Monkey business in an expression refering to a stupid, time-wasting activity.
This donkey business would have been regarded as neither stupid nor time-wasting. This little square was used as the donkey market in the Old town of Sanaa, capital of Yemen. Apart from the donkeys that can be seen there were others hidden inside the crowd. I walked past this place a few times and the activity was always intense. Actually I always turned up here by coincidence, because in the maze of narrow, twisting alleys it was hard for a stranger to figure out the directions.
This photo was taken in 1419 AH, according to the Islamic lunar calendar, corresponding to 1998. To my mind there is very little to tell that it couldn't have been taken in 1419 AD, apart from the fact that the Kodachrome film wasn't then yet invented.
This is a scan and here is a larger version.
Critiques | Translate
saxo042 (37724) 2014-01-05 6:32
Verkligen ett myllrande folkliv här med många detaljer och färger. Kvinnorna är tydligen hemma och sköter hushållet, här kan jag inte se en enda. Men åsnorna får vara med.
Romano46 (18472) 2014-01-05 6:35
una foto che ha sedici anni ma non li dimostra perchè l'aspetto del luogo non mi sembra molto diverso da quello che hai fotografato, almono a giusicare da quanto si vede in televisione.
Una bella scena di vita quotidiana che pur con i limiti della scannerizzazione che purtroppo rende meno fruibili alcuni dettagli mantiene ancor oggi tutta la sua efficace bellezza.
Ciao e buona domenica
KristinsCamera (2373) 2014-01-05 6:40
1419, eh? definitely!
Your capture has the rich look of a biblical tableau, perhaps a scene from Gian Carlo Menotti's opera, "Amahl and the Night Visitors."
Incredible that this was only 15 years ago... thanks for pulling this out of your amazing archives for us :)
yquem46 (38750) 2014-01-05 6:41
i thought that this one had been shot earlier, it is so timeless
Again another good testimony of daily life in Middle east countries
have a nice sunday, best regards
UlfE (14641) 2014-01-05 7:01
Kul titel på fotot. Fantastiskt myllande folkliv och åsnan till vänster är verkligen perfekt placerad. Bilden är ju inte tagen för jättelänge sedan, men det finns ingenting som gör att man kan placera in den ett par år före milleniumskiftet. Kul med tvätten på muren i bakgrunden. Skulle tro att den torkar snabbt där. Ha en bra trettonhelg!
wolf38 (31284) 2014-01-05 7:06
Hello Gert. Another photo from the original Yemen. In the photo you can see so many details. Although the photo is a few years old, has probably changed little until today. Unfortunately, you can not travel without risk to Yemen.
Best rgds, Wolfgang .... and a happy NEW YEAR
aleXundar (1256) 2014-01-05 7:20
It looks like a scene from a period film. The atmosphere of the market, the dresses, the floor - all remained unchanged for years. It is a nice documentation of time frozen.
A remarkable shot.
chrislo (4155) 2014-01-05 7:23
It seems you've been traveling in a time machine. The scene looks from another time, another century. The yellow colour cast of the scan gives the image an old time atmosphere and a very vintage feel. You have managed to capture the spirit and the liveliness of that quaint bustling market to perfection. A very enjoyable and interesting post.
williewhistler (15683) 2014-01-05 7:25
This appears just as I imagine a scene from "Arabian Nights" would be.It has so many interesting characters besides the inquisitive donkey.
Another fine conversion from the archive.
