Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Young Student, Fence, The Northern Road, The Gambia, 2006


Some I will never see again, and she is one of them.

On our way to the coast from the interior of The Gambia, we stopped at one very small village as children were heading home from school. All of them were standing by the side of the road, under a large tree and in front of this incredibly beautiful fence.

We were outside of our comfort zone, in another country and in front of so many people. With the help of our translator we managed to speak to a few people and organized the children for photography. We used the indirect light of the sun, and the shade of the tree. The background chosen was that sweet fence, and we managed to work for perhaps a half an hour before heading back on our way to the coast.

The previous day our driver decided to change plans, and head to the interior from our agreed upon coastal path to The Gambia. It sounded good to us, we would see more of Senegal and perhaps get some photography accomplished in a spontaneous way. What we thought would be a leisurely drive ended up being a speedy run to the eastern portion of The Gambia, so that we could reach his family's village before nightfall. This seemed to be an amazing coincidence and we soon realized that such was the reason for the change in plans.

Opportunities to photograph whirled by us, and we were just happy to arrive in the middle of the night to our destination. Our driver dropped us off at a motel without a single light in sight, complete darkness, and then headed out to his family's home to stay for the night. We were shown to our separate rooms, my friend and I. The rooms were dark and lit by a single candle. We cleaned ourselves in our rooms and went to sleep quickly before the candles lost their flames.

The next day we woke up for our sixteen hour journey to the coast, a journey the driver thought would take perhaps ten hours. As the manager of the motel saw us get into the compact car, he smiled a bit and expressed his uncertainty at the car's ability to get us to the coast in one piece. We thought he was joking but ended up experiencing the worst road of our trip for the next dozen or so hours.

Along the way this portrait was made, and was worth every single bump, every single bit of grain entering my system through my nostrils and mouth. Looking back today I just laugh at the experience and my reactions to it.

For more images like the one above, please visit the newly designed website below.

Halim Ina Photography