West Africa

Mali, West Africa, 1984

"The Malien people I saw in Bamako with their long flowing robes and elegant stance had alerted me of the visual potential that lay ahead, so I decided to continue my journey with just the single camera - when we reached Djenne I got out of the taxi-brousse - it was market day and all around me beautiful people in their colourful flowing robes and large brimmed hats moved around me in slow motion -  I did not need to go any further..."

"I had always wanted to have a look at the west of Africa, so instead of returning to London with the selected few I climbed into a ‘Taxi Brousse’ (bush taxi) and headed to Timbuktu the legendary ancient desert town I had read about in the memoirs of the great explorers who had put it on the map. Before leaving I paid a visit to the Grand Mufti, whose headquarters were in Bamako, to inform him of my intensions - he received me with the traditional African curtesy and invited me to lunch; offered me his car and driver Ali to take me to the taxi rank in town - on our way I stopped at the local ‘supermarché‘ to get myself a sandwich and a bottle of water - I left my suitcase and camera bag in the safety of Ali in the car - when I returned a short while later my camera bag, which was on the front seat between us was not there - when I asked Ali where it was he looked at me with a blank expression and pretend he did not know what I was talking about - I was immediately gripped with panic at the realisation I was back in Africa and told Ali to take me back to the Mufti, but the Mufti was not home….