Best regards Les.
serp2000 (42218) 2014-01-05 7:36
Oh, when I saw these digits of the date, I thought it is photo from the past. Amazing daily life scene, but I don't to go to Yemen. This is not so attractive place for me. ;)
Perfect quality... impressive sharpness. Good register. TFS!
kwekwekan (1078) 2014-01-05 7:40
A very lively photo in which the viewer gets a excellent sense of the bustling activity of the market. It is easy to imagine the sounds of the men negotiating the price of the donkeys. The colours and clarity of the picture are excellent as well - sometimes real film goes a long way over the digital images of today.
rychem (28949) 2014-01-05 8:25
Exotic scene to me, excellent documentary photo, very well managed in the harsh light, great details
SnapRJW (31627) 2014-01-05 8:38
Hello Gert - This is really fabulous. You have captured the bustling atmosphere of the donkey market so well, I feel as if I am there soaking up the sights and sounds in person. The details are fascinating, perhaps the most noticeable are the lack of females in the shot, the boy enjoying his watermelon and the man striding along with his Janbiya prominently displayed at his waist; so distinct is this knife I had to look it up on Google! How exciting to experience scenes like this in person. A shot to take the viewer to a timeless and traditional lifestyle. Excellent. Warm wishes for 2014. Rosemary
boa (6675) 2014-01-05 9:05
du är förmodligen den enda som jag känner som har varit i Yemen. Risken är ju tyvärr mycket stor att man aldrig kommer hem igen om man reser dit, så man får vänta och se hur det utvecklas. Ur rent egoistisk synvinkel så är det trist att de intressanta länderna är farliga att besöka(kanske därför de är intressanta)
Härlig bild med mycket folkliv, jag kan nästan känna värmen och höra sorlet här. Jag håller med dig angående dina funderingar om årtalet, den här bilden känns tidlös! Hoppas att vi får se fler bilder från "farliga"länder under 2014 (AH)
Fis2 (90829) 2014-01-05 9:21
Excellent reportage photo.
Curious scene and place.
I like colors and sharpness.
I like it.
marabu61 (9707) 2014-01-05 11:06
If it wouldn't be for the oil drum the donkey is eating out and the fact that you where able to take a photo, this timeless scene could indeed have been taken sometimes in the middle ages. I suppose it wouldn't have looked much different then.
Great daily life scene from a world so strange to us.
trevlig åton och hejdå
carlo62 (39709) 2014-01-05 14:23
il tempo sembra fermo, potremmo essere in qualsiasi anno, la scena non cambierebbe, come dici tu, solo perchè si tratta di una fotografia, altrimenti l'anno non conterebbe niente.
Bella foto, bella scansione, ma, soprattutto, un bel documento.
dkmurphys (53539) 2014-01-06 0:12
Your old photos are surely wonderful documents about the simple life was in every corner of the world. Well taken!
Subhogen (4067) 2014-01-06 1:21
You are correct in your note, the photo indeed has the medieval feel about it and I will not be surprised if some of these buildings are that old. Funny title I like it. One thing that strikes me is that all the people have unique head gear. Your photo captures the chaos and commotion of a market place very well. Thanks for sharing.
Kamilutka (8105) 2014-01-06 1:34
amazing shot - so much to look at, one can discover detail after detail for a really long time. I like how the group of people has been placed in very picturesque street and is surrounded by city walls. The donkey in the corner definitely draws attention and enriches the whole composition.
Great colors and light.
mesutilgim (89752) 2014-01-06 2:36
Hello dear Gert,
Amazing and interesting capture of this donkey market in Sanaa 1 Business is Business !
The boy, anjoying his watermelon adds a unique taste to your compo.
TFS and best regards
PS.After having tried many different scanners I've just made an "invention" ! I'll post it as WS to this entry ! İt Works !!
ourania (37374) 2014-01-06 3:33
a very vivid and vibrant scene, full of action and details to explore. You have chosen a great point of view that includes much of the busy setting as well as the reason of the gathering, in the foreground. I love the depth, the strong, rich light and the vivid colours. The textures have a stunning naturalness and we can feel the movement of the people. The noise that fills the setting is evoked so easily too. So many subplots to study! Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great day,
pajaran (55581) 2014-01-06 6:06
Dobar dan, popodne.
Interesantan tekst o mestu i trenutku ...
Lepa fotografij i secanje.
