In late 2012 I traveled to the Sinai desert to begin a six-moth project; to live and photograph the remaining Bedouin Gabaliya gardeners who continued to maintain ancient orchards in the mountain region. I interrogated my perceived romanticisation in attempting to represent the gardeners and their surrounds. Working on a series of portraits, I set up a studio backdrop to photograph each gardener. I envisioned these images as a response to 19th-century orientalist photography, as I included the surrounding context into the frame. I experimented with the perceptual complexities between natural and constructed, as well as with ethnographic photography and my role as both a foreigner and visual storyteller.
See also The Orchard Keepers Photography Book and film
Farhan Mohammad in his orchard in Wadi Gibel, every June for six months he leaves the village of St. Katherine with his family and lives in their orchard for the summer months.
Amariya Faraj Musa in her orchard in Wadi Zawatin. At the age of seventy after raising her six children in the village of St.Katherine she went to live and restore her families abandoned orchard by herself , where she now lives full time.
Salim Faraj in his orchard in Wadi Gibel. Salim spends the summer with his family in his orchard.
Dr. Ahmad Mansour in his orchard in Wadi Itlah. Dr.Ahmad is the last of nine herbal doctors in South Sinai. He lives full time in his orchard and collects his medicinal plants from the mountains to treat his patients.
Nasser Mansour in his orchard in Wadi Itlah. Nasser is the son of Dr.Ahmad. Camels and donkeys are the only means of transporting goods and equipment through the network of orchards.
Saleh Darwish and his son, Wadi Shkya
Huessain Musa in his orchard in Wadi Zawatin.
Saleh Musa in orchard in Wadi Itlah.
Rajab Sady and his children in his orchard in Wadi Sharegg. Rajabs orchards is close to the village so he uses his orchard daily, all year round as a means of supplementing his families daily food source.
Salama Eid in his orchard in Wadi Shregg. Salama and his two brothers recently restored his families’ orchard that remained unused since his father passed away ten years previously. A well 40-meter well was re-dug.
Eid Salama in his orchard in Wadi Zawatin.