Monday, March 05, 2007

African Queens

Our friend Tom Miller, who wrote the aptly titled Toe Woe when I broke my toe last summer, is also a crackerjack photographer. He has traveled to some of the most remote places on the planet and has done amazing landscape photography. In doing so, he came across the beautiful people of the Tuareg, Wodaabe and Hausa tribes in the Sahel and Sahara of West Africa.

His portraits of the women of this remote and desperately poor region are collected in his new book, African Queens, and I guarantee you can't look at them without being deeply moved. This isn't one of those tear-jerking books showing the deprivation and disaster that we're so used to seeing from this continent, but a view of the humanity and dignity of these women as seen in their eyes and faces. As it says in the introduction, "this is not simply another tourist book whose goal is to make us 'understand' in a few pages of images and text the lives of these people. Rather, this work invites us to take a journey through their rich cultures, expressed by hairdos, jewelry, clothing, tribal markings and facial expressions. The women presented are beautiful, heroic and complex."

Details: African Queens by Tom Miller. 120 pgs., soft cover; $34.95. Available from Blurb Books.

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