Don Whitebread

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don whitebread, photo technique, underexposed

Mountain View, California


“Despite some serious research, Yemen was unlike anything I imagined.  The landscape that I came to photograph was much more diverse and interesting than I expected, and the people and culture were firmly, but comfortably locked in centuries-old traditions.  Their Ministry of Tourism helped me with access to parts of the country that would have been otherwise restricted, and even provided a military guard in the Hadhramaut region, a religiously conservative area that is the childhood home of Osama Bin Laden’s father.  It was a tremendous advantage to have a friend living there who could provide me with deeper knowledge and access to a country and people it would usually take years to get to know.  I found the Yemeni people to be hospitable, confident, and apparently unenvious of the lifestyle much of the rest of the world embraces.  As I travelled, I kept coming back to historian William Cronon’s quote about Native Americans “living richly by wanting little.”   Yemen is on the cusp of a number of political and environmental disasters that may soon put an end to this centuries old lifestyle, and as The New York Times recently wrote, make it ‘the next Afghanistan’.”