Thesiger, Me and Mesopotamia

WRE_x1556Wilfred Thesiger died the summer of 2003, the same year I moved to Damascus, I remember hearing the news on the BBC World Service while living in one up one down hovel in the Old City. For those familiar with his life and work its probably no great surprise that his was a source of inspiration for mine. We have taken very different paths but somehow serendipity is what it is. My exhibition Syrians Unknown which should really have ended some time ago is still hanging at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, which also holds the archive of Wilfred Thesiger.

Last November I had the privilege to finally visit the marshes of southern Iraq, Thesiger was there in the 50s and talks of political upheaval and the imminent demise of a culture stretching back 5000 years. The political upheaval has pretty much continued since then, he predicted the marshes would be drained, and they were, but were re-flooded, the quest for oil, war and drought have all taken their toll, and yet, a unique way of life continues, in many ways much as it has done since Sumerian times.

Very little photographic documentation has been made over the last forty years, mostly due to the war but my intention is to create a body of work comprehensive enough to be of future value and add to the legacy of Wilfred Thesiger.

Plans are underway for a return to Mesopotamia and discussions are happening regarding potential publishers but as ever funding is the major stumbling block, purchasing one of my prints would go along way towards me recouping some of my costs-the rent can wait.

Your help really is essential and much appreciated

30×40 cm Hahnemühle Photo Rag fine art paper with a wonderfully soft feel, boasts a lightly defined felt structure, lending each artwork a three-dimensional appearance and impressive pictorial depth.

Signed Editions 60 Euros

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25 thoughts on “Thesiger, Me and Mesopotamia

  1. Hey John, I just went down the labyrinth of all your links and found such stunning images in your portfolio, and thoughtful essays. Your project Syrians Unknown is fabulous and I love the collaboration Identity Without Borders. Best wishes, Jeni

      1. Thank you John, it’s a small story but meaningful to me. Kind of you to notice. Please feel free to call me Suzanne if you like. My site is named for my sweet rescued lab. ☺️

  2. Esseline van de Sande

    Hi John, Interesting Blog. Mesopotamia touched me very deeply affecting my writings & photography daily. In case you want to unite forces let me know. See also:

    Greetings, Esseline

    The Room of Listening De Kamer van het Luisteren La Chambre d’Écoute غرفة الإصغاء mobile +31 6 54756052 KvK 53673298 Twitter: EsselinevdSande Skype: esselinevandesande Blog:


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