Photos: Earth >> Africa >> Mali >> South >> Mopti >> Djenne


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Mainly made of mud

Mainly made of mud
Photo Information
Copyright: Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9534 W: 511 N: 18548] (82252)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 1982-02
Categories: Daily Life, Architecture
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2015-02-22 7:00
Viewed: 5089
Points: 94
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
From my journey to West Africa in 1982. This is Djenné, a small town in south-central Mali classified by the UNESCO as a world heritage site thanks to its unique style of architecture. Most buildings, including the famous mosque are made from adobe, dried mud mixed with straw. There is a glimpse of the mosque in the background.

This photo was scanned from a Kodachrome slide and suitably post-processed using Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Here is a larger version.

photoray, COSTANTINO, tyro, saxo042, PaulVDV, SnapRJW, pajaran, ourania, mirosu, mohammad_H, ktanska, jhm, Cricri, adores, Angshu, ChrisJ, mcmtanyel, aliabazari, nikkitta, NorthernLight has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To emka: no timeholmertz 2 2015-02-23 01:54
To PaulVDV: replasteringholmertz 1 2015-02-23 01:02
To kasianowak: maliholmertz 2 2015-02-23 12:24
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Critiques [Translate]

Howdy Gert,

Fine view of Djenne's classical adobe architecture, varying lines and angles, and a glimpse of domes in the back. Protecting these historical structures are important for everyone.

thanks for sharing,

It's amazing how creative and innovative human beings are. Even in the ancient civilization when there was no travel between continents it is well documented that people from different parts of the world with no communication between them develop similar style of building. This look so much like the adobe buildings built by Native Americans. Good presentation. Well done, tfs.

hello my dear friend Gert and have
a nice new week
excellent capture of this small town in south
central Mali classified by the Unesco
it is very important for everybody
the protection of historical structures
welldone and wellseen

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  • tyro Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1921 W: 427 N: 7201] (28922)
  • [2015-02-22 7:55]

Hello Gert,

Well, there's certainly nothing wrong with using mud as a building material. In fact, I saw a programme on television recently which was extolling the virtues of "rammed earth" buildings which have been gaining popularity in many places, particularly Australia and some drier parts of America.

Apart from the solitary figure and a tiny amount of greenery, this photograph is almost entirely monochrome ochre/yellow. But that does not detract from its appeal because you have composed this shot extremely well so that the lines of the various passageways lead us through the image to the distant spires. The man too is perfectly placed in the frame and the light and contrasts are excellent.


Kind Regards,


Hello dear Gert,
Another nice and interesting capture from your archive.
This construction system is still quite common in some parts of Turkey (like in Harran close to Urfa etc) and are for shure very well suited to those warm climatic conditions.
A friend of me a famous turkisha rchitect used the same technique for his summer house in South Turkey and is quite happy.
Again a perfect scan.
TFS and best regards

Hej Gert,
En gôrfin bild. En mycket enhetlig och harmonisk färgskala, ett överflöd av inressanta och mycket speciella arkitektoniska detaljer. Dessutom har du fått med lite mänskligt liv också.

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  • rychem Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 4119 W: 0 N: 9820] (66923)
  • [2015-02-22 8:11]

It is awesome, great photo, fantastic architecture and this lonely man gives a strong impression, splendid photo
regards Ryszard

Hello Gert,
I heard of the mosque in Mopti. Apparently also Djenné has such an architectural masterpiece.
This architecture looks fantastic. Also the labyrinth-like aspect is very attractive to someone who's there on an adventurous trip.
Here and there, I catch a glimpse of some greenery.
I wonder how these constructions look like in the rainy season.
Excellent capture from an elevated place.
Best regards, Paul

Hi Gert,
interesting this famous architecture and buildings made in mud, well composed with the lady, nice warm colr.

This is what I long to see Gert and for now, I shall enjoy it through your eyes. What a fantastic sight and a beautifully constructed series of buildings. A wonderful shot and the inclusion of the solitary figure a bonus.

Warm regards


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  • Gerrit Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5954 W: 93 N: 9788] (55579)
  • [2015-02-22 9:28]

Hello Gert,
excellent photo of this town with the famous mosque in the background and the women positioned perfectly in the frame,
Thanks and regards,

Dobro vece,
Lep pogled ...
Dobar rad skeniranjem, lepo pokazano mesto i arhitektura.
Lepa tradicionalna arhitektura.
Prijatno vece i sve najbolje sa lepim secanjem na 1982. i vase putovanje.

