Friday, August 10, 2007

Candace Feit: Timbuktu's Sacred Scriptures

Image Copyright © Candace Feit/The New York Times-All Rights Reserved

Here's an interesting, both photographically and content-wise, slideshow from the New York Times titled "Timbuktu, The Next Chapter". The photographs are by the talented Candace Feit, one of my favorite photographers and photojournalists because of her eye for composition and color. The narration is by Lydia Polgreen.

The accompanying article reports that a surge of interest in ancient books, hidden for centuries in houses along Timbuktu’s dusty streets and in leather trunks in nomad camps, is raising hopes that Timbuktu — a city whose name has become a staccato synonym for nowhere — may once again claim a place at the intellectual heart of Africa. If so, I rejoice as the concept of preservation of ancient cultures is generally rather rare amongst African countries. I'm not sure whether this is because of endemic poverty or because of inherent lack of interest, but I am hopeful that Timbuktu will indeed meet its objectives to the benefit of us all. An interesting factoid: the final photograph of the slideshow shows a building on which it says that Timbuktu is the city of the 333 saints. There are significant numbers in Islamic traditions, and this has always interested me. For instance, in Islam God has 99 known is said that the 100th name will only be known on the Day of Judgement. Candace tells me that it was a fascinating assignment...I can imagine!

As for the slideshow: Candace's photographs are always luminous, and well composed. I think Lydia Polgreen's narration is too rushed and too quick, not giving the viewer enough time to take in the visual and aural information. However, I provide the link to the accompanying article, which is a must read to those who need more information. Registration may be required.

Here's Timbuktu's Sacred Scriptures Slideshow.

Here's Timbuktu's Sacred Scriptures Article.

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