Mohammed | Egypt

Another emotive image from the epic UK to Rwanda cycle adventure – from one of my favourite countries – Egypt. – a picture of Mohammed.

I had spent around 6 hours in the saddle, travelling along the Nile Southwards, ultimately towards Aswan.
It had been a really tough few hours in the saddle. The temperature was already 38 degrees and I had received lots of hassle. As I crossed the Nile, a small moto pulled up alongside, two young lads rode alongside for around a 100 metres, before gently pulling out an enormous knife. I vividly remember staring at it, seeing it shine in the baking heat. I can’t remember what happened next – basically I lost my temper, riding towards them and shouting lots.
It seemed to work, they departed and I didn’t see them again.With the temperature rising and already 6 hours tarmac/dust under the wheels I found some shade, under a small tree outside a factory. Sipping luke warm water I began to drift in and out of sleep.Within a few minutes a pickup arrived with 10 or so men and women in, a large chap came out and offered some shelter in the big warehouse… a few minutes later I was sat on a plastic chair, inside a massive warehouse, air conditioned and shear bliss. I spent around two hours, chatting to the folks working and learning about their village and work. It turns out (at the time) they grew potatoes for the UK & European markets and kept them in the airconditioned warehouse awaiting collection.

Mohammed wasn’t overly keen on having a photo, eventually I wore him down and he duly posed with the potatoes. A remarkable experience, that reinstated my belief in the good of humans after my earlier run in. After a hugely enjoyable rest, where I honestly made a couple of friends, I set off again. With another 40 miles to cover it was on with the adventure.

About Julian Claxton

My passion for photography is supported by experiences gained on exciting travel adventures and through working for fantastic photographers. In 2006, I made the exciting step of realising my dream of becoming a freelance photographer. Since this pivotal moment, I have held numerous exhibitions, been featured nationally & internationally in print and won numerous awards, including being a finalist in the National Geographic Photographic competition in 2013 with one of my documentary images from the Sudan. From an early age I began to enjoy taking pictures of my daily life, basking in the thrill of sending the film to the printers and eagerly awaiting the pocket sized prints. My first foray into the world developing and printing strangely began at school when I was asked to produce a descriptive photo for the school newspaper. A front page shot later and I was destined to start the long arduous journey of becoming a photographer. In between exciting travel adventures and working for fantastic photographers, I graduated from college and at a crossroads in my journey to becoming a pro photographer, I embarked on a career working as a medical photographer. Learning new skills and dabbling in video production as well as progressing design skills, I yearned for the challenge and freedom of becoming a freelance. I have been fortunate enough to work on some amazing assignments which have included shooting a documentary assignment with an air ambulance, gaining full access to a British Pro cycling team during an international UCI tour, cycling to Rwanda and creating a photographic documentary of my journey. The experiences continue to grow, meeting wonderful people to photograph and telling the story of their journey. The list of events and striking moments that have played out through my viewfinder continue to grow and provide me with ever increasing snapshots of life to capture. One of the highlights of my career thus far has been