top of page

Feature Week 26




Stone Town is a wonderful place to take pictures, wandering through the narrow streets will give you a opportunity every time you turn a corner. We were walking all day, visiting markets, squares, meeting people, the birthplace of Freddie Mercury, castles and the beach. Then, around the corner, we saw a couple of kids playing "hide and seek" near a hotel (Kholle). The right side of the picture gives it away that I was hiding as well, secretly taking their picture. Although the cloths of the children were quite colourful the black and white of the picture blends them nicely in the surroundings of the white houses and black window shutters. 


The action of the running kids in all directions is emphasised by the three boys leaving the frame to the right and the shadow of the wires projected on the left wall. The thick wire in the left top is coming towards you to make the picture more dynamic. 

After I took this picture we walked towards the beach over a small square were a number of men were sitting under a tree (see middle picture below) between large bags, probably with merchandise. I suspect these were the fathers of the kids, but these men seemed also to be playing hide and seek from their wives.

A few moments later the beach at the border of the city was in sight where I took the right picture of a man and a ship in the background. I might do a story on that one some week.


Location Stone Town, Zanzibar - Tanzania

Details you can find in this picture

110-03_Detail__0005_Layer 1.jpg

The dynamic posture of the left boy, pushing his friend to their next hiding place, is giving the image the right playfulness. The silhouette of the boys face is very beautiful, is highlighted nicely on the light grey background. You can see he is having fun. I shot this picture using a 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor lens at 1/1.000 second which freezes the boy nicely.  The boy in the middle is wearing a bandana around his head and his slippers in his hand. Most of the older boys walk around barefoot which is much nicer in this weather. Just a couple of seconds later this scene was empty, they all hid. 

He is not suppose to look, but he is. He is the youngest of them all, so it seems. Shortly after the small boy turn his face towards the wall and started counting loudly. 

I love the posture of this kid, It feels like he is lost between these bigger kids, it is just him and the kids with the hat who are wearing slippers. The way he holds his arms feels marveled. He want to be part of the group but can't seem to connect. The story of chaos and confusion is captured in this little fellow. He plays an important role in this picture but unfortunately doesn't know it. If only I could let him know.

110-03_Detail__0004_Layer 2.jpg
110-03_Detail__0003_Layer 3.jpg

The shadow casted by the wires tell the story in an explanatory car-toon. Just like the kids running in all directions the lines on the wall show us the same. The little boy is not the only one keeping an eye on his older friends, the camera above him on the wall is doing exactly the same. 


3 cups


The cable coming to- wards us seems to be reaching out to us, as if we have been noticed. I'm often attracted to these cables connecting the city to the rest of the world. They draw gentle lines between buildings and in the sky.

It's like a sketch of a chaotic pencil drawing. This one is special, it has a helix and fades blurry towards the observer, unlike the rest.

110-03_Detail__0002_Layer 4.jpg
110-03_Detail__0001_Layer 5.jpg

When I took the shot I thought the "Kholle House" was a school or something similar but it isn't. Later I found out it is an hotel. According to their website, it was built for Princess Kholle, the daughter of the first Omani Sultan of Zanzibar in 1860, which sound like a bedtime story. Either way, the plate on this wall suite the picture very well graphically, as do the window shutters. These shutters, as are the doors, are quite a sight in Stone Town. There are all kinds of different ones, each with their own story. The wood and handles are pieces of art or faded glory due to overdue maintenance.

In the foreground of the photo you can see part of the corner of the street, so the shot seems to have been taken secretly, without disturbing the children. Just before we got to this street we already heard them scream and shout, therefor I knew I had to be careful not to reveal myself in case there would be an opportunity for a picture. nine out of ten times there is nothing to be shot but in this case there was. I wasn't sure putting the wall inside the picture would work but I could always leave it out in post. There was only one opportunity to take the shot as the kids run off quickly.

110-03_Detail__0000_Layer 6.jpg

Gear used for this shot


Camera Nikon F4s

Shutter speed 1/1.000s

Aperture f/8


Lens Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF-D

Kodak 400tmax.jpg

Film Kodak 400TMX

Developer Ilford DD-X

On your wall 


Framed detail


Dibond detail



bottom of page