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


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Looking through the arch

Looking through the arch
Photo Information
Copyright: Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9534 W: 511 N: 18548] (82252)
Genre: People
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 1982-02
Categories: Daily Life, Architecture
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Best of Arches II [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2019-05-22 0:31
Viewed: 957
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 80
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Now my time machine has brought me to Mali in 1982.

This is from the UNESCO World heritage city of Djenné in the south-central part of the country. Djenné is mainly famous for its large mosque made of mud and straw, but the entire older part of the city has a reputation for outstanding traditional architecture.

I have posted several photos from Djenné before, like this one of the mosque and this more general city view.

In this photo you can see a part of the mosque in the background. It was taken early in the morning, when the light was still rather pale and weak and the colours hadn't received the intensity of later in the day. I think the colours in this scanned photo are actually quite correct, as they really were at that time of the day.

Here is a larger version.

Mali has never been a very easy country for travellers. The distances are often very long and communications are sparse and slow and uncomfortble. But in 1982 it was a very safe and friendly country, the total opposite to the conditions today, when basically the entire country should be avoided because of the danger posed by militant islamists or separatists.

Djenné is partly surrounded by water, and access to the city is limited, so as far as I know it hasn't yet been attacked. But terrorist groups roam the surrounding countryside, so safety can't be guaranteed. In a WS you can see just how few persons or vehicles that could enter the city at any time in 1982.

Both photos were scanned from Kodachrome slides.

Fis2, papagolf21, snunney, Miguel82, photographer_sg, pierrefonds, ikeharel, claudeD, johnjmoe, jhm, Cricri, COSTANTINO, adramad, worldcitizen, PiotrF, pajaran, macjake, bukitgolfb301, clic, dale54, jean113, PaulVDV, tyro, ChrisJ, mcmtanyel, alvaraalto, cornejo, kasianowak has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To kasianowak: Thanks again Kasiholmertz 1 2019-08-11 05:32
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Critiques [Translate]

Ciao Gert, my today neighbour, great view of fantastic place with nice people, lovely composition well framed by arch, excellent clarity, splendid light and wonderful colors very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • Fis2 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11388 W: 163 N: 19106] (140915)
  • [2019-05-22 1:02]

Witaj Gert my neighbor today :)
A very interesting building, I live it.
Good framing and composition, arch makes impression.
I like this scene from daily life.
Well done.
Good morning.

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  • Nicou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 15362 W: 0 N: 16877] (186776)
  • [2019-05-22 1:27]


l'utilisation de l'arche dans le cadrage très bien vu cela donne du cachet et ces personne quei passent cet édifice en fond ces tourelles au sommet qui ressortent quelle vue e tiamge quelle compo fantastique captage.
Bravo et amitié

Bonjour, cher Gert,
C'est un bonheur de pouvoir remonter le temps de cette façon à travers ces compositions et tes notes qui marquent une époque particulière.

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  • Tue Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10894 W: 57 N: 18836] (70460)
  • [2019-05-22 2:15]

Hej Gert,
Porten i forgrunden danner en perfekt ramme omkring gadebilledet med moskeen og dens smukke traditionelle arkitektur. Menneskerne tilføjer en god stemning af dagligdagen også.

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  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13313 W: 125 N: 23838] (119799)
  • [2019-05-22 2:42]

Hi Gert. Two beautiful scenes from your archive that remind me of my travels. The main photo looks like one of the abandoned villages of Oman that I visited recently, even though the architecture of the mosque you show us is truly unique. The second one reminds me of the crossing on the Gambia river, and in fact we are not far away. Really nice to see the car you were moving with, great memories from a state now very dangerous to visit.Have a nice day and thanks,Luciano

Hello Gert,
The architecture is fascinating and you have captured it well using the arch as a natural frame. The people nicely dispersed across the frame animate the scene. A fine scan and conversion from analogue.

Dear Gert,

Both photos would sell as a main upload. The ferry doesn't look very safe, but you are here posting photos, so it did its job. The main upload is better, the using of the arch as a natural frame was indeed a good idea. The second and the third figure from the left seem to have an argument or at least some kind of interaction.

Best Wishes,

a excellent framed and composed street tableau Gert, the fading, yellow-ish tinted work well.