Lepo popodne i sve najbolje sa lepim secanjem na posetu Jemenu.
Good afternoon, this afternoon.
An interesting article on the place and time ...
Beautiful photos and memories.
Nice afternoon and all the best with beautiful memories of a visit to Yemen.
Nicou (131446) 2014-01-06 7:39
quelle scène et iamge captée au vif sueprbe compo et iamge fantastique vue avec toutes ces personnes et cet âne blanc cette animation sueprbe vue et image.
Bravo et amitié
Graal (100526) 2014-01-06 10:06
interesting reportage here, about the daily life in Sana in '98. Very good quality of scan. Well presentation.
Have a great New Year 2914!
siudzi (34141) 2014-01-06 10:09
Excellent street life photography taken from a very well selected POV to get such an interesting result. Superb scene achieved as well as the quality of your work. Like it a lot! Well done!
macjake (62346) 2014-01-06 11:48
you know we all enjoy your ol' time photos, but this one isn't actually THAT old at all.
hmmm....i'm seeing a pattern in the people and the animals here...nobody is seemingly overweight! lol
if we look closely you can actually see the ribs on the donkey.
Interersting too, to see the men wear either the red or white head garment, no other colors, I wonder if thats a religious meaning? I"m not so up to date on such things.
lots to see here once again.
subhendu_bagchi (25975) 2014-01-07 1:54
another very good daily life shot here. Love the colour tone. Sharpness and depth are splendid. Great work. Tfs.
rigoletto (34279) 2014-01-07 4:11
hello gert. i like your note regarding the lunar calendar and how the more than 500 years old gap between the roman calendar doesn't make sense in the ancient looks of this view. it indeed is a very lively and movie-like scene from another exotic place, timeless when you ignore the rusty barrel. i would expect you to have difficulties in photographing, but there seems to be no problems about shooting explicitly in public.
willperrett (8761) 2014-01-07 4:14
Yes, this has the remembered warmth of Kodachrome! I'm glad you were in Yemen in 1998 and not now: the British Foreign Office advise against all travel to Yemen at the moment. But as a journalist, I suppose you must be used to travelling to "volatile" parts of the world. This is a great documentary image of ordinary life, and as you say, completely timeless, except for the oil drum and a few stray electicity cables!
lousat (83544) 2014-01-07 4:17
Hi Gert,spectacular memory from Yemen,a place that i dream to visit me too one day but not in this moment,isn't safe for the tourists now...eheheh....absolutely grea this scene,a lot of life between very old walls in the heart of Sanaa,great work in PP,the details are truly perfect everywhere.Have a nice day and thanks,Luciano
kato (11630) 2014-01-07 6:35
You're capturing well this place by a good composition and excellent tone/clarity, so it's interesting and impressive to see the donkey market in little square in which many merchants are gathering. It looks like an active market. It's also impressive in traditional hood and clothes of Yemen people as well as brick buildings. And, the boy who is eating a watermelon is the spectacle considered as a warm heart in the busy market.
John_F_Kennedy (43505) 2014-01-07 6:44
nice impression of this market. It rememeber to me to the camel market I had just seen near Khartoum
abmdsudi (47604) 2014-01-07 9:05
Its fun looking back in yester-years, a lively scene at this open animal market full of buyer-sellers and the compo is lovely displaying the day to day actvity with the donkey to lead in. I like the treatment in warm light, the oldie look, the colors well depicting the time gone by and lots more to look at in particular i love the crumbling buildings behind. Excellent work with the aging treatment and good archiving. Well done.
Silvio1953 (131728) 2014-01-07 9:29
Ciao Gert, lovely daily life composition, beautiful market scene with a lot of people, excellent clarity, splendid light and wonderful colors, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio
PS: per cortesia clicca mi piace
imageme (1790) 2014-01-07 18:42
Hi Gert, I thought I am watching a trailer of a historical movie from Middle East. It tells so much details in this picture of a donkey market in Yemen. The architecture of the structures, the outfits of the people and their ways of bundle the hair, the animals and the hay on the brick dirty ground. Wonderful rich colours despite strong sunlight. Piece of documentary. Thank for sharing
jhm (145180) 2014-01-08 3:52
I don't know or there is a lot changed after sixteen year!
