Book review: Sahara, Land Beyond Imagination ~ Frans Lemmens


Frans Lemmens, 2004 (28 x 28cm, 192pp)

After two decades travel in Africa, Frans Lemmens has produced a lavish photographic essay of the Sahara; a high quality, non-glossy production with a pleasing, clean design and an intelligent commentary by Martijn de Rooi which avoids the floweriness that so often accompanies these books.

As always it is the alluring dune images which most capture the imagination, be they abstract close-ups or rosey panoramas cast across sand seas. But there is just enough coverage of other desert themes to help fill picture of the Central Sahara, Morocco and the Nile, including some stunning portraits and breathtaking vistas that remind you of the Sahara’s compelling visual appeal. One regret (and a common complaint with just about every Sahara picture book) is the absence of material from the western and eastern Sahara. It would have been good to let the Moors, Tubu and the Libyan Desert get a piece of the action as these areas are no less photogenic. Maybe that can be the author’s next project but for now … Imagination is up there with the best of the Saharan picture books.