Good evening,
Nice view ...
Good work by scanning, nice place and the architecture shown.
The beautiful traditional architecture.
Good evening and all the best with beautiful memories of 1982 and your journey.

Hello Gert,
this picture also proves what a difference people -even a single figure- can make in a composition, instantly adding a story and giving a new meaning to everything around them. I like the graphism of this cityscape, created not onlt by the architectural lines and shapes but also by the dark openings here and there. I have a feeling that all these walls and angles cover a fascinating labyrinth. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely evening,

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  • Fis2 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11388 W: 163 N: 19106] (140915)
  • [2015-02-22 11:10]

Witaj Gert!
Very interesting building,
curious architecture.
Good frame and colors.
Person add flavor of composition.
Well done.
Good evening

hi Gert
A fascinating place and what a skyline you have, all these peaks and ancient pinnacles are like a historical Manhattan. I really like that you captured this one lone person in the image too, bringing life and energy.
best wishes

Ciao Gert
anche questa foto inizia a rientrare tra le cose antiche, pensa che io, solo pochi giorni dopo, partivo per fare il servizio militare.
La foto è molto bella, ben composta e con la persona nel punto giusto.

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  • emka Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11549 W: 123 N: 29379] (138524)
  • [2015-02-22 15:27]
  • [+]

Hi Gert, This adobe structures of Mali is my another dream to see but most probably it will never be fulfilled. I still somehow fear Africa. Amazing adobe buildings and you were lucky that this lone person appeared. It is essential to the composition.
I visited another adobe city and UNESCO Site in Peru - Chan Chan. It was founded in the same time, around 8th Century. Chan Chan is threatened by El Nino rains, does it ever rains here?
I find it strange that you have not been tempted to go to Latin America. I was now fourth time and always find it fascinating.
Another gem from you archive.

Regards MAlgo

Hello Gert! Wonderful architecture, amazing cityscape. Fantastic woman. Great effect. Perfect composition. Very good quality. Picturer from 1982!!! Congratulations. Well done!

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  • mirosu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1572 W: 0 N: 3418] (16313)
  • [2015-02-23 1:12]

Hi Gert,
Excellent photo with very nice colors, perfect light, very good clarity and splendid details.
Also the choice of the tight cropping suits the shape of the subject.
Very well done.
Wish you a nice week.

Hi Gert
Fascinating architecture very well captured. You have every ingredient here: great colours, composition according the rule of thirds and the human figure introducing the sense of scale.
It's exactly this kind of shots I have in mind when I dream of going to Mali (I know I know... but... one day I will do it).
Have a nice day

Hello Gert,

It is amazing how successful mud can be in terms of architecture. It is a practice that has built up (forgive the pun) and developed over hundreds, probably thousands of years. These buildings are taken to a higher level than the original adobe huts.
Your viewpoint has given us a peek into the streets, the house styles and the top of what looks like an amazing mosque.

The slide has scanned very successfully, giving strong colours and sharp details.

My warm regards,
Bev :-)

Hello Gert
Definitely a unique style of architecture and you present it here with a well framed composition with lovely detail. The solitary figure brings the picture to life. Mud houses are common in some Indian villages too but the scale here is much bigger.
Thanks for sharing and have a great day.

GReat minimalist but with a strong motiv,
Nice quality

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  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13313 W: 125 N: 23838] (119799)
  • [2015-02-23 14:48]

Hi Gert,i hope that curious and magnificent mosque is still there and not destroyed as many momunents in Mali,a very interesting post another time from your archive,and the usual perfect work in PP.Have a nice day and thanks,luciano

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  • PiotrF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 4685 W: 2 N: 8500] (40906)
  • [2015-02-23 16:22]

Hello Gert,
nice composition with unigue buildings, beautiful tones and details in picture.Perfect exposure and good color saturation, very well composed and captured this beautiful image.

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  • Nicou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 15362 W: 0 N: 16877] (186776)
  • [2015-02-24 6:36]


Ce personnage au milieu de ces maisons quelle vue avec ces toits plats de tour qui ressortent et quelle couleur et rendu sueprbe compo.
Bravo et amitié

Hi Gert
Very nice living in a mud house
Good work and archive your beautiful photos like, signet ring, shine
Attractive, good quality picture
Best wishes to you

Ciao Gert, great view of fantastic place, lovely composition with lonely person, excellent clarity, fine details, wonderful warm colors and splendid light, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Gert,

Impressive view of the mud houses from Mali.Great presentation in colors and sharpness.TFS.Keep sharing.


