Saturday, May 31, 2014

Colombia: Noanama Family, At Home In The Rain Forest

   Noanama Family sharing a quiet moment together in their tambo, a large wall-less hut    on stilts above the Docordo Rver in Colombia’s Choco rain forest
All the photographs of this blog are copyrighted.
No usage permitted without prior authorization.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Colombia: Noanama Hunter In Choco Rain Forest

Early morning, on a hunting expedition, a Noanama man is walking a narrow Choco rain forest path. His ancient rifle was homemade and he does not trust it. When spotting a monkey in a tree he keeps the rifle away from his face, lest it explodes in his eyes. 
All the photographs of this blog are copyrighted.
No usage is permitted without prior authorization.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Colombia: Watching A Rain Forest River Flow

Lit by the warm light of a setting sun, a Noanama girl sitting at the edge of her family’s wall-less hut raised on stilts is dreamily watching the Docordo river flow below in Colombia’s Choco rain forest.

All the photographs of this blog are copyrighted.

No usage permitted without prior authorization.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Colombia: Green Is The Rain Forest's Color

Watching her feet as she walks though muddy terrain, this Little Noanama girl is carrying plantain from her family’s rain forest garden in Colombia’s Choco Department. The strap holding the plantain on her back comes from a strip of tree bark. The forest gives the Indians all they need to survive comfortably.
All the photographs of this blog are copyrighted.
No usage permitted without prior authorization.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sahara: The Salt Caravan Must Never Stop

Between Bilma and Agades, in Niger’s Sahara, the wells are so far apart, and so much happens along the way of the Tuareg caravans, that they can never stop until men and camels must rest for the night. But as interminably as the caravans plow forward, they never reach the next well before the men are half dead of thirst and dangerously dehydrated.
     Many things delay them. Here they come upon scattered blades of grass on which they must release the camels,which will help spare the straw the camels carry and must feed on every morning.
     Next day, after spending hours gathering the widely scattered camels, the Tuareg discover that two of them are missing. They release the lot again and go hunting for the lost two, taking all day. By then the water goat skins are hanging nearly flat from their makeshift tripods--water of which the Tuareg never bring enough, preferring to load the camels with more salt.
     Farther along the way a camel breaks a leg and must be butchered. Or a sand storm keeps everyone lying under blankets for as long as three days (the storms abate at night).
     Another reason why the caravan must never stop is that, if it did for as little as a few minutes, the camels would gather together, rub sides, throw down the breakable salt cones, and leave the Tuareg poorer for it.

In 1965 I traveled for 22 days across the Tenere, one of the Sahara’s most dangerous regions, with a Tuareg salt caravan. At the salt pits of Bilma, an oasis in Niger, hundreds of Tuareg, among thousands of camels, were wrapping salt cones in straw mats and preparing for the long return journey to their camps in the AÏr Mountains.
     Not one group accepted my company. They all said that a European was not prepared for the agony of hunger, thirst, and fatigue they would live, and that they would rather not have to bury my bones in the desert’s sands.
     I was on my first National Geographic assignment, and there was no way I could say amen to this. Had I had money to offer the Tuareg, they would probably have removed their objections. But I did not. And I was only at the beginning of a four-month stay among the Tuareg.
     As I was untested by National Geographic, the editors had given me only enough money to fly from New York to Europe. From there, traveling overland, I had been struck by a knee infection that had nailed me for two weeks in a small Algerian oasis’ flyblown hospital. Still unable to walk at the end, I had had to resign myself to seek medical help in Brussels, my home town, where I lost another two weeks. I flew this time—both ways, as I feared to reach the caravans’ departures too late.  
     Fortunately, by the time I reached Bilma I had already spent two weeks traveling on camel back with a Tuareg man to photograph Tuareg tribes around the Sahara’s  Ahaggar Mountains. A year earlier I had spent a month with two Tuareg brothers, traveling on camel back between Agades, in Niger, and Tamanrasset, in Algeria.
     I have a passion for languages and learn them easily. With the help of a lexicon I had learned enough of the Tuareg language to communicate with them without the need for an interpreter. And I knew all I had to know about camels and desert life.
     After finding an undermanned group of nine men and 102 camels, I offered them to join them as a working member of the caravan who would give priority to caravan work over photography.
     That proved irresistible and they accepted. My story appeared on the cover of National Geographic’s November 1965 issue. The magazine paid all my past expenses, besides a generous fee and an invitation to keep adventuring in their name. Over the years I would live a total of nine months among the Tuareg, three times for National Geographic and once for a children’s book.

