Her name is Mann. At least that’s what she said when I asked her in my very broken Senegalese. But I think her real name was something else because every time I addressed her, all the women would laugh at me and she would blush.
Mann and I had met only moments before in her uncle’s garden when I took this photo of her.
I spent a couple days living with Mann and her family when I was documenting a
Mann is a tree planter… and I am a crazy foreigner that somehow landed in her village. I knew almost zero of their language, and they knew even less of mine, so most of our communication was me jumping around like a baboon trying to pantomime what I meant and them mimicking me while crying with laughter. We did have one form of communication, though, photos. So I spent my sunrises and sunsets after planting wandering the gardens and villages taking Polaroid portraits of people.
When I gave Mann this photo, she started running in circles with excitement before it even printed, and then she disappeared. When she came back, she shyly came up to me. And I pulled the photo from my pocket and handed it to her. She blushed and this little photo didn’t leave her hand for the next two days.
As a photographer, I am constantly taking pictures of people without being able to give anything in return. This simple idea, of capturing a moment as a gift, means more to me than I can write in words.
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