Hello Gert
A lovely view of the village seen with the arch acting as a frame. The exposure is spot on with all details visible even in the darkest areas. The people are evenly dispersed in the frame providing both life and scale. The WS picture is equally attractive showing a relaxed ambiance with fine colours and sharpness.
Best regards

Hi Gert,

You have captured well a daily life activity. You had a good idea to use the arch to frame the scene. The point of view is showing the details of the houses. Have a nice day.


hello Gert, very inspiring photo, great framing, a desertic mood with the yellow tone pretty everywhere, I wonder if you could take the same shot today how much it would change..anyway memories from the past century..
warm regards


I like your series here with your time machine very much. Excellent picture showing the houses of the town perfectly framed with this big arch. Excellent contribution to TE.TFS.

With regards from Luxembourg


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  • rychem Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 4119 W: 0 N: 9820] (66923)
  • [2019-05-22 8:41]

An impressive old photo, I have never seen photos from this town, the building are truly amazing, very well shown through the arch
regards Ryszard

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  • jmdias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11219 W: 174 N: 20535] (90568)
  • [2019-05-22 8:53]


a pity we can't see this at this moment.
nice use of the arch, the shapes of the building and the local personages. a special and well framed image with the local mood.

take care


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  • BennyV Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2778 W: 35 N: 5592] (29926)
  • [2019-05-22 8:57]

Wonderful, wonderful picture from wonderful, wonderful Djenné. The view through is tops, the characters in the scene play a great role in what I like about the shot, but above all it's the colour tones. Superb!!


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  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 26033 W: 522 N: 44528] (189937)
  • [2019-05-22 9:04]

Hello Gert,

This old picture has certainly a big value.
We see the build style and the clothing of the people 37 year ago.
You use the arch perfect if frame.
Excellent composition and nice presentation too.
Very well done, TFS.

Best regards,

Ciao Gert
è un vero peccato che oggi questo paese sia così inospitale, ci sono bellissime cose da vedere.
Belle le tue foto, sempre interessanti le tue condivisioni e ricche di note.

Hi Gert
L'arche fait un joli cadre a la mosquée, les personnes ajoute de l'animation, belle présentation et scène de vie

Hello dear Gert and have a nice time
thanks for your photo from May in 1982
this photo seems like a scenery
from the movie with movement
and particular style
welldone and wellseen

Hello Gert, excellent use of the stone arch as a frame. We can see in the bg the mosque and houses made of mud and straw. Original architecture found in that arid part of Mali. I understand why Djené became a Unesco site. Remarkable photo report

Hello Gert.
A fantastic composition, with these constructions that I think have no resemblance in any other place in the world, the POV framing it in the arch, it gives much more perspective and adds beauty to the image.
Good management of brightness and superb sharpness.
Very well done. My congratulations.
All the best and have a good day.

Hello Gert,
It's always fascinating to see photos from Africa. I like how you used the arch to frame the mosque in the background. The colors throughout the entire scene are very similar, and in my opinion, that's an attractive quality. It's nice that just a few people were walking around to add life to the scene. You certainly didn't have to fight any crowds to get on the ferry either. :-)

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  • PiotrF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 4685 W: 2 N: 8500] (40906)
  • [2019-05-22 15:58]

Hello Gert,
Interesting picture from Mali.I like very original composition here ,excellent sharpness and good clarity.
Thank you for informative note.
Nice presentation

Dobar dan.
Interesantan i lep pogled, dobar tekst ...
Dobar rad sa lepom fotografijom u radionici, lepo pokazano, dobar kontrast, dobro uhvacen trenutak
Lepe fotografije i secanje.
Zelim vam lep dan, sve najbolje.

Good day.
Interesting and beautiful view, good text ...
Good work with nice photo in the workshop, beautifully shown, good contrast, well-caught moment
Nice photos and memories.
I wish you a nice day, all the best.

Hi Gert
my first thought was...this is like something out of a Star Wars movie :) I know you like your time machine, but i'm still confused if Star Wars is in the future of the past hahahaha.
as for us photographers, what is it about arches that we all enjoy so much? we do don't we, we just can't help it. I'm surprised you havn't posted this photo before, its a wonderful view, a wonderful piece of the culture. Too bad its not a place so easily visited today, as there seems to be many photos to be had. great shot. cheers

Hi dear Gert

Again your precious and so amazing Arcgive sereis via your time machine. Yes, Mali is so far caountry for me in many points, namley, distance, expensive and security, but I would like to visit in my life. Gate is nice natural frame, and thier daily life in the morning is nicely presented as usual.

