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Borrowed eyes

Because we can’t be everywhere – or, really, any more than one place at one time – we borrow other people’s eyes to look at the world.

I’m particularly fond of looking at the world through my friend Andrew Heaven’s eyes. Andrew’s been covering Ethiopia for Reuters and blogging about his time in the Horn of Africa on Meskel Square, one of the most popular Ethiopia-focused blogs online. He, his wife and kid just moved to Khartoum and I’m starting to see another part of the world through his eyes, with some interesting blinders on.

While Andrew’s getting amazing shots, including the beautiful image above of brickmakers working alongside the Blue Nile at sunset, he’s also finding some other pictures harder to get:

At this point of the story you should know that all photographers – tourists as well as journalists – need to have a special pass to take photos in Sudan. The press one allows you to take photos of anything apart from “prohibited areas”, military areas, airports, bridges or dams. The tourist one, I’ve heard, also bans photos of “defamatory” subjects – things that might make Sudan look bad – dirt and poverty and so on.

Andrew discovers that he can’t take photos of a flood in Sudan because he’s in a “bridge area”… despite the fact that there’s no bridge to be seen anywhere nearby. Welcome to Sudan, Andrew. Sometimes the photos we don’t get to see tell a story as well.

My friends at Kubatana in Zimbabwe are doing their best to document daily life in the wake of price controls that have led many shopkeepers to close business rather than sell goods at a loss. Today’s post offers five stories from Zimbabweans trying to make due in a country where the price of goods keeps rising and the services available keep shrinking. Not a picture, but well worth a look.

1 thought on “Borrowed eyes”

  1. One of my most vivid memories from living in Sudan was when we lived in the south. It was the time between great bloodshet – when Numeri was in power.

    We had a run in with the local Juba army because someone had brought their camera to a picnic outing down by the Nile. The military (police? – maybe they’re all the same thing in that sort of environment…) guys then took the camera as well as the film and they were never seen again.

    In Khartoum, when I was older we knew the rules – you were crazy to take a picture of the city at all. If you didn’t mind a little risk, you might take some pictures out of your car window as you were driving though.

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