was forbidden – and it was only after much talking that I was given permission to go ahead.

“I first heard of the Lichtfreunde (Friends of Light), a naturist camp by the shores of Lake Neuchâtel, through my officer in command at the compulsory military service. He was the camp’s president. I was intrigued and decided to check it out. The camp is protected by a wall and taking pictures was prohibited. I spent a week there and had to lay myself bare, artistically by showing and explaining my previous work, and literally. It took several meetings to gain the permission to shoot. The camp divided itself between the opponents and the ones who agreed but whom I then had to remind again and again that the pictures were going to be seen by everyone; many of them could not take the risk of others, family members, neighbours and work colleagues, to learn where they spent summer. I went back to the camp for several years, winning the people’s confidence. The pictures were publised in the press and were made into a book, Naked in Paradise, after eight years.”

naked_in_paradise_020 Early morning Yoga at Nudist Camp, Thielle Switzerland, 1996, Gelatin silver print, 24 x 36 cm, Édition : 1/nl
naked_in_paradise_022 naked_in_paradise_024 naked_in_paradise_026 Glace, 1996, Gelatin silver print, 24 x 35 cm, Édition : 1/nl
naked_in_paradise_035 naked_in_paradise_051 Jongleuse, 1996, Gelatin silver print, 36 x 24 cm, Édition : 1/nl
naked_in_paradise_061 naked_in_paradise_064 Femme dans l’eau, 1996, Gelatin silver print, 36,5 x 24 cm, Édition : 2/99
naked_in_paradise_065 naked_in_paradise_068 naked_in_paradise_078 naked_in_paradise_094 naked_in_paradise_104 naked_in_paradise_106


The northern and southern Sudanese are separated by religion and culture. The Northerners see themeselves as Arab and Muslim. The tall black Nilotic peoples of the south are Christian and animist. The more fundamental Muslims feel a missionary zeal to bring the south and the whole of Sudan under Islamic rule.

Richard Dowden – in the book Sudan

“After discovering Islamism in Algeria, I wanted to see a country that was already islamic. It could have been Afghanistan or Iran, but it so happens I had a friend, Artur K. Vogel, who was about to spend three weeks in Sudan for a major Zurich newspaper, and I went with him.
The woman on the picture worked for the Farm Bank in Khartoum. Every day after work she would go and train with weapons for the Popular Defense Force. That was how the militia trained its women soldiers.”

2002Graffenried-Sudan1 2002Graffenried-Sudan3 Sudan_mvg_Bibel Sudan_mvg_Fisch Sudan_mvg_Fluechtlingslager Sudan_mvg_Flugzeug Sudan_mvg_FrauenKrieger Sudan_mvg_FrauenKrieger2 Sudan_mvg_Front2 Sudan_mvg_Gottistgross2 Sudan_mvg_Hungerkind2 Sudan_mvg_KartonUSA Sudan_mvg_KinderaufSaecken Sudan_mvg_SPLAKind

Guerre sans Images

And these images, snatched by Michael von Graffenried without having been aimed, for to raise a camera to one’s eye is to put one’s life in danger, testify to a truth that no one is showing, that of daily fear and furor that you won’t see on the six o’clock news on television.

Robert Delpire, Creator and Founding Director of the Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, France 1981 – 1996

“It was chance, as almost everything else that happened in my career, that brought me to Algeria. I first set foot in the country, which I had never really heard of, to present an exhibition. In 1992, the civil war started. Because of the insecurity and the deep mistrust against photography, in order to be able to take pictures without people noticing, I decided to use a camera placed on my abdomen. Over the next ten years, I regularly went back to Algeria. A first exhibition was held in Paris in 1998, a second in Algiers in January 2000 at the National Library. When they saw the pictures, many people not only forgave me for having stolen the images, they also started confiding in me, telling me about these dark years. With film director Mohammed Soudani, we decided to go back to Algeria to find the people on the pictures. The result is the film Algérie – je sais que tu sais, which was presented at the International Film Festival in Locarno in 2002. For the people of Algeria, it represents the beginning of a path towards memory. A small step, but a step nonetheless.”Guerre_sans_images_mvg_001 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_002 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_003 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_004 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_005 Le vendredi, la tension règne aux abords des mosquées, Alger, juillet 1992. Guerre_sans_images_mvg_007 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_008 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_009 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_010 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_011 Trois générations de femmes algériennes à Touggourt, novembre 1991. Guerre_sans_images_mvg_013 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_014 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_015 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_016 Place des Martyrs à Alger, 1992. Guerre_sans_images_mvg_018 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_019 Tension dans la rue à Blida, novembre 1995. "Patriotes" sur le minaret de la mosquée d’Igoujdal, mars 1995. Guerre_sans_images_mvg_022 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_023 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_024 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_025 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_026 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_027 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_028 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_029 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_030 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_031 Dans la discothèque de l'hôtel El Djazaïr, à Alger, juin 1998. Guerre_sans_images_mvg_033 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_034 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_035 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_036 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_037 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_038 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_039 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_040 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_041 Dans la banlieue d'Alger, deux garçons jouent au policier et au terroriste. Guerre_sans_images_mvg_043 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_044 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_045 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_046 Journée internationale de la femme, salle Ibn Khaldoun, Alger, 8 mars 1995. Guerre_sans_images_mvg_048 17327-ALGERIE-054P114/115 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_050 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_051 Une famille algéroise dans son salon, novembre 1995. Guerre_sans_images_mvg_053 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_054 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_055 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_056 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_057 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_058 Jeunes dans le quartier de Hussein Dey, à Alger, jouant aux dominos. Jeunes d'Alger rêvant de partir à l'étranger. Dans la Casbah, un vieux couple revenant du marché aux légumes. Guerre_sans_images_mvg_062 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_063 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_064 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_065 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_066 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_067 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_068 Barrage de police dans la capitale. Guerre_sans_images_mvg_070 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_071 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_072 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_073 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_074 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_075 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_077 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_078 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_079 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_080 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_081 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_082 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_083Guerre_sans_images_mvg_084 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_085 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_086 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_087 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_088 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_089 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_090 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_091 Contrôle policier sur une route de la Mitidja. Guerre_sans_images_mvg_093 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_094 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_095 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_097 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_098 Match de football au stade du 5 Juillet, à Alger. Guerre_sans_images_mvg_100 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_101 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_102 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_103 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_104 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_105 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_106 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_107 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_108 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_109 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_110 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_111 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_112
Guerre_sans_images_mvg_113 Dans la casbah, juin 1998. Guerre_sans_images_mvg_115 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_116 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_117 Les puits de pétrole de Hassi Messoud, en novembre 1997. Guerre_sans_images_mvg_119 Guerre_sans_images_mvg_120

