Gambia – Portraits of Beauty, Elegance and Dignity

I went to Gambia thinking the hardest aspect of the country to capture would be the people. I’m not a natural portrait photographer and was a little nervous of asking the locals if it was OK to take their picture. Not everybody wants a lens stuck in their face when you’re trying to earn an honest days pay selling fish or vegetables at the market – and that’s fine and to be respected – but in the end the combination of a good guide, a bit of friendly banter and some polite requests resulted in me not only coming back with hundred of portraits – but also some of my fondest memories from the trip. The friendly interaction with the locals – the kids at Kanuma Village, the stallholders of Brikama market, the old man of the Makasutu Forest…. fantastic memories….

I have nothing more that I can say but enjoy the beauty, elegance and dignity of the Gambian people.

Thank you to the people of Brikama Market, Mandina Lodges, Makasutu Forest and Kanuma Village. Thank you The Gambia Experience. Thank you Gambia…

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Written by Tom Warburton

Long, long ago (back in analogue days) he travelled the world extensively including a two year around the world trip. He is now rediscovering the world with a digital camera. He originally trained as an ecologist and is particularly interested in environmental and wildlife issues.


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  1. I’m just about to discover The Gambia and its people. Thank you for the taster ……. Can’t wait to get there now!

  2. Lovely portraits. Not much of a creative comment I’m sorry but they are nice.

  3. your photos have that extra something, there is a serene energy in them that sets them very much apart….thanks for sharing them.

  4. I love these. Gambia is practically at the top of my travel bucket list. Everyone I’ve ever met from there has been so full of life and joy, even though many of them had nothing compared to us in the “west,” and you captured that warmth.

    I’m curious. When you say portrait, does that mean that you were able to ask them, say, “Please could you turn to face the light?” or that the photos were planned or were they spontaneous?

    • Thanks for the lovely comments everyone. The straight answer to Linda’s question is that some were posed and some were not. I have a small portable printer which plugs into my DSLR – so lots of people were willing to spend a bit of time getting their portrait taken as I could give them a copy right then and there. This makes for not only for some good shots (hopefully) but it turns the whole experience into more of an interaction and a joint effort. Generally people were delighted with this as they could take the print home to show their loved ones. As discussed in the Brikarma market post at times I had a crowd 3 or 4 deep waiting to have their picture taken. I also end up being asked to take portraits of almost all the hotel staff once they found out I had the printer.

      Having said this – not all the portraits were posed – some of the pictures here were more spontaneous and taken in a village (see the Kumpo post) or in a market.

      Again thanks for the comments.

  5. Fantastic portraits Tom – you’ve captured their dignity and beauty. 🙂

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