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A rather remote place

A rather remote place
Photo Information
Copyright: Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 8423 W: 483 N: 16439] (74309)
Genre: People
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 1982-02
Categories: Daily Life
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2018-02-27 1:50
Viewed: 956
Points: 72
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I admit that the title of this photo may not be entirely true. For those of you who happen to live in Timbuktu this town is just a few hours away. But for the rest of us Diré in northern Mali is pretty remote.

I arrived in Diré in February 1982 by jeep from Timbuktu on a very bumpy road, sometimes going "off-pist" through unpaved wilderness when the driver wanted to avoid the frequent police road blocks. I had gone to Timbuktu just to soak in the atmosphere of that legendary city at the edge of the Sahara. Now I wanted to see Diré where the world's largest solar power plant had recently been built with the assistance of the United Nations.

Unfortunately the power plant on the outskirts of the town had already been closed and abandoned when I got there. The large panels were all covered with desert dust, some of them broken. I didn't find anyone who could explain how that ambitious project could have failed so miserably, so quickly.

And so the interesting story I had planned would make me some money also failed miserably.

Instead I spent a couple of days strolling along the few streets of Diré, watching the activities in the small port, having simple meals of bread and omelettes in the only café. I also took a handful of photos.

An alternative view from this quiet market street can be seen in the workshop. The map co-ordinates 16.26436 -3.39213 will show you approximately where I took these photos.

This is only the second upload on TE from Diré. The first one also happened to be mine.

In 1982 Diré and the surrounding area was very quiet and safe. Today I wouldn't advise anyone to go there. If you don't run into an Islamist militia you could have trouble with a separatist militia. Don't count on the UN peace troops to save you.

Here is a larger version of the main photo. Both photos were scanned from Kodachrome slides.

snunney, papagolf21, ChrisJ, lucasgalodoido, Fis2, ikeharel, jhm, pajaran, Cricri, cornejo, dale54, COSTANTINO, PaulVDV, Royaldevon, Lidka, danos, pierrefonds, macjake, adramad, worldcitizen has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To snunney: donald duckholmertz 1 2018-02-27 12:23
To GyurMaster: thirdsholmertz 2 2018-02-28 11:40
To Royaldevon: no terroristsholmertz 1 2018-02-28 06:21
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Nicou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 14379 W: 0 N: 16314] (174773)
  • [2018-02-27 2:22]


quelle vue ces deux homme habillé de blanc avec un chapeau e tun turban cet édifice en fond avec le rendu ocre sur le mur et ce passage quelle vue et ces bois qui font supports pour les peaux qui sčche superbe image.
bravo et amitié

Hello Gert,
When I was very young my father used to mention Timbuktu when referring to somewhere far away. I used to think it was a name he had made up; when I grew up I came to know different. I don't think he knew anything about Diré! Interesting daily life capture where I assume life continues much as it did then subject to the occasional terrorist outrage.

Bonjour, cher Gert,
Je reste un inconditionnel de vos archives et de vos pérégrinations.
J'apprends beaucoup grâce ā vos notes d'accompagnement.
Merci pour tout.

I had only one year when you took this photo. I immagine how much things have changed there nowadays. I actually know a guy from Mali but from the capital city.


  • Great 
  • ChrisJ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 14772 W: 1051 N: 30223] (141791)
  • [2018-02-27 3:39]

Hello Gert,

You were lucky to see Timbuktu (& Diré) long before the madness of 'Islamic' revisionists. (Islamic in name only)


I saw similar cow hides drying in the sun in Morocco, and they stank so much it was months before I could even look at the photo without feeling nauseous! Well composed with excellent sharpness and the white robed men perfectly positioned on the vertical 1/3 axis. Tfs!

Olá Gert,
interessante reggistro dessa localidade remota aqui, os detalhes são bem interessantes, e as cores e qualidade ficaram excelentes. Belo trabalho.
Parabéns e Abraįo,

  • Great 
  • jmdias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10389 W: 174 N: 18540] (82599)
  • [2018-02-27 6:09]


this in one of those places where the human landscape is sometimes more special then the architecture.nice aspect of these huts covered with animal skins and the personages and their typical clothes. a place very interesting.

take care


  • Great 
  • Fis2 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10209 W: 161 N: 16898] (129581)
  • [2018-02-27 6:14]

Witaj Gert!
I like this scene from daily life.
Interesting gate and wall.
Excellent frame, colors and light.
Curious place.
Well done.
Warm regards.

Bonjour gert,

Tu as vraiment fait le tour du monde avant l'invention de la caméra numérique et tes archives doivent prendre beaucoup d'espace dans un garde robe. Un trčs beau document historique.



