Children at a Tuareg Camp, Illela, Republic of Niger by Valarie Napawanetz

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Children at a Tuareg Camp, Illela, Republic of Niger by 

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.


africa, children, niger, tuareg

Seeing the world through the lens of a camera provides both distance and intimacy. I have been interested in photography ever since my mother gave me my first SLR, a Topcon, four decades ago. I began writing poetry at about the same time. Both have made my life a richer experience.

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  • Magaret Meintjes
    Magaret Meintjesalmost 4 years ago

    Excellent capture, well done!

  • Thank you. I appreciate that, Margaret.

    – Valarie Napawanetz

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