I am happy to be featured on my friend Tewfic El-Sawy’s informative and inspiring travel photography blog.
The Travel Photographer.Infrared photography and off-the-beaten path nomadic people…this is exactly what photographer Terri Gold features in her new Nomads in Niger gallery.
She photographed the Wodaabe; nomadic cattle-herders and traders in the Sahel, who periodically migrate from southern Niger, through northern Nigeria, northeastern Cameroon, southwestern Chad, and the western region of the Central African Republic. The number of Wodaabe is estimated to be 100,000 and are widely known for their beauty, elaborate attire and rich cultural ceremonies.
The Guérewol festival is an annual courtship ritual competition among the Wodaabes, when young men dressed in elaborate ornamentation and made up in traditional face painting gather in lines to dance and sing, vying for the attentions of marriageable young women.
Terri Gold is an award-winning photographer and artist based in New York City, and has built an impressive reputation for her infrared imagery of rituals, rites of passage, festivals, celebrations and portraits from all over the world.
Her artistic creativity and energy were patently obvious during my Tribes of South Rajasthan & Kutch Photo~Expedition™which she had joined in January 2010, as she moved from one photo shoot in a village to the next photographing with her two cameras; one “normal” like those used by the rest of us, and the second professionally modified to shoot infrared.
I was thrilled to be chosen as a 1st place prize winner in the 2014 New York Center for Photographic Art Black and White Awards for her photograph Surma Family In the Omo Valley
The New Century Artists Gallery in Chelsea’s gallery district will exhibit Surma Family In the Omo Valley from April 7-19, 2015, with an opening reception on Thursday, April 9, 2015
To view the online gallery, click here: BlackAndWhite2014Gallery
The nomads in Niger say that tea is the “friend of conversation.” I watched how the rhythms of the day are marked by the tea service. Tea finishes off every meal and signals the time for the afternoon nap. The last cup marks the end of the day.
They say that wan-iyen – the first round – is bitter, like life. The sharp taste of the Chinese green tea not yet diluted by pots of water. Wan-ashin, the second round, is sweet, like love; sugar is added and the tea has lost some of its strength. Wan-karad, the third round, is light, like the “breath of death.” This one is little more than sugary water.
None of the activities required to live in the desert, such as pounding millet or pulling water from a deep well or the preparation of tea looked easy and I could see one needed strength, patience and grace.
Terri Gold is honored to receive multiple awards from two photography competitions this year.
Terri was awarded 4 Bronze Titles at the 2014 PX3 prix de la photographie Competition in Paris, France, as well as 5 Nominations at the Black and White Spider Awards in Los Angeles, California.
Both competitions are juried by top international decision-makers in the photography industry.
Terri’s images from her series from the Omo Valley, Ethiopia were selected from thousands in entries from 73 countries at the Spider Awards and from 85 countries at PX3.
To read more about these honorable achievements, click on the links below:
“I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” Lillian Smith
Niger was a journey to both the inner and outer worlds. I was continually aware there was much going on beyond what I saw in front of me. So much about the life here that I didn’t understand. To live the life of a nomad with no fixed home, little access to education or health care or much knowledge about the world. What that must that be like…
The unseen layers called me. The world is big enough for so many different values and beliefs. What links us all is our common humanity. I travel to stretch my imagination and beliefs.
We flew from Niamey, the capital, to Agadez on the UN plane under the auspices of the Nomad Foundation. There we met with our security team of 2 vehicles with 9 armed soldiers in each car and a 50 caliber machine gun on each truck. One cannot leave Agadez without them. We were shadowed quietly by them throughout the trip. We were warmly received at the festivals and encountered no problems with our security and yet now, on returning home, the situation has changed and we would probably not be able to go this week.
We received this bulletin from the US State Department this week :
While the U.S. Embassy is unaware of any specific, credible threats against U.S. or western interests or individuals in Niger, U.S. citizens residing in, or visiting Niger should remain vigilant regarding their personal security and stay alert to local security developments. We also heard that French troops have reportedly destroyed an al-Qaeda convoy in Niger that was transporting weapons from Libya to Mali, and also captured some of the group’s fighters. There were 250 military vehicles racing through Agadez on the way North to address this problem.
Our timing was very lucky and I feel privileged to have visited the festivals that so few people get to see. I am very sad that the incredible program that Leslie Clark and the Nomad Foundation had set up for this week had to be postponed till the situation becomes stable again. Leslie had a doctor coming to work with the local midwives and other volunteers to implement a new building technique. I hope this all gets to happen in the not to distant future.
We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.
~Thomas Fuller, 1732