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Wadi Hadhramaut, Yemen, 1999

I find Yemen an intriguing place to photograph and to travel to. It really retains its culture in its original form. Unlike some other countries in the region which have adopted the modern world in modern ways, Yemen is still practicing its culture, the way people dress, the architecture, the food, the music, everything is still very much of a Yemeni nature. I was traveling through the Hadhramaut part of Yemen and a place called Shibam, and off in a field I saw these women harvesting clover in a very interesting way. They were dressed head to toe in this black gown. They had black gloves despite the fact that it was 40-45 degree heat on this August morning, and they wore this very strange straw hat which I found wonderful, very tall. It almost looked like something out of a Harry Potter movie and I just wondered ‘what were the origins of that hat? how did they arrive at that particular design?’.

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