Bedouin Children

A Timely Interview With The App Whisperer

Ibrahim and the Shipwreck in Nabq, South Sinai

I arrived in Dahab, South Sinai last night to find that an interview had been published about my street photography, with a large emphasis on Egypt and the Middle East.

You can read the article on The App Whisperer website, which is one of the leading providers of all mobile app news. It specialises in mobile photography and mobile art, particularly iPhoneography.

My good friend Cara Gellardo Weil contacted me about it a few weeks ago, and I was so happy to be given the opportunity to be featured. I've read many interviews with photographers I admire from afar, so it's a real honour to be included.

But more than that, the timing couldn't have been more perfect. Syria (where my late mother was born and raised) and Egypt (where I have been based for almost three years) are going through extremely turbulent times, so anything I can do to highlight the beauty of these countries and their people means a lot to me.

I've enjoyed my photographic journey of South Sinai. While I'm back here I intend to carry on documenting the amazing people and breathtaking scenery I come across on a daily basis. Please subscribe to my blog (top right of this page) to get email updates as soon as I add new content, and keep Egypt and Syria in your prayers. I hope a few of you decide to visit Dahab soon.

To buy a book of my late mother Hayfa's delicious Syrian recipes put together by my sister Jenny Sowerby, please visit the Taste of Freedom website. All proceeds go to the British Red Cross Syria Crisis Appeal.

If you're like to find out more about how you can help a Bedouin kindergarten school here in Dahab that's very close to my heart, please apply to join the Facebook group.

 

The Kids Are Alright

Ahmed, a small Bedouin boy, in Nabq

There's a standing joke amongst many of my friends and even the taxi drivers in Dahab that each and every single child here knows me. I think it's largely due to my Children Of Dahab book which I published about 18 months ago.

Perhaps the older generations have passed on wise advice to their siblings. "See that woman with the funny sunglasses on and long dark hair? Her name's Aliya, and she'll buy you chocolate and mango juice if you let her take your photograph."

Everywhere I go I hear kids shouting "Aliya, Aliya!" behind me, then smile as I listen to their scampering bare feet as they catch up, hold my hand and chatter away about their day.

So imagine my surprise when I took a day trip to Nabq at the weekend with some good friends. The beach is a protected area about an hour from Dahab. Just getting there takes a 4 x 4 and some stamina if your driver fancies himself as a potential Formula One superstar. It's isolated, stunning. A place to explore, think and put life into perspective away from all the hustle and bustle of the small tourist town I live in.

We arrived, bones a little shaken, and wandered down to a lagoon next to thick mangroves and a spectacular shipwreck. The water was as still as a millpond, silent and a beautiful multi-layered, shimmering turquoise that would be hard to recreate in any painting.

As I watched one tiny figure in his mask, snorkel and flippers and wondered where he'd come from, he swam towards me, stood up and shouted "Aliya!".

On closer interrogation it turned out his name was Ahmed, he was from Dahab, and I once bought him a chocolate bar in the local Ghazala Supermarket. This was possibly about 3 or 4 months ago.

My friends were crying with laughter, and I was speechless. Perhaps it's true that every child in Dahab really does know me?

Health & Safety Notice: No teeth were harmed during the writing of this article... I always advise the kids to clean them twice a day and have even been known to buy them toothbrushes and toothpaste. ;-)

 

Taking Pictures of Yourself

Kirsty, Chris and the kids

Yesterday I spent a great afternoon on the beach in Dahab with my friends Kirsteen and Chris. We were joined by many of the Bedouin children who roam the promenade every day and I took quite a few shots. But this is my favourite by far... when the gang decided to take a self-portrait. Have you ever seen such shiny happy people?

Love it! :-)