Your picture is very well certainly for a scanned picture.
Together the a lot people on these market cares for an excellent composition.
Sharpness and clarity are perfect
Very well done, TFS.
nikkitta (17018) 2014-01-08 15:39
This is not so old capture, must be more or less the same today with not women at all, men with red turbans
Quite exotic and plenty of life capture, really seems the set for a movie
Must have been great to freely walk and stay there
Well done an Happy New Year 2014...
emka (87492) 2014-01-09 3:44
hej gert, Of course I was inspired by this photo and I saw it, but was lazy in writing critique :). Wonderful scene from Yemen market, so busy. And this is a men's business, I do not see here any woman. And what could they do here? I wonder how it would look like now. Such scene could be probably seen in India, but different head gear.
eldancer1 (32802) 2014-01-09 10:15
There's a small town in Arizona where wild donkeys (or burros) roam the streets mixing with locals and tourist. Nice capture of this beautiful scene with good lighting and nice details. Well done, tfs.
fabbs99 (16819) 2014-01-09 22:03
Another beauty from middle east.Lovely retro-shot with the donkey.The cynosure remains with the little boy having water melon.Reflects good insight into the daily lives of these people from Yemen.TFS.
COSTANTINO (60613) 2014-01-11 7:01
the truth is that it is the first time
I see a donkey market your useful notes
decribe this subject in the best way
difficult conditions of life
have a nice evening
zoomer (6) 2014-01-11 15:51
Hi,this sure is a very lively scene!The daily life vigor is well caught.All the best Wolf.
Miguel82 (26877) 2014-01-12 6:13
A value archive from another time Gert, it really reminds me a movie scene, cobblestone street, a donkey and everybody wearing traditional clothes, old buildings, a unique atmosphere well captured, thanks, have a nice We
annjackman (21053) 2014-01-14 22:01
You are right about how timeless this picture seems as it is hard to spot signs of modern activity. I like the bustle of the scene with the donkey in the FG providing a lead in to the market. A super scan.
Best wishes, Ann
jemaflor (90079) 2014-01-15 23:31
Well taken this daily scene, light is perfect as the composition with the monkey in the Fg and all these people, well made.
adores (41654) 2014-01-17 16:18
Fantastic scene, so authentic! I guess I would return there lots of times without getting tired:)! So much to see here . the way they are dressing and talking to each other, the kid eating watermelon, the man on the right carrying a Janbiya and, of course, the clothes drying on the terrace... Just great!
mcmtanyel (17191) 2014-01-25 18:04
The electric wires running all over the place and the oil barrel used as a garbage bin as well as the plastic footware are dead giveaways that this is at least the 20th century, Gert. Interesting that the cell-phone craze does not seem to have hit Yemen in the late 90s.
A marvelous time capsule from your vaults.
adidas5nb (5685) 2014-01-25 18:15
well the elements do make it feel more of 1419 than 1998.great shot from a world unknown.great texture to the frame.
PaulVDV (24745) 2014-02-08 11:24
Indeed, a picture taken on a place where time seems to have stood still.
This market is clearly a man's world and it looks very animated.
It's great that no one notices you and takes a posing attitude ... unless perhaps the donkey on the foreground.
Best regards, Paul
ikeharel (63913) 2015-08-15 21:47
Good morning Gert,
Vibrant market scene so beautifully collected. I assum nowadays it would not be so easy to do the same...
Donkey is not a stupid animal commonly thought about - not that i have any experience with those, but this animal endure through long era's, the bible had some references to them from old times.
I can imagine the tumult going on, marvelous old photo.
Have a nice Sunday,