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Underground cockfight den outside Saïgon. Most of the gamblers were former South Vietnamese soldiers released from re-education camps with the deep and humliating social stigma of having fought on the loosing side. The only jobs they could get were as a cycle rickshaw. Cockfights were illegal- and still are- but cockfighting creates a kind of community around the cockpit for those outcasts. I witnessed for two days those gamblings. The day after I left the police raided the den and arrested every one (Vietnam - December 2001)

During my trips as Asia Bureau Chief of the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur something struck me: human beings have something in commun and where ever they live: the play games without distinction of age or gender.

It could be seen as a cliché but the games may not be the most important part of my pictures, they are in the center but what is important are le people around. All details tell, ti be more precise suggest, a lot about a country, more than words can say.

It would be pretentious to claim to be an «anthropologist» or a «sociologist», although my purpose as a photographer has a component of an anthropologist and a sociologist perhaps because I studied sociology at college. My purpose has being and remain to show the identity of each country, their level of development and, which is crucial to me, how games bond families or social groups.

Playing requieres cleverness, alertness and it is a fun way to kill time.  Playing together is a way to keep a community alive.

For almost thirty years, I was a journalist reporting from Asia for a French magazine. As a Bureau chief, I traveled intensely through the Far East, from Pakistan to New Zeland, from Russia to South Pacific. I always carried a Leica M6 with two or three lenses to shoot people playing.

I started writing fiction and historical essays ten years ago. Four of my books have being published. I will continue to write. Beside writing, I plan to travel at least four times a year to different parts of the world ( North and Latin America, Europe, Africa, and of course Asia to photography people and theirs games hoping on the purpose to achieve a kind of global portrait of the mankind. this is, by some extend, the most important project of my life.

bbirolli12@gmail.com

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