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Photographer's Note

The three girls were more or less eager to be photographed, but the poor woman looks devastated to be in the photo.

Or maybe she was so thrilled that she had to cover her face to hide her enthusiasm? How should I know after more than 38 years?

In fact, I don't remember anything from taking this photo in Timbuktu in northern Mali in February 1982. I didn't even remember I had it until I searched my West African archive recently. It was a nice surprise to find this old Kodachrome slide and to scan it.

I spent a few days in Timbuktu in February 1982. I had a more urgent reason to visit another town a few hours' journey away, but Timbuktu was a city I just had to see. I was fairly certain I would never return to Mali, so this was the chance of a lifetime.

Timbuktu is a legendary city on the southern edge of the Sahara desert. From the 11th century it developed into a rich and powerful center for the regional trade of gold, ivory, salt and slaves. From the 14th century Timbuktu also became a renowned center for Muslim culture and education, featuring large mosques, universities, schools and libraries.

In later centuries Timbuktu faded into obscurity and was partly taken over by the desert. In Europe its name was sometimes jokingly used a symbol of a godforsaken place far away from civilization. Something strange and unknown, like from a fairytale.

To be honest, Timbuktu wasn't much fun. It was hot and dusty, my municipal hostel was disgusting, the food was not very good, the water had to be very carefully purified to be drinkable, and there were few traces left of the city's medieval glory.

But I received two stamps in my passport from "Tombouctou", when entering and leaving the city, so my visit wasn't a complete waste of time. ;-)

Two other photos show persons who said neither "yes" nor "no" to being photographed. They were happily unaware of having my camera pointed at them.

All photos were scanned from Kodachrome slides.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10459 W: 532 N: 20292] (89094)
  • Genre: 人物
  • Medium: 彩色
  • Date Taken: 1982-02-00
  • Photo Version:Original Version, Workshop
  • Date Submitted: 2020-06-18 0:23
  • Favorites:1 [view]
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Points: 54
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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10459 W: 532 N: 20292] (89094)
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