Interviews with Tim Hetherington Award Winners: Olivier Jobard


In 2013 French photographer Olivier Jobard won the annual Tim Hetherington Grant, a joint initiative set up by The World Press Photo and Human Rights Watch. Jobard focused on the human face of migration, a global issue which continues to cause debate. In the project titled, ‘Dream of a Rain of Perfume’ Jobard followed and documented two young Afghan men whose lives were threatened by the Taliban. The journey chronicles their aims to reach Europe, from dangerous border crossings to intimate, humorous moments. The title of the project comes from the men’s dream of reaching Paris, a city that, they have heard, helicopters spray with perfume every morning.

What has happened since you finished the project 'Dream of a rain of perfume'?

The film was broadcast and a book in relation to the project was published. It would have been impossible without The Tim Hetherington Grant because thanks to it, I managed to complete the field work, edit the book and narrate the raw footage. The film has since been broadcast on the French/German TV channel Arte.

Are you still in contact with those you were filming?

Yes, I am still in contact with those I filmed. For those who saw the film:
-Rohani was sent to jail as a political prisoner after he was expelled from Turkey.
-Jaweed is still looking for money to travel.
-Khyber who was deported instead of his brother has had a third baby.
-Fawad had his papers for two years
-Luqman in France for one year renewable.

Migration continues to be discussed and debated about. What changes have you seen in documenting migrant’s stories since 2013?

I have seen the situation radically change this year, in the sense that 80% of those who are entering Europe come from a country at war and they have started to use technology a lot more to work out migration routes. 

Have you had feedback from audiences in regards to your work?

I have had a lot of feedback from social media sites, Facebook and Twitter, from people who have watched my films and read my books. I have attended festivals to tell the story of the migrants from the inside. From what I can see, people are craving more information which is different from what is shown on the news.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a project called ‘Balkan Transit’. It is the story of the Syrian exile, in which I followed a Syrian family from Kos, the Greek Island, up to Sweden. We followed them all the way, through 4000km, 8 borders and 9 countries. [1]

What do you think about the digital changes we are seeing in photography?

The digital changes we are seeing gives us more options to work freely on the field, lighter, faster. We have to be careful sometimes though not to let this speed become part of our work process because it pushes us towards superficiality. 

 What do you hope to achieve as a documentarian?

I want to continue to share stories about migration to audiences. At some point, I would like to document new routes, maybe in Southern America, Russia or worldwide economical migration from Asia to Arab countries.

Dream of a rain of perfume:

For more information about Olivier Jobards work please visit: