fleuve niger

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  The Joy of Fish — The Bounty of the Niger — Bamako, Mali

Mali, by many calculations, is the fourth poorest country in the world. What is essential anywhere in the first world is luxury to most people in Mali, yet people manage a spirit which I could trivialize by calling it Joie de Vivre, but that would under-represent the dignity that permeates life in Mali, with an elegance that is unmatched in my experience. I say that as someone who has lived in San Francisco, Hollywood, Mexico City, Manhattan, Amsterdam, Moscow and Paris.

I studied film at UCLA, but as I said to a beautiful woman yesterday at an art exhibition, “I had the ego to make film but not the patience, so I went on to study Photojournalism at LA Art Center.” I’d never before expressed that thought so clearly — it’s amazing how a beautiful women can focus the mind.  Anyway, since art school, I’ve rarely had the impulse to make motion pictures; I’ve been focused on capturing the dynamics of my life within the frozen frame. That was not true in Mali, where everything moves like Bangkok traffic. Mali made me want to make movies.  When I next return I’ll bring a camera that captures HD video.

NOTE: I’m learning to make multiple image gifs in Photoshop, to show the motion captured in multiple exposures; if my experiment is successful I will add that tomorrow,,,jt