We all know that image of someone carrying a pile of things on their head, walking on a dusty road. This image caught French photographer Floriane De Lassée’s eye in 2012, while she working on a project in Africa. She has since traveled to 14 different countries, in search of the rural areas where the ancient act of balancing weight atop the head is common practice. How much can you carry? is a collection of almost 70 photos of people from East Africa to Bolivia. They all share this common practice, whether carrying goods to sell to market or transporting household necessities from one place to another.
For the series, the individuals are staged and the objects featured are symbolic; however, the issues represented are much larger. “I discovered that everybody has a weight to carry. Sometimes it is physically heavy such as the weight people carry in Africa. Sometimes it is a social weight, like in the photo of Elly and Farah. He carries the weight of being transsexual and bringing up a little girl,” says De Lassée. She sees the series as a “tribute to the bearers of life” and a metaphor of the weight we all carry throughout our lives.
Elly and Farah, Indonesia
Red Basanti, India
All images © Floriane De Lassée