I am pleased to announce that the Huffington Post has featured my images of the nomadic tribes of Niger.
I want to create a visual document that reminds us, and generations to come, how beautiful and diverse the world is.
I see more than ever the importance of sharing our stories to gain a deeper understanding of the timeless past as it meets the imminent future.
I am happy that a globally respected news organization shares in these concerns, attesting to the importance of the preservation of human diversity and the wonder of our planet.
To read the full article on Huffington Post, click here.
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.
“This is a great moment, when you see, however distant, the goal of your wandering. The thing which has been living in your imagination suddenly become part of the tangible world. It matters not how many ranges, rivers or parching dusty ways may lie between you; it is yours now for ever. ” Freya Stark
On the last leg of the journey home from my trip to photograph and experience the Nomad festivals in Niger.. I have been dreaming of seeing these festivals since I first discovered Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher’s books on Niger and other parts of Africa. I have been traveling with Leslie Clark, of the Nomad Foundation, who led the trip, Diane Marinos and Louise Porter, fellow photographers. We had a tough first week finding only one festival rehearsal, visited some nomadic camps and a rather modern Tuareg wedding with electric guitar and few camels. We persevered, mainly keeping our sense of humor, gathering information wherever we could and found there would be two large festivals beginning in a few days. Then the wild adventures began and we stepped back in time. A biblical scene awaited us as we arrived at the first festival, a Wodaabe Worso. This is a gathering of families where the nomads celebrate their way of life, the end of a successful rainy season and the one time of year they can all get together. It means they bring their houses, herds and families, arriving on camels, burros and many on foot. It was enormous—thousands of animals, maybe thousands of people-no real way to count, our wonderful crew and our ever faithful security team which you cannot travel in Niger without and the 4 of us.
We slept under the stars, the music of the herds our lullaby and the milky way and full moon overhead. During the day we were warmly welcomed everywhere mainly because of the wonderful work Leslie and her foundation has been doing in this area since the 90’s and joined in the celebrations under the blazing hot sun. Leslie is a true inspiration. She speaks the Wodaabe language, has lived in their tents and traveled by camel with the nomads across the grasslandsand learned their customs and traditions. Then created her foundation and built schools and opened medical clinics and most importantly wells, and then creates beautiful paintings of her experiences.
The whole experience was magical
more tales to follow…
May this new year bring peace and prosperity & joy to everyone.
This image is of a wonderful Tibetan woman in Kham in Southwestern China.
May we all move forward this year…working together to make this world a better place.