Adventures in Advenience: The Return of a Photographic Moment

cheb_water405Nine years ago this month I dropped anchor in Tunisia for a six-month contract teaching English at a school in the seaside city of Sousse, packing along with me little besides my old Canon single lens reflex, an 18mm wide-angle lens and a few dozen rolls of Ilford FP4.

I worked six days a week, so when that seventh day came round I was on a bus or a train somewhere into countryside as far as I could get. But it wasn’t till shortly before my departure that I was able to devote an entire week to a voyage into the Sahara, at least to its border towns and not-too-distant oases.

It was a hermetic experience: late May in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, the Chott el-Djerid salt flats, and beyond them the Sahara — with their mirages, siestas, scorpions and utter lack of tourists — is conducive to isolation and meditation, and I found myself subsisting on a diet of bread, water, the kindness of strangers and contemplations of photography.

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