Guerre sans Images – Film

Graffenried risked his life to take photographs of the hidden conflict. In this film, he goes back to find the people whose pictures he « stole ». The videocamera witnesses these strange reunions and tries to capture moments of truth from those people who have everything to lose in delivering their stories.
Amka Film Productions

WAR WITHOUT IMAGES is the return of photographer Michael von Graffenried to Algeria, a country which, between 1991 and 2000, he visited incognito, taking pictures of people with a hidden camera. During that time before 9/11, Algeria was shaken by a civil war between the government and islamic extremists in which about 200,000 people lost their lives. In a land where Islamic terrorists executed more than sixty journalists and photographers in 1993 and 94. The result is a film that holds a mirror to contemporary Algeria: a crossed, contradictory, complex place where laughter and tears intermingle. It is a country that wants both to live and to forget its tragedy and which is still looking for its identity, somewhere between East and West.

A documentary film by Mohammed Soudani with Michael von Graffenried. 90′ DV>35mm colour-nb Dolby stereo, an Amka Film production. (French version with English Subtitles)


„Wo, so frage ich mich, wenn ich all diese Fotos sehe, wo ist er eigentlich nicht gewesen der Herr der Bilder oder vielmehr ihr Diener?“

Franz Hohler, october 1998 – in the book Weltpanorama

„Eine sommerliche Spritzfahrt am Genfersee, eine Hochzeit in Alexandria, Frauenfussball in Algier, Guy-Parade in Paris, eine Verhaftung in Port-au-Prince, der Milchmann von Damaskus, Topmodels in Peking – das Weltpanorama von Michael von Graffenried ist eine comédie humaine, aus welcher der international renommierte Fotograf den Leserinnen und Lesern der Wochenzeitung WELTWOCHE während eineinhalb Jahren jede Woche eine Szene in Form einer Panoramaansicht präsentiert. 1999 im letzen Jahr des Jahrtausends fotografierte Michael von Graffenried jede Woche eine Panoramaansicht. Die Wochenzeitung DIE ZEIT publizierte alle 52 Fotografien in ihrer letzten Ausgabe zum Jahrtausendwechsel.

Der Fotokolumnist hat einen grossen Teil des Erdballs bereist und oft genug den gesellschaftlichen Kreislauf von Leid und Hoffnung, Freude, Aufbruch und Enttäuschung erlebt. Er sucht die Menschen, die hinter den Ereignissen stecken. Seine Panorama-Fotografien zeugen von einem grossen warmen Herzen und einem offenen Geist. So ist ein Welttheater in Bildern entstanden.“


Text / texte Michael von Graffenried
deutsch / français, 52 Seiten / 52 pages
26 doppelseitige Fotos / 26 photos en double page
duplex / duplex en noir et blanc
32 x 24 cm
2002, Eigenverlag, mvgphoto

„Ou alors admettre que nous ne sommes plus qu’un grand parc d’attractions, un musée de plein air, un Ballenberg à l’échelon national. Nous pourrions faire payer une entrée à nos frontières et nos voisins pourraient visiter la Suisse et imaginer l’Europe telle qu’elle était avant son processus d’intégration.“ Michael von Graffenried septembre 2002 – in the book Swisspanorama

26_363 25_363 24_363 23_363 22_363 21_363 20_363 19_363 18_363 Berner Feuerwehrmänner im Gedenken ihrer New Yorker Kollegen am 14.9.2001 16_363 15_363 14_363 13_363 12_363 11_363 09_363 08_363 07_363 06_363 05_363 04_363 03_363 Schlaf des Gerechten, Nyon, 2001 01_363