Cristina de Middel is a master photojournalist with the rare ability to blend documentary and fiction storytelling for a stunning yet meaningful end piece. In the case of This is What Hatred Did, the images seek to make progress from the current understanding of Africa as one of devastation and to instead accurately capture the genuine essence of the continent.

Focusing on Nigeria, and loosely based on the narrative of a 50s children’s book by Amos Tutuola titled My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, about a boy becoming lost in the woods for 30 years after fleeing slave traders, this book gives imagery to the text through a mixture of photography and illustration. de Middel shatters the myths surrounding the idea of what life is by blurring the lines between real and imagined, ultimately creating a surreal sense of reality.

“We have lots of information about Boko Haram, the missing girls, violence, oil, etc but we know very little about what it is like to live in the biggest city in Africa,” says de Middel. “I understand people need to stay informed about the world drama, but this information maybe needs to be considered with the world’s beauty in order to build a fair portrait of it.”
“I hope people can enjoy a story about Africa that does not victimize the continent and that brings some useful information to get rid of the cliché. I hope people can get interested in better understanding a continent that probably had the worst marketing campaign in history thanks to traditional documentary photography.”

*de Middel’s first job as a photographer was taking pictures in Ibiza’s most bangin’ clubs.