Archive for the ‘Cameraphone’ Tag

Building by Fernand Pouillon, Seraidi

A respite from the noise, dirt, and restless frustration of Algerian reality below to the clear light, air, and silence of the mountain village of Seraidi. For my friend, Atef, the contrast is startling between the divine perfection of nature above, untouched by man or politics, and the man-made hells of colony and post-colony, below. Up here, a moment’s glimpse of heaven before one remembers that Seraidi was an epicentre of violent unrest in the 1990s

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A Window to the Outside, Annaba

Photographed at an internet cafe, where talk revolved around the illicit departure on the same evening of two local fishing boats bound for Sardinia. Wooden, worm-eaten, and built to hold three or four comfortably, they each carried a dozen aspiring emigrants on the approximately 20-hour journey to Sardinia, across the treacherously calm waters of the Mediterranean. The fare for passage: about £300.

Votez Zidane

Votez, Annaba

Zone de Sécurité, Algiers-Annaba

Les Femmes d’Alger, Avenue Victor Hugo

Virtually the only way to photograph on the streets of Algiers is with the iPhone.

Orwellian Cat and Mouse in the Maghreb

I remember that it is George Orwell’s birthday tomorrow. I usually celebrate the event at his graveside in Sutton Courteney with my good friend, Christian Payne. In Algiers an equivalent number of policeman, often armed with Kalashnikovs, do the work of London’s CCTV cameras. As in the UK, photographers are equated with terrorists in Algeria, but with better reason. In the 1990s civil war Islamists often identified those they would assassinate by photographing them. For want of Google maps, they also photographed buildings to be blown up. But, at least the work of surveillance has a human face here.

The only way I am able to work here as a photographer is by using an iPhone or a Canon G11 with a swivel screen. The iPhone is an inconspicuous camera to use in a country swimming in jailbroken units. The crumbling buildings and vibrant trade in pirated technology remind me of Blade Runner.

I am told that, in Annaba, near the Tunisian border, where I am going next, I may even be assigned my own personal policeman. He will be there to attempt to ensure that no photographs are taken. It may be cat and mouse all the way.

Maghreb Blue

Near Place des Martyrs, the shadow frontiers of the Casbah evaporate into the infinite blue above.

On Boulevard Zirout Youcef

To cross the desert

Living in hope and limbo

Or take to the sea

Pour la Continuité, Rue Didouche Mourad, Algiers