ARCHIVE: PEOPLE 40 – TORTOISE LOOKING AT PHOTOGRAPHER


Tortoise at Lake Bogoria, in the Kenya rift valley; November 1979.

I’m using the OM-1 with a 50mm F1.4 silvernose Zuiko lens – and sporting the legend that was Photographic Hat. This hat was originally bright orange, and I’d bought it to shield my hairless dome from the sun during fieldwork in the deserts of the Middle East. Later, bleached and sunblasted, it accompanied me to Kenya.

The hat’s crown was fast getting too thin to be an effective sun blocker so, to help matters, I hacked a circle of denim from an old pair of jeans and very crudely “sewed” it over the hat’s decaying top. I was of course wearing a faded rag on my head, but the great thing that drew me to it – and the origin of its name – was that its limp brim fell down just nicely over the gap between my glasses and my camera’s viewfinder, so that I could always see well to photograph, even in the blazing, overhead sunlight of the equatorial midday.

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