Silhouettes in the Desert

Funny the things that stick in your mind.  The ex-Mr. TWLG and I were especially excited to be going to Egypt, on our way to Oz – the Pyramids, The Sphinx, Tut’s Tomb – hieroglyphics, all that history, the romance of the Nile and the desert too.  Yet one of the strongest memories I have is how amazed I was by how close the desert and the Pyramids are to Cairo – just a suburban bus ride, in fact.  Given, this shot was taken thirty years ago, but you wouldn’t believe we were at the edge of suburbia – or at the end of the 20th century, for that matter.

Desert Silhouettes 1

I suppose it’s because the figures – and the camels – are in silhouette that the shot seem timeless – and of course, converting the almost monochromatic colour slide to sepia.  Somehow, it seems very Bowles, and Morocco in the early 20s to me.


38 thoughts on “Silhouettes in the Desert

  1. Agreed. But by now you’ve seen as many shots of that propinquity as I have, Meredith. I find it horribly disappointing …
    That shot is wonderful !

    • Oh dear, M-R, I’ve lived in a bubble, I think – or a memory lock, perhaps. If I’ve seen modern images of Cairo up against the Pyramids on TV or in pictures it seems they’ve made no impression. Certainly my memory of that bus ride, of taking a sharp right and seeing those iconic shapes floating in a sea of shifting sand … oh boy! Oh, and the ride itself … even now I laugh – the conductor moving to the back of the bus via the ceiling, using the hand rails and his toes, somehow skimming peoples’ heads as he scuttled, horizontal like a gymnast on a vault, occasionally dropping down between the densely packed bodies in the aisle … the good humour and solidarity of the commuters, the laps of the seated piled high with everybody’s shopping … 🙂

      • They say that’s what travel is all about, don’t they ?
        It wasn’t for us; it was the vistas and the vedutas and the ruins … we were a solitary pair.

  2. Fabulous, both of these photos. It’s as if the camels await the two men walking towards them in the second photo. Thanks for these photos, I have a fascination with the desert and its peoples.
    This will be about as close as I get to Egypt, except in Las Vegas 🙂

  3. Silhouettes are very romantic. They are as you say “timeless” and can instantly transport you to exotic places. In my youth I went through a period of painting only silhouettes. I was in love with them and their magic I felt they held.

    • How clever of you, Michelle! I wouldn’t have been able to paint anything recognisable – probably still couldn’t! But they are romantic and I love how they leave enough room for our imaginations to fill in lots of storyline ourselves. I hope you’re feeling better and enjoying your summer, dear?

  4. Careful editing maintains the mystique and romanticism of so much doesn’t it Meredith! Beautiful, timeless shots even if the reality is hovering ever so near but then this scene is a very part of that reality. I could go on and on and on . . . . . !

  5. I was there 22 years ago, and had the same shock that you did. We were whisked from the airport, to the desert where the pyramids almost jumped out at us, and straight onto a camel. Our guide hardly gave us a minute to catch our breath after the long flight. 😯 I love the scenes you captured here, Meredith.

  6. Where you there in the 1970’s Meredith? That person looks to have bell bottom trousers on. Love the atmospheric, ancient feeling the black and white gives to these photos

    • No dear, it was the early 80s – on my way back home. I can’t really remember the details about the couple, but I remember it was windy – hot in the sun, chilly in the shade … so perhaps it was wind in the pants, rather than bell bottoms! 🙂

  7. Oh M!!!! Really really wonderful…Not only Bowles….But with your images, specially the second one, the first thing I thought about was Gertrude Bell…Wonderful wonderful!!!
    PD: Keep your eyes and your heart open…There is so much inside of you…It must go out step by step!!!

  8. A very evocative capture Meredith. And yes, timeless! The proximity of the desert was just as shocking even in 2010, although there is a lot more construction obstructing that first jaw dropping glimpse from the road.

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