Recently I was leaning against a tree with my camera shutter set to electronic, that is, silent, when a girl walked towards a swan to tempt it out of the water. She was wearing a dinosaur dress with spikes down the back. I took her picture and converted it to black and white.
Then I compared it with a photo from my father’s World War Two album of a girl holding a goat in Syria, taken in about 1941. Beneath this photo my father wrote ‘Syrian Bint’. The dictionary tells me that bint is colloquial but with an Arabic origin, meaning girl or daughter.
I like the similarities between the two photos. The girls are both looking to the left of the image, they seem about the same age, and they are both enjoying the animal they’re with.
The photo of the Syrian girl is close-up and very well defined. I don’t know if it would be much better if taken with one of today’s cameras. Zooming in reveals surprising details of both the girl and her goat. But the landscape is pretty blurry; zooming in makes it worse. By contrast, the trees and reeds in the background of the new image, taken with my Fujifilm X-E4, are clearer though not sharp, probably because I was trying to be stealthy rather than capture the perfect shot.
My favourite of these two photos is the one taken in 1941.