Illela, a small bush town about 500 miles northwest of Niamey, sits at the mouth of the Sahara Desert. The desert waits to swallow it up. Mountains of sand advance inexorably upon farmers fields north of town. To the west, in a wadi, a river bed dry in winter, a band of Tuaregs set up camp. I spend many weekends there, listening to stories, eating millet porridge, playing with the children. I asked them to come together so that I could take their photograph. They were truly surprised. One child ran for his kitten. Another hid behind a friend. Older children covered their smiles or looked away, as was their custom.
Taken with a Topcon 35 mm using Tri-X film; negatives were scanned and converted to positive images.