Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The View from Car Windows

I haven't been using puddles, but instead, the view from car windows. Snippets of a city and the surrounding countryside, taken on my camera phone as they move past the glass. 

The bright blue and yellow taxi buses, rust spotted. 

Goats in car boots, on the roof rack of minibuses. Men with entire newsagents balanced on their heads, or fifty dozen eggs. At traffic lights, people selling giant wall maps, anatomically correct diagrams of the human body, dog leashes with no dogs, others selling dogs with no leashes. Once, a monkey, another time, a tiny terrapin, suspended on a string. Packets and packets of tissues, waved energetically in front of your windscreen whilst stuck at a red light. Roadside pepinieres, rows of plants grown in plastic bags, hibiscus and baby palms, gardenia and cactus. Vehicles overloaded with all manner of things, people, firewood, bundles of cassava leaves. Potholes and road sweepers, piles of dust. Trees made from exhaust pipes. 

Monday, 15 July 2013


About a week in from being back in Kinshasa, still feeling glum at how very far I was away from my beloved London, I found myself at the Institut Francais one early evening after work. Found myself in a white walled room, bare save for the photographs on the walls, an exhibition of the work of photographer Kiripi Katembo.

Photographs of Kinshasa reflected in puddles, a mirrored city of blue and pink skies, floating rubbish. Beautiful somehow, despite the litter. And I don't know if it was the art, or the evening light, or the inventiveness, in a city where it is mostly frowned upon to take photographs and in some places downright forbidden, of using puddles to capture your images, but I went away a little bit more light-hearted than before.