All the photographs of this blog are copyrighted.
No usage permitted without prior authorization.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Sahara: The Long Way To Water

Water here, in Niger, in a Saharan Tuareg camp, is no more than a mirage on the distant horizon. This Tuareg boy is on his way to ask relatives living in another tent for a drink of water—in case, unlike his parents, they haven’t run out of water as well.

The well is far from camp. An hour or two each way, riding a donkey. Plus the hours-long wait in line behind other nomads watering vast herds of camels, sheep, and goats.  Not a daily trip. In fact, to delay the chore the boy’s family often drinks only milk during a day or two after running out of water. Forget taking a bath. The scorching sun is what takes care of germs.

The Tuareg and other nomads always camp far from wells. It protects their privacy. And their animals find nothing to feed on over wide areas around wells.  The daily passage of herds cleans them of the tiniest shoot of grass.

All the photographs of this blog are copyrighted.
No usage permitted without prior authorization.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Niger: Camel-Riding Blue Man Of The Sahara

I photographed this Tuareg man of the noble Kel Rela tribe near the Sahara’s well of In Abbangarit in Niger. Though he was holding a leather whip, he rarely used it.

Tribesmen in Arabia and other parts of the Sahara saddle their camels over or behind the humps, legs dangling on each sides, which leaves them little control over the animals other than through whips.

The Tuareg saddle their camels in front of the humps. This allows them to rest naked feet on their camels’ necks. To make camels kneel down they only need to apply repeated downward pressure on the camels’ necks. To accelerate the pace of camels into a gallop they only need to apply repeated forward pressure to the camels’ necks. Such control helps the Tuareg to be the world’s best camel riders.

All the photographs of this blog are copyrighted.
No usage permitted without prior authorization.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sahara: Nap In A Tuareg Tent

Having spent the night far from his family’s tents, watching over his camels, this noble Taitoq Tuareg man of Niger’s Sahara Desert brought the animals back next morning to be milked. While he is resting, two of the family’s boys keep an eye on the camels browsing at some distance. Later that day, the man will take the camels back to the better pasture until the following morning again.
All the photographs of this blog are copyrighted.
No usage permitted without prior authorization. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Kenya: Sunrise On A Samburu Zebu Herd Being Moved To Pasture

Sunrise in Kenya’s Mathews Range is seeing a Samburu elder and two members of his family driving their zebu cows to pasture after milking them. The milk was all they had for breakfast.

I spent eight days walking with three Samburu men and three pack camels to photograph the Samburu.
  All the photographs of this blog are copyrighted.
No usage permitted without prior authorization.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kenya: Goat Milking In A Samburu Camp

In northern Kenya’s Mathews Range, also known as the Lenkiyo Hills, a little Samburu girl is feeding a baby goat some leftover milk after its mother has been milked. The girl’s mother is holding the last of the jugs she filled with her goats’ milk. Milk is all her family has for breakfast every day.

I walked eight days around the range, photographing the people along the way, using three Samburu men and three pack camels. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bali: A Smile In The Crowd

In Bali, an Indonesian Island, my clicking camera brought a brief smile to the face of a woman who, with others, was watching the passage of a funeral procession. Most women lining the street were carrying on their heads offerings they would display on a large makeshift table outside a Balinese Hindu temple. The old lady in her coffin would be cremated there and quite joyously dispatched to a better world.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Niger: Wodaabe Friends

This Wodaabe nomad man of Niger’s Sahel is watching other men dance the Gerewol, which doubles as an annual male beauty contest between clans. It takes place during the few weeks of rain that provide enough pasture and water for those people’s zebus to allow the tribe to stay together at one place for a while.
The way he and a friend lean on each other does not connote homosexuality and is common among Wodaabe men and women.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Ghana: Inseparable Little Girl Friends

Last month, Highlights for Children magazine published my story of two inseparable nine-year-old Ashanti girls of Ghana. This picture, which ended Becky-and-Bonsa’s story, shows them going for a walk at day’s end, still full of things to tell each other before going to bed. I photographed them in Adukrom, a big village of wonderful cocoa-growing people surrounded by tall and thick rain forest near Kumasi. The girls’ story is being offered to children’s book publishers.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Brazil: Street Capoeira

I photographed the following scene in Salvador, Brazil, in 1971. Supported by two musicians, a man challenged spectators to face him in a bout of capoeira, a form of Brazilian martial art, for a prize. A valiant teenager did, but was not long in biting the dust, and the coins that fell in the ring went to the man.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Brazil: A Woman's Pride In Shining Pots

Squatting next to Rio Preto in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, a woman washes dishes and polishes pots. Behind her and to her left are two canoes.
Rio Preto means Black River in Potuguese. There are many black rivers in the Amazon, including Rio Negro, South America’s second most powerful river after the Amazon, of which it is a tributary.