All the best and have a good day! Takero

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  • clic Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2764 W: 0 N: 3401] (22672)
  • [2019-05-24 6:13]

Hallo Gert Indeed you are quite talented as a restorer of ancient pictures for having kept unspoiled the subdued tones of clay without 'juicing up', in consideration with a respect of the traditional institution. The well-assorted stone framing testifies of a trained sense of artistry giving the impression of discreteness on the near side, in regard of the spiritual mood around the mosque. Halsningar

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  • dale54 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1002 W: 0 N: 2093] (15652)
  • [2019-05-24 9:32]

gert good evening and hello to you..this is one interesting shot you give us..everyone going on their daily business! tfs dale

Hello Gert, an amazing place, and with the extra shots, we can really appreciate the architecture.
This shot is well composed making good use of the arch. The few people nicely animate the scene.
Very interesting notes.
Regards Jean.

Hello Gert,
Great view through the gate. Wonderful architecture and excellent daily life-picture.
That must have been a particularly adventurous journey you've made.
Best regards, Paul

A daily life picture from 37 years ago, but I doubt if any big change happened upon these mud built buildings since, Gert. Good choice to add the gate up front.
A well scanned old slides.
Have a nice weekend,

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  • tyro Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1921 W: 427 N: 7201] (28922)
  • [2019-05-25 17:04]

Hello Gert,

I am totally amazed that you have managed to sit on this photograph for all these years - but what a wonderful photograph it is - and how well you have scanned it too as the colours to me look very true indeed.

In early morning the people begin to stir in Djenné and you have captured them perfectly in this beautifully framed image. I do hope that the town remains safe at present and I trust that there is no easier means of access nowadays than there was to yourself in 1982 - as you have so well shown in your workshop picture.

Two wonderful photographs of great interest but also of excellent quality, a tribute to Kodachrome and also to your own scanning and editing skills.

And, as always, a wonderfully interesting and informative note.


Kind Regards,


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  • ChrisJ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 15527 W: 1055 N: 32393] (150784)
  • [2019-05-26 1:02]

Hej Gert,

These unusual mud brick buildings look similar to the way archeologists envisaged Hatussa, the Hittite capital, once looked. Although in Hattusa the wooden poles were driven into holes bored into the stone foundations, all that remains today. The people animate the scene and the arch makes a terrific frame. Tfs!

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  • emka Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11549 W: 123 N: 29379] (138524)
  • [2019-05-26 23:29]

Hello Gert, this is kind of the pictures that I like most: there are the people to enliven the view but also unique architecture. And of course, I would love to see Djenne but it is impossible :(.
Tody is my last day in BAku - I will go around seeing the places I liked most and in the evening I have the train to Tbilisi.
Have a nice day


Hello Gert,
Another lovely historic photo. I'd love to visit this town, but I am afraid it is too off the beaten track for my wife. The view through the arched gate is splendid. Is that a Peugeot 404 Station Wagon in the workshop photo?

Hello Gert,
A photo that you probably can't take anymore today. The situation seems to me worse since 1982. Two beautiful unique photos.
Greetings from York, Rob

I really liked how the arch frames the interesting typical scene with people just walking by and the prevailing sand-color buildings. Nice result.

Hello Gert, very good photograph of this beautiful and interesting composition with the view through the arch of the interesting buildings, very well captured in this beautiful image, with good sharpness, depth, light, color and quality. Very good and interesting work perfectly done, my congratulations my friend. Thanks for sharing this beautiful work.

Good night and happy weekend.
Best wishes from the south of Spain.

You know I'm really curious to see this city and especially this particular building one day...
I saw this post and read the note during one of my frequent trips to Poland last May but didn't get time to comment. I'm glad I didn't as I'm now looking at it again on my photo monitor and its range of tones, beautiful colours and masterful composition deserve proper presentation. It's sepia, even though it's really full colour and I love your idea to use the arch as a compositional tool. The presence of people reminds me that it really is a street life shot but it's a very special street.
The WS photo shows the way you travelled which I always find interesting.
Have a nice Sunday afternoon!
Ps. And of course it's going to my favs collection. :-)

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