Book review: Sahara, Atlantic to the Nile ~ Alain & Berny Sebe


Sahara, Atlantic to the Nile
Alain and Berny Sebe, 2003

Alain Sebe has been photographing and privately producing high quality large format picture books on the Sahara for over 20 years, covering the Tuareg, the Tassilis, rock art, Sahara from the air, etc.

With a new publisher he has brought out more general titles at lower prices, but with no reduction in quality. Last year’s we got L’Image du Sahara an overview of 33 years desert travel and now Sahara, Atlantic to the Nile is a virtual photo journey from the Western Sahara to the Nile – and it’s in English too. It’s virtual in as much as this is another repackaging of earlier photos along a route not actually undertaken (I could be wrong here – there is a map in the back). It’s a common practise among photographers and does not undermine the result; a general Sahara picture book from the sub-Atlas Morocco to Tunisia and the Hoggar, the Tassili, Libya and Egypt.

Inside you get a fabulously rich album with text by the photographer’s son, Berny. The printing and paper are as good as it gets, with some stunning images, especially from the Moula Moula aerial collection. Algeria covers a fair slice of the book, as it should, with sections on rock art to adding to the whole Saharan panorama. We do not see the best of the amazing Gilf and Jebel Uweinat though and without Mauritania, Niger and Chad it’s still not the ultimate Sahara picture book I was hoping for. Sahara does not claim to be so and I’m sure the above three countries are in the Sebe pipeline. Then, once a general 400-page collection of those three countries is published along with the ones covered in Sahara, the ultimate Sahara coffee table book will be here.