My trip to Mali was not intentional, and you could say that I found myself as an accidental tourist. A chain of events that began at my local brasserie took me half way across the world and into the Sahara Desert. Armed with a yellow fever shot and four cameras I flew to Mali as a volunteer for The Festival Au Desert, the annual gathering of the Touareg Nomads. I had no expectations, only vague ideas and I knew next to nothing about my destination. If I had, I might have opted for a beach, sunscreen and a good book.
There is something about the air in Mali that makes you feel content; it is a warm sweet breeze that lulls. The terrain changes constantly bringing into your field of vision different trees and flowers every few miles, camels, sheep and goats wander freely and you feel blessed to be a part of it for just a few moments.
The hardship that undoubtedly exists there is not the first thing you notice as everyone seems happy. Not resigned or angry, but courageous and grateful.
I constantly felt that they could teach us all a great deal.
There are a thousand pictures that I did not take that I wish I had, driving out of the desert and into the sunrise with the moon behind me. Shooting stars in the Sahara, sitting with new friends around an open fire and sharing stories of how we all came to be in that same place. These are precious memories.
With this collection of photographs I hope to show the incredible beauty of Mali, the elegance and pride of its people.