‘Both of the people on this train in Kinshasa are me. I superimposed myself because I can’t afford models’

This image, part of a series called Imaginary Trip, was taken in an abandoned train outside Kinshasa station in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I was looking for a site to evoke an imaginary voyage to convey the idea of memory, the passage of time and the reappropriation of old places. A lot of young men hang around this area, which is a poor neighbourhood, and they squat in the trains during the day while doing various jobs such as helping people at the station. Sometimes they have something to do, other times nothing.

The two people in this photograph are both me. I took several digital images and then superimposed them to represent two young men playing a traditional game of draughts with bottle tops – as they do. When I started out on this project, I did not intend to put myself in the photographs – it was almost accidental. I did not have the money to pay for models, so it was partly a question of budget, but also of time. I spend ages in these places creating my photographs, too long for most people to hang around, so in the end I found myself in front of and behind the camera. I often work alone with a camera, a tripod and a remote trigger.

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