These antique textiles and jewelry (photos shot through glass) are on display at a museum at the Amman Amphitheatre. I forgot to bring a card reader and have had erratic internet service, so no chance yet to extract photos I've been taking this week. On Thursday, I visited the Jordan River Foundation's textile division, to watch talented women work on some stunning collaborative projects. More about their creations in another post.
Meanwhile, I'm working on a photographic essay and have been meeting the most astonishing Bedouin women. I'm thrilled with the images, as well as the experiences. Such amazing struggles these strong women have endured! I've been very privileged to spend time with them, not to mention the honour of photographing them.
William, my trusty driver and assistant and I have been trekking all over the country, seeking introductions to these women. Some of their stories are heartbreaking; others, inspiring. Their rich histories are etched on their faces and not just in tattoos, a dying tradition that's now frowned upon among Arab tribes.One lively woman told me she wants a copy of her photo, to display it in the church at her funeral!
I photographed a wonderful woman and her eight-year-old granddaughter, wearing their hair in matching braids. They insisted on giving me a beautiful traditional dress they'd hand-embroidered. Of course I couldn't accept, without paying them for it.
Some of the images I've captured were difficult to take. A blind woman was living in a tent swept bare of all but basic necessities. With every click of the camera shutter, she let out a sigh. The woman was desperately poor, as were many of the Bedouin families I encountered.
One large extended family lived among the ruins in an ancient stone village near Hmod. The village elders were happy to have their photos taken, but a young married woman sitting on a blanket drinking tea jumped up and ran away, even though I assured her I wouldn't take her picture. In contrast, the sheik in charge of the tribe was pleased to pose and discussed his efforts to try to improve their lot.
Today in our travels we encountered torrential lashing rains, which left roaring streams of muddy water rushing through the desert and across roads. Rocks fell from cliffs onto the roads below, while the desert was saturated, with giant pools of excess water remaining on the surface. On a mountain route near Kerak we were forced to turn back, as water flooded the road. But it was worth every inconvenience for the photos!
On Saturday, am off to a different part of Jordan, in search of more tattooed women in their colourful embroidered costumes.
And Sunday and Monday, the group of photographers arrive for the grand tour. We have a jam-packed schedule and I'm so excited to show them the best of the Kingdom's myriad attractions.
Hope you're having an adventure or two in your corner of the world! Do tell!
Leave a comment about your latest adventure or your plans to welcome spring and I'll send the winner - drawn March 10 from commenters' names - a souvenir from Jordan. Good luck!