Black rivers look like black mirrors. However, when scooped in a hand their waters have the color of tea. They even taste like tea. Unlike white rivers, which run over sand and clay, they run over rocks and should be transparent instead of muddy, like the Amazon. They get their color by soaking the surrounding vegetation when seasonally flooding the forest. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Colombia: Last Of The Ice Miners

 One of travel’s rewards is the unexpected you can nearly always count on when leaving behind  the boredom of modern life.  In 1994, when I climbed southern Colombia’s Cumbal Volcano with my family, our goal was to peek inside its crater. We never imagined we would be watching farmers carrying blocks of fossil ice on their backs from the bottom of that crater.
     Now the farmers quickly wrapped the ice inside grass and espeletias. This would protect its temperature from the sun and the warm sides of the horses which would carry it down the volcano.  The men told us they would sell the ice to small ice cream makers in villages far below.
     Unfortunately, we had arrived too late to watch them ax the ice out of the rocks. They were done for the day. And soon forever. Electricity and refrigerators would soon reach those villages.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Weaving With A Backstrap Loom

In Peru’s small Andean town of Uchucmarca, in Amazonas Province, a girl is using a backstrap loom to weave a poncho outside her family’s house.

Peru: A Great Husband

Shucking corn in his backyard was only one of the many activities this quiet man happily shared with his wife in the small town of Uchucmarca in Peru’s Amazonas Province. While on a 1976 Natural History magazine assignment in the couple’s remote region, which lacked accommodations of any type, I had to base myself in their modest house. But the bread they baked and sold to their neighbors, and the wife’s alfalfa soup, were among the best I tasted anywhere.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Peru: Brisk Business At An Indian Market

Is there a better place anywhere to photograph people with their guards down than at markets? I don’t think so.  Imagine how visible a blond, blue-eyed photographer dressed differently from the surrounding crowd should be. But to women anxious to put their hands on the best cabbage I was not even there. I shot this scene in Pisac, in the Cusco province of Peru’s Andes Mountains, some time in the seventies. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Eritrea: The Struggle For Water

Against a sinking sun, along Eritrea’s Red Sea Coast near Thio, two Danakil boys are filling canvas bags on a donkey with the water of a drying river.

Au soleil couchant, le long de la côte Erythréenne de la mer rouge à Thio, ces garçons Danakil remplissent des sacs de toile sur l’âne avec l’eau de ce qui reste d’une rivière en voie d’asséchement

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sunflower Fire At Dusk

Sunflowers shining at dusk under Colombian Andes Mountains.

Tournesols brillant au crépuscule d’Andes colombiennes.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Venezuela : Warau Hamlet In The Orinoco Delta

Warau Indians of Venezuela’s Orinoco Delta gathering taros they harvested in their marshy jungle garden and brought home in their canoe below.

Femmes Warau du delta de l’Orénoque au Venezuela rassemblent des taros qu’elles ont ramenés de leur jardin marécageux de la forêt dans leur canot plus bas.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Afghanistan: End Of Day, Time To Rest

Men rest and women hide at the purple end of a day in Ghazni, Afghanistan. A tea shop occupies the house’s second floor.
A la lumière pourpre d’une fin de journée à Ghazni, en Afghanistan, les hommes se reposent et les femmes se cachent. Un salon de thé occupe le deuxième étage de la maison. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Afghanistan: Caravanserai At Dusk

I shot this caravanserai at dusk in Ghazni, Afghanistan, in 1965 while on a National Geographic assignment to document a summer-end migration of Kuchi (Pashtun) nomads from the cooling Hindu Kush Mountains down to the warmer lowlands around Jalalabad.
J’ai photographié ce caravansérail à Ghazni, en Afghanistan, en 1965. Le magazine National Geograpic m’y avait envoyé pour photographier la migration de fin d’été des nomades Kuchi (Pashtoun) et de leurs troupeaux entre les froides montagnes de l’Hindou Kouch et les terres chaudes autour de Jalalabad.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ghana: A Sunny Day In The Countryside

A dirt road cuts through a deciduous forest near Tamale, North Ghana. To watch how nimbly the two young women are walking, you would never suspect how heavy their water buckets are.
Près de Tamale, au nord du Ghana, deux jeunes femmes marchent le long d’une route de terre à travers une forêt à feuilles caduques. Le poids de leurs seaux d’eau ne quitte rien à l’agilité de leurs mouvements.