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Rwanda’s lush green landscape is the stuff of myths. In the past few years, the country has gained international attention as a must-visit travel destination for its impressive animals, striking volcanoes, and diverse terrain. Philippe Nyirimihigo and Gaël R. Vande weghe, two of Rwanda’s most celebrated photographers, have documented this breathtaking scenery in a book titled This is Rwanda, to be publicly released in 2018.
Although photography rarely captures the multifaceted essence of Rwanda, Nyirimihigo and Vande weghe have managed to do just that. Their book creatively highlights the country’s beauty through aerial photography, sharing 145 photographs from their helicopter trips across Rwanda. Nyirimihigo and Vande weghe, as two of the co-founders of the Kigali-based communications agency Illume Creative Studio, have been working on this new book together since 2013. Through challenging weather conditions, including rain and haze, they have flown thousands of miles in partnership with Rwandan helicopter company Akagera Aviation.
Their powerful work, as featured below, will likely become known as an important and insightful collection of photographs documenting Rwanda today.
Noting Rwanda’s size and the often simplistic international coverage, Vande weghe said “It’s so small [that] a tiny helicopter allows for full country coverage in a [short] trip. However, the country is so diverse, from urban landscapes, dry savannas, mountain rainforests, high altitude volcanoes, and a multitude of lakes, that one book would not actually be enough.”
Nyirimihigo and Vande weghe hope this book will be the first in a series and work as a story telling project to highlight Rwanda’s magnificence.
Many of the images in the book have never before been publicly shared, adding to the excitement of the impending release. “We just wanted to do Rwanda justice,” commented Vande Weghe.