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On the River to Timbuktu
Mud-walled mosque in Djénné, Mali

"I used this man to give the mosque scale, to show its size. He was leaving the mosque and I asked him to stand still for two seconds. He was old, so I couldn't insist too much. And I had to be fast because the light of the sky was fading.

"In a way, he represents 1,500 years of Islam, and like this tree, he's rooted in the land, just like this mosque, which also comes from the land. It is the largest mud-brick building in world."

—Photographer Rémi Bénali

Photography Notes

  • Film: Fuji Velvia
  • Camera: Nikon F4
  • Lens: Nikon 20mm
  • Shutter speed: 2 seconds
  • Aperture: f/4

"Using Velvia film, with its ISO of 50, the color pops more. But it underexposes, so it doesn't work great with Africans. If you underexpose your people pictures, the people look even darker than they are. So you just set your camera's ISO at 40 and overexpose your picture by one-third. It works well with Velvia."


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