At some point, on every trek across the water – there’s a moment when everything kind of slows down for a second and a wider reality sets in. – In Spain it was Cala Comte, in France it was on a festival stage in Nantes; Wales, England, South Africa – there’s always a moment when something in my head clicks and I’m able to take in a live time experience from a very humbled and enlivened place.
This day on the secluded Matemwe beach, in the northern tip of Zanzibar was when that awareness settled in.. – I was shooting the Orange swim suit photos on the quiet side of a shipwrecked boat. A number of younger boys had started to form into a soccer game of the other side, complete with makeshift goals comprised of large branches and random junkyard finds. Every couple mins the soccer ball would roll on to my side of the boat and 3 or 4 boys would run over to fetch it; checking out the photoshoot, and returning more and more slowly to their game each time. At several points my photographer chuckled and I’d look over my shoulder to find a little face peering over the starboard, or crawling around the bow to watch. Once we wrapped I invited them to hop in, and after a little hesitation a few of the youngest scurried over and all but hopped in my lap.
The language barrier made it difficult but we managed to communicate my photographer wanting to hop in the game for a bit. The ones too small to play huddled around and watched over my should as i snapped shots of the sunset match. – It was there in the sand, with my sunburned legs and my frizzy beach hair I could hear the waves crashing behind me; the Swahili in the play call shouts from the boys in game. I felt the weight of the camera around my neck and was reminded I was a stranger here. A million things had conspired for me to be able to sit on this beach in Africa, with these kids that so warmly welcomed me to join them on their practice field that evening. I watched giant shadows of barefoot boys battle back and forth across the strand. No cell phones or gadgets, no crazy clothes or egos. Just a gorgeous setting and a consuming feeling of gratefulness.