MMW instructor Arlene Collins led a photography expedition to Mali this winter. Students were enthralled by their immersion in the culture, traditions and dramatic beauty of Western Africa.
“Our workshop began with environmental portrait photography in back streets of Timbuktu, or ‘TB2’ to the locals,” recalls Collins, “Students wandered into schools and stores to capture people as they really live.”
In the Sahel Desert, the group climbed the Bandiagara escarpment to a traditional Dogon village. Students set up strobe units to photograph the village elders, who invited them to witness a Dogon Masked Dance performance.
Adam Streisand, who kept a blog of the students’ journey, writes (excerpt) “We awaken to a cacophonous mixture of rooster crows, strange bird songs and donkey fits. It's magic. Our drive through the Sahel today will take us to Terelli. There, we are treated to the mask dancers in a colorful, euphoric celebration that occurs once a year to pay homage to the god of the sky for bringing rain during the rainy season so that the crops could be grown and stored to sustain the people through the summertime. The dance is done as a special favor for us, and it is ebullient and genuine, not some cheesy touristy thing. The elders of the village preside over the performance. The masks are all different and symbolize different aspects of the Dogon life and beliefs.”
Arlene adventures back to Maine this summer lead her popular Night & Low Light Photography workshop August 7 – 13. Join her exploring the night sights of coastal Maine in summer.