Hello Gert,
Different era and a picture from a remote place - what else can I indicate as an intriguing subject?
A marvelous capture, the two men in white and old walls are an eyes catching object. The hanging leather a bit spoil the sight, but that is a good daily life elements.
Good afternoon,

  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 24936 W: 520 N: 42035] (180190)
  • [2018-02-27 8:20]

Hello Gert,

This is a country where I not be amazed by your explanation of the solar power plant.
Typical Africa maybe a small solar panel would be better.
As western man must are a experience in a village or city 36 year ago, as this with a regional people that maybe western people not was favourable.
I learn every time of your through the nice reporting.
An excellent composition and nice scanned picture.
Very well done, TFS.

Best regards,

Dobro vece.
Lep pogled i trenutak, interesantan i dobar tekst ...
Dobar rad skeniranjem, lepe fotografije, lepo pokazano mesto i trenutak.
Dobar rad sa lepom fotografijom u radionici, lepo secanje.
Zelim vam mirnu noc, vse najbolje.

Good evening.
A nice view and a moment, interesting and good text ...
Good work with scanning, beautiful photos, a nice place and a moment.
Good work with nice photo in the workshop, nice memories.
I want you a quiet night, all the best.

  • Great 
  • rychem Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3588 W: 0 N: 8388] (59347)
  • [2018-02-27 9:02]

Beutiful reportage photos, I like both, this one and in WS, maybe people in Mali have the same traditional clothes but I guess they are nowadays "infected with mobile phones" and you couldnt see these drying animal skins. Excellent work
regards Ryszard

Dear Gert,

Its not hard to see that this photo, next to being a nice nothing special, obeys the rule of the third. Horizontally the men and that building in the right what ever it is and vertically, again by the men and that thing.

Its a really nice job and of course the Kodachrome worths some extra points.

Best Wishes,

  • Great 
  • Cricri Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 16066 W: 159 N: 28010] (147264)
  • [2018-02-27 9:42]

Hi Gert
La note avec celle en WS + le lien est fort intéressant, ici sur la photo se qui m'interpelle sont les deux hommes en tenues blanches, la couleur chaude de l'architecture, pour le reste tu comprendras que je ne disse mot, bien que c'est leurs vies .....
Belle soirée

Hej Gert,
Fascinating view of this remote town from 1980's. Timbuktu is a kind of symbol of remoteness, and here you show a town a few hours more into nowhere. Architecture is quite impressive.

Ciao Gert, fascinating composition with beautiful trees and nice people from remote place, wonderful natural colors, excellent clarity and splendid light, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Gert, very good picture of this interesting scene of everyday life in the interesting and remote place, very well captured in this interesting image, with good sharpness, light, color and quality. A great job perfectly done, my congratulations, my friend. Thanks for sharing this interesting work.

Good night and happy week.
All the best from the south of Spain.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12184 W: 126 N: 21980] (112225)
  • [2018-02-27 10:12]

Hi Gert,it's a pity that now Mali isn't safe to visit,i been in Senegal but not there and i wish to visit this country one day. 2 beautiful memories,not interesting like the Rome markets for me (ahahaha),but very well done and showing us the typical daily life,beautiful WS withthe women close to the small street market. Have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano

  • Great 
  • dale54 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 955 W: 0 N: 1693] (13957)
  • [2018-02-27 11:09]

good evening gert...wonderful story you told for this superb shot,very interesting and pleasing to look at...tfs dale

  • Great 
  • boa Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 573 W: 2 N: 1474] (8003)
  • [2018-02-27 12:01]

Hej Gert,
det är många intressanta platser som du har besökt på planeten, Mali är en av dem. Ärligt talat så har jag inte hört talas om Diré tidigare. Jag har inga planer på att resa hit heller, iallafall inte under rådande ostabila läge! Men det ser onekligen intressant och exotiskt ut med männen i lokala kläder, den giraff färgade muren och djurhudar på tork.
Den misslyckade satsningen från FN är väl kanske inget nytt, det har ju varit många misslyckade projekt i Afrika genom åren tyvärr. Förhoppningsvis så blir det mer stabilitet i Mali i framtiden, men det ser ut att dröja..
Fint bidrag av dig igen till TE, det känns ganska uppfriskande bland alla vykort.


Hello dear Gert and have a nice time
and a happy new day
wow!!!dear Gert again a kind of photo
I love too much
I read carefully your notes that you arrived in
Dire in February 1982 by jeep from Timbuktu
on a very bumpy road but you spent a couple
of days strolling along the few streets watching
the activities in the small port

Ciao Gert
sembra strano che oggi le cose siano peggiorate anziché migliorate...mah, sembra che il mondo non vada avanti, ma che sembra che si ritorce su se stesso.
Peccato non sei riuscito a scoprire qualcosa sulla centrale.
Almeno sei riuscito a portarci delle foto che oggi sarebbero difficili da fare.

