by Nathalie Azoulai
The Olympic games just took place in London. All kinds of sports kept men and women addictively busy with competitive and winning aims. They had brand new balls, boats, bicycles, stadiums and medals. But somewhere else in the world, in Africa, people practise sports in such different ways, with unexpected materials, like papers, threads, ropes and fabrics, objects we look at without knowing at first what they are meant to. Especially balls. Just give a look at Jessica Hilltout's photographic work and you will be stunned with beauty, simplicity, humility. French philosopher Pascal used to say that men need to keep their soul busy with anything just to escape the idea of nothingness and death. Hilltout makes it visual. The balls she shoots look like beating hearts cast throughout the deserts of Africa.