Members of the 4-C Club listening to instructor, Upper Volta, 1972

Richard Saunders

Silver print

As International Editor for Topic (1967-1986), a magazine published by the United States Information Agency (USIA), Richard Saunders spent 20 years visiting countries across the length and breadth of Africa, moving seamlessly between photographing heads of state and documenting rural life.

Here, he captures young girls in the 4-C Club, which taught agricultural techniques to rural youth in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso). Rather than focus on the class as a whole, Saunders frames the shot to create a tight crop, directing the gaze to the girl on the right who stares defiantly into the lens of the camera.

Although it has a deep sense of intimacy, the photograph was taken with a long lens, Saunders homing in on her connection from afar.

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