Hello Gert,
The large stone walls look like modern architecture compared to the mud wall of the picture you refer to.
Beautiful to see another gate under the arch of the middle gate in this wall.
A lot of skins were sold on this market.
It seems like a really big deal to hang around a few days in a place with only a few streets. Lucky the place did have a café. Otherwise you had to eat these skins.
Best regards, Paul

  • Great 
  • emka Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10619 W: 146 N: 26757] (128339)
  • [2018-02-28 0:16]

Hello Gert, Remote place and probably impossible to go now (but better that Kasia is not seeing it now :), she could be tempted). How I am envious. Now when you are not travelling so much, you have at least wonderful memories - diaries and pictures from the places and scenes not existing anymore. Fantastic composition, the nice gate and this other gate inside it. 2 + 1 guys and interesting something I do not knwo what it is.

Have a nice frosty(?) day


Hello Gert,

I have always known the name Timbuktu without necessarily knowing where it was! It was just somewhere a long way away! Then I saw it on a most interesting tv programme and all became clear!
I do like these shots showing photographs of what we would imagine from the edge of the desert. People in long, flowing clothes and skins stretched drying in the sun. I wonder if anything much has changed over the last thirty-forty years.
I was fascinated to read about the solar powered plant. It would seem to be a perfect location for such a project. I wonder why it failed ... terrorists or sand storms! you would think that free, continuous power would benefit places like this!
I like your w/s showing the market, too. What candid shots can be achieved at such places! Totally fascinating!

Thanks for sharing these,
Bev :-)

  • Great 
  • BennyV Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2518 W: 34 N: 4648] (25804)
  • [2018-02-28 5:15]

Same in Belgium here, Gert. Timbuktu ("Timboektoe") is often used as a term meaning "really far away". Always great to see pictures from the actual town. Its history is fascinating, sadly that includes terrorist attacks recently.

When we visited Mali, we decided not to travel all the way up to Timbuktu. (Instead we decided to spend some time in the deep south of the country.) In that way the town for me has retained its mystical far-far-away aura.


  • Great 
  • Lidka Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 398 W: 108 N: 906] (527)
  • [2018-02-28 12:40]

Dear Gert!
Mysterious men. Fine scene and scenery.
Superb shot from 1982.
Amazing quality.
Fine work.
Fine effect.
Interesting note.
Well done!

Hi Gert,
Well composed your view with people and wall and gate in the Bg, pleasant warm colors, a photo well balanced, tfs.

  • Great 
  • danos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13701 W: 295 N: 27478] (110395)
  • [2018-03-01 1:04]

Hello Gert,
nice the snapshot from the daily life of the natives with the stretched animal skins to be worthy of attention.The two men on the foreground and the wall on the backdrop make the image more attractive.Informative your note as well.


Hi Gert,

you have captured well a daily scene. The point of view is showing the details of the market. The light is giving nice tints to the colors. Have a nice day.


Hello Gert
Avoiding police road blocks is better than avoiding terrorists. I think this area is a no go-zone for western people nowadays. I like this peaceful traditional scene and wished it is still there. I think here you can say that everything used to be better in the past.
Good observation and realisation.
Have a good weekend, groet Rob

Hi Gert
first of all...to answer or reply to your comment about the cinnamon bun shop in Reykjavik...they had blueberry cinnamon buns, caramel cinnamon, chocolate chip cinnamon, fruit berry cinnamon...on and on...wonderful shop to stop and have a snack!

reading your note...ummm...where is the photo of the abandoned power plant????????????????????????
Gert....you KNOW i need to see that! and its funny how you mentioned what was the story behind it being abandoned, what is the mystery....funny bc thats exactly what I just wrote on my latest post from Iceland hahaha

anyways, nice to know you visited an abandoned subject, even if you didn't expect it to be. I too, wonder why it fell apart so quickly, must be a story somewhere.

thanks for the warning about this location today, hopefully one day it'll return to a more peaceful nation.

love the WS photo, the woman's side of the street :)
in the main post, the wall is very interesting, not sure what's going on with the objects on the wood - drying some sort of material?

great to have the 2 men walk past in traditional attire, wonderful. cheers

Hello Gert.
This population has a legendary history and it seems so far away ... a beautiful composition with what looks like a door in the wall and those furnace dryers, the couple with their typical clothes, put the touch of typism.
Magnificent composition and color.
Good brightness and sharpness.
Enjoy a good week.
Very best regards.

Hello Gert,
This is an interesting view from the past. I like the traditional dress, and the hides drying across the frame. The architecture is simple, but attractive, too. It's always nice to get in your time machine and see exotic places. :-)

A fine record of times gone by.
The very word "remote" makes me want to drop everything and go but I have a feeling that the penultimate paragraph of your note is directed at me... ;-)
I've heard that the south of Mali is fairly safe, but then I had read the same about Dar Es Salaam before I went there...
Best wishes
Ps. Thank you for looking at my "oldies" from Japan. :-)

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