Scan0234 Thesinger

London:Bookworms October 2020 Online

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Wilfred Thesiger is undoubtedly one of the greatest explorers of the last century.  He is also one of the finest travel writers, renowned for his books:  Desert, Marsh and Mountain, The Marsh Arabs and Arabian Sands.  However, he is unique in that, unlike other great travellers or his era - T.E.Lawrence, Doughty to name but two - he had the opportunity and developed the skill to take photographs which do more than complement his achievements, they are works of art in their own right.

Judy Hicks will introduce us to Thesiger's work through his book: "Visions of a Nomad" (and other reference material).  Visions of a Nomad in particular is made up of photographs selected by Thesiger himself, from the images which most satisfied him as photographs.  We will look at some of the images of Africa, some rarely seen photographs from his Asian travels, and a mixture of familiar and unknown pictures of the Arab world, in which he found himself most and where he felt most at home.

David and Judy in fact came upon a wonderful (and unexpected!) Exhibition of Thesiger's work when travelling recently in Abu Dhabi and were bowled over by the insightful quality of his pictures and, perhaps more importantly, by their historical value.  Bearing in mind the destruction which has been wrought in the Middle East (and around the World) over recent years, his pictures are a visual record of places and ways of life, which no longer exist.

Just to illustrate the extent of Thesiger's work, the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford (https://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/photograph-collections) holds an archive of some 38,000 of his photographs, many of which can be seen on line.

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Meetings of the Bookworm Club take place monthly, on the 3rd Wednesday of the month when a member of the Group introduces the work of a photographer of their choice.  Interesting and varied!

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