Sven Torfinn

Nairobi, Kenya


Dutch, 1971

Sven Torfinn studied photography at the Academy for Fine Arts Sint Joost in Breda, the Netherlands from 1990 to 1995.

He co-founded a magazine about rock climbing and after a short foray into fashion photography he began working as a freelancer for Dutch media travelling to Bosnia, Malaysia, Mexico and Kosovo.

In 1998, after his first encounter with East and Central Africa, he decided to follow the lead of foreign correspondents and base himself in a particular region, rather than continuing to travel around the world from one hot spot to another.

By living in Africa he saw the opportunity to understand the region and produce pictures that could show something more than the familiar images of war, famine and disaster.

He has been based in Nairobi, Kenya, for the past 15 years.

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Click here for a brief overview of Sven Torfinn's work.

The humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan has left at least 200,000 people dead and an estimated two million displaced.

According to the UN, 800 women die in pregnancy or childbirth every day — repeat, every day — and the vast majority of them are in the world’s poorest countries like Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Sven Torfinn explores the deadly quest for Coltan in Congo’s Kivu province.

As southern Sudan rounds the final bend of its own epic journey towards statehood, one of its Lost Boys makes an emotional return home after 22 years.

Tanzania’s president plans to build a national highway straight through the Serengeti National Park, bisecting the route of the Great Migration.

Sven Torfinn traced the route taken by so many Africans as they head north in search of a better life.

Despite curfews, roadblocks, increasing insecurity and the threat of roadside bombs, Sven Torfinn joined a healthy crowd watching the national wrestling championship at the city’s Olympic stadium.

After the end of over two decades of conflict, the daunting task of building a new country can finally begin.

After an upsurge in fighting in Congo’s East Kivu, over a million people have been displaced.

Sleeping sickness, once thought almost eradicated through vigorous colonial control programmes in the first half of the 20th century, is making a come back in a big way.

Working with IRC and ECHO, seven Panos photographers asked people in seven communities affected by some of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters what ‘home’ means to them.

On 17 February 2011, Libya saw the beginnings of a violent insurrection against the regime of Muammar Gadaffi~~ Following the departure of Tunisia’s strongman Zine El Abedine Ben Ali in early January and the drawn-out showdown between President Mubarak and anti-government protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, on 17 February 2011 it was Libya’s turn.

Like in much of Africa, signs of Chinese investment are everywhere in Zambia which exports most of its raw resources to the Asian giant.