I've been thinking a lot about the difference between film and digital images, and our relationship with images. I love using my Super 8, and one of the reasons is because of the surprises: the slight over exposure, the crackle and the texture. These 'imperfections' serve as a reminder that the image is true to life, and like life, we need to live with flaws and the unexpected good and bad.  By comparison, I'm currently finding digital images flat. As easy to consume as they were to take or erase. An image shot on film makes me look at it again, and think of stories.

Desert Thoughts

A Tuareg Woman Adjusts her Veil

A Tuareg Woman Adjusts her Veil

The desert always reminds me of the 'The English Patient' by Michael Ondaatje. For me it is the book that best captures why people fall in love with deserts, or maybe just fall in love with anything. Despite the harshness and difficulty, despite the heat and dust.

“And all the names of the tribes, the nomads of faith who walked in the monotone of the desert and saw brightness and faith and colour. The way a stone or found metal box or bone can become loved and turn eternal in a prayer. Such glory of this country she enters now and becomes a part of. We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves. I wish for all of this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography—to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience. All I desired was to walk upon such an earth that had no maps.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Niger and the Desert

A Perl Girl Adjusts Her Veil During a Dance

I went to the Egyptian Sahara when I was 25, and now deserts are inextricably entwined with the excitement that I felt as a young reporter adventuring. The Niger desert was green from the rains. Pools of muddy water everywhere that camels rolled in the early morning. It felt soothing to be in a pure landscape again, no roads, traffic noise, and people on top of one another.

The Tuaregs fittingly thought that I was one of them, the same color, the same hair, and cheekbones.  One old lady was convinced that I was her cousin, a newly arrived Malian refugee from Maradi!


Tuareg girls fetching water