Camp Erech Box: a boxed story (review by Ryuichi Watanabe)

In this video, Ryuichi Watanabe reviews the Camp Erech Box, a set of 100 prints that were created as part of the Camp Erech project in Mauritania.

Through the eyes of our photographers — Giulia Zhang and Claudio Maria Lerario — we will take you inside the daily life of Yahya (the main protagonist of the story), his family, and the small local community.


The Story

Camp Erech is a tale where images journey alongside words to unveil a unique — perhaps unrepeatable — story capable of granting you beauty, strength of spirit, nobility of life, awareness, and love.

Camp Erech is dedicated to individuals who seek to live coherently, not enslaved by sterile egocentrism, emotionally present to themselves. People who value concepts of self-determination, responsible freedom, authenticity, respect, and self-love… thinking, speaking, acting, and living accordingly.

Camp Erech consists of 100 prints with a photograph on the front and text on the reverse.


What Camp Erech Box Offers

A narrative with 100 prints (21 x 15 cm / Color offset printing on quality matte coated paper / 350 g).

The casket. A box made of recycled wood, specially designed and handcrafted… no nails, just (eco-friendly) glue and intricate connections, dovetails, joints… much like life itself.

Interactive. If you wish, you can be a significant part of the project: your ideas will be heard and will accompany “Camp Erech” during events and exhibitions, in Italy and abroad.

Social. The project is part of a series of community, editorial, and social photography initiatives managed by Ayzoh!, supporting the small local community of Camp Erech. By purchasing the casket, you become a small social investor: 100% of the profits support the causes we are committed to.


Why a collection of prints and not a photography book?

The entire narrative revolves around the concepts of self-determination, authenticity, and freedom. That’s why we wanted to create an editorial product that — unlike a book — you can use as you see fit: you can frame your favorite prints, gift others, mix them according to your mood, or draw them randomly almost like tarot cards.

Of course, you can also keep them organized and browse through them like a book… If needed, on the back of each print, you’ll find numerical references to help you keep everything in order.


The Photographs

Each photograph stems from complete engagement — in every imaginable condition — by Giulia and Claudio in the daily life of Camp Erech.

We deliver the prints in what we consider a “casket” and not just a “box” because each moment represented in the images was precious, authentic, rare, and meaningful.


The Words

On the back of each print is a text. After the preface — important to describe the spirit and intent of the project — you’ll find the words of a great author, deeply cherished by both us and Yahya, who served as a symbolic guide during this journey: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

We continue with reflections from Giulia and Claudio who — despite their numerous reportages and projects around the world, even in more challenging contexts — were particularly moved, each in their own way, by what they experienced during this journey.

Next, a conversation with Yahya where he recounts his evolution: from the man he was — the one he “would never want to meet today” — to the person he has become.

Original texts are interspersed with quotes from writers, artists, and humanists who have represented something important in his life and in that of Giulia and Claudio.


The Final Question

Everything is told through the geography of the desert, leading us to a final question — inspired by Saint-Exupéry’s words — that encapsulates the essence of this story, to which, if you wish, you can respond. We will listen.

What are your divinities and how much are they worth?

Authors

Camp Erech is the work of Ayzoh! photographers: Giulia Zhang and Claudio Maria Lerario. Giulia and Claudio also wrote the original texts and curated the selection of quotes from various authors. The casket was designed and handcrafted entirely by Ubaldo Samuelli, head of the design department at Ayzoh!

The photographic narrative also involved Minatou and Nibkoha — Riccardo’s daughters — and Fatimatou, his wife. Often, the little Navissa joined as an “assistant.”

Giulia Zhang. Graduated in Languages, Markets, and Cultures of Asia, she has been a professional photographer since 2019. Concurrently, she studies sociolinguistics with a particular interest in minority or endangered languages. She is a co-founder of Ayzoh!.

Claudio Maria Lerario. A professional photographer since 1992. He has produced reportages in 50+ countries. He has contributed to 200+ publications for publishing houses, cultural institutions, and humanitarian organizations scattered across four continents. He has no fixed residence and lives between Africa and Europe. He is a co-founder of Ayzoh!.


Thanks to:

Afar Textiles, Paola Bertazzi, Valentina Bosco, Lavinia Buldini, Ludovico Buldini, Camillo Calamai, Claudia Chiti, Concetta Ferrario, Barbara Costantin, Emmanuel Edson, Silvia Ferraris, Francesca Fiorentini, Martino Ghielmi, Hotel Spring, Le Bureau Club, Marcello Lerario, Gloria Lisi, Francesca Manili, Ombretta Moschella, New Old Camera, Agatha Orrico, Maria Pacelli, Flaminia Paternò, Giordana Perazzini, Margherita Perazzini, Mario Perazzini, Sabina Piras, Giulio Maria Rampelli, Paolo Ruffa, Annalisa Spaghetto, Giordano Suaria, Francesca Superti, Elena Tarantini, Elisa Tassinari, Eugenia Trani, Vadoinafrica, Ryuichi Watanabe