Photographer's Note

Here is another scanned black and white photo of low technical quality but which I nevertheless personally like. Those of you who like grainy photos may also enjoy it.

This is from a street in Timbuktu (Tombouctou), the legendary desert city in northern Mali, almost exactly 35 years ago, in February 1982. I have no memory of meeting these men but obviously I was fascinated by their ancient appearance and snapped a quick photo before they had time to say no. I think I was especially impressed by the long sword that the man in the middle is carrying. Looking at them now they make me think of the three magi, "wise men", of the Bible.

I regret that the photo is divided by an electricity pole. I made a copy where I erased it but although the rehabilitated donkey looked fairly okay it wasn't good enough.

In the early 1980's Timbuktu was starting to attract tourists who were anxious to visit what had been one of the great cities of Islamic learning during the European Middle ages. I suspect that most people were disappointed to find a dry and dusty city with relatively few remaining landmarks of importance. In recent years Timbuktu has been strictly off the tourist track after being taken by Islamic terrorist militias. Today the city is back under government control and protected by UN troops, but it is still a very unsafe place to visit. A Swedish tourist was seized by an al-Qaeda affiliated group five years ago and is still kept hostage somewhere in the desert, along with a South African man.

There is another photo from Timbuktu in a workshop. Both photos were scanned from Ilford FP4 negatives. Here is a larger version of the main photo.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12413 W: 572 N: 23835] (101980)
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