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  • berek Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7512 W: 201 N: 7196] (50508)
  • [2015-02-25 21:56]

very special traditional architecture. I especially liked the creative framing. Pastel colors are impressive. congratulations.

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  • danos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13701 W: 295 N: 27478] (110395)
  • [2015-02-26 0:10]

invalid query

Hej Gert,
Such architecture is very special and perfectly fits on that region and hot climate. As far as I have understood, rain causes maintenance needs for those buildings. Film was of cause grainy those days but fits well on presenting texture of clay walls.

Hello Gert.
Fatástica composition, with this closed frame, on a part of the unusual architecture of the area, whose only element is the adobe construction. The person on the terrace is a good vital touch.
Wonderful clarity and colors.
Excellent composition and sharpness.
Very well done. I love this picture.
Have a nice day.
Best regards.

P/D. It seems that your page works better than other friends where it is impossible to open images and comment.

Hello Gert,
it`s rather interesting to view the details of the mud buildings with the flight of stairs and water spouts instantly recognisable with the outline of the famous mosque an additional feature.
The colourful figure,as has already been mentioned,gives both scale and human interest to a fascinating photograph.
Warm regards Les.

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  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 26033 W: 522 N: 44528] (189937)
  • [2015-02-27 3:28]

Hello Gert,

Your photograph reporting is wonderful, that we almost all pictures can see of more than thirty year ago, incredible but wonderful.
What a incredible construction of building, built with mud and straw
An excellent compilation of different pictures.
Very well done, TFS.

Best regards,

Hi Gert
Interessante et belle realisation
la vue sur le haut de la mosquee, la personne ajoute anime la composition, du tres beau travail
Belle soiree

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  • adores Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5733 W: 64 N: 11349] (46979)
  • [2015-03-02 16:37]

Hi Gert,
This is one of the resons why I wanted to go there. Fantastic and so unique. I like this unusual composition to show it - great details indeed and the woman is very well placed.

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  • Angshu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
  • [2015-03-02 22:22]

Hello dear Gert
The mosque of Djenne is well known...have seen a few nice documentaries on the building and rebuilding of it! The exercise every year of replastering the entire structure with mud from the river is an exciting excerise. The lady adds a lot to the picture!
Best Regards

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  • ChrisJ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 15527 W: 1055 N: 32393] (150784)
  • [2015-03-07 9:51]

Hej Gert,

Looks a little like Timbuktu or Morocco. Good sharpness and effective tight framing on the adobe mud brick dwellings. The woman adds scale and animates the scene. Nice repetition of the drainage pipes. Superb repetition of patterns and shapes. The dark open doors and windows add a nice graphic element. Tfs.

Hello Gert,
This is another outstanding photo from your vault. The skyline generated by the mosque looks like lacework.

Hello, Gert,
I like this title too. This photo reminds me a scene from "The 1000 and one nights", so simple but very interesting photo with monochrome yellow color. I also can imagine the sounds of local Arabian music.
Best wishes,

Hello dear friend Gert
Shot very attractive display of African architecture. I love you. Exposure clarity and well performed.

With respect ...

Hello Gert,
Excellent framing on these beautiful architectures. Beautiful golden tones and a nice texture. The presence of the character enriches the scene. I like it!
Best regards.

Hej Gert.
The scene here is quite fasinating. A mudmade labyrintical town. All in the same mud color, all with soft rounded angles and corners, black window openings . The ornaments in the upper part of the photo reminds me of Karthoum.The lady is a big + for the photo. It brings colors to the picture, and also life.
Fine shot.
Cheers Frank

Hola Gert

What an spectacular view of this famous buildings with the mosque at the back
Great angle to let admire different and interesting parts of the city, good the presence of the woman to add a touch of color, contrast and life

One of your more interesting/ historical captures

Warm regards
Here in Argentina still there are lots of houses made of adobe and straw, but the roofs are of straw, they are fresh in Summer

Dear Gert, outstanding architecture developped in the Sahel region to keep freshness, magnificent cream hues, the houses are especially aesthetic, thanks

Hej Gert,

otroligt och imponerande. En fascinerande bild.

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