Thursday, 14 June 2007

Books: Around the World in Eighty Years

Eric Newby is best known as a travel writer. Written with a wry, self deprecating humour, books such as The Last Grain Race and A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush have become classics of travel writing. He has, however, always photographed his travels as well. I first came across his photos in a book called What the Traveller Saw, a collection of short essays and photographs. And I was impressed. So when I came across this volume of his photographs, I had to pick it up. It is a fine collection of photos from both well known locations such as Bali and places probably not on most tourist maps such as Haiti and Albania. It’s a little disappointing that there are no images from his year sailing from the UK to Australia and back again as a crewmember one of the last commercial sailing ships. But that’s just a personal bias. I was particularly drawn to the photographs of children that are in the book; these photos have a great power and intimacy, more so than most of the others. The photo of the boy on the boat in Macao the one of children at a camel fair in Rajasthan are two of those that really stand out. Overall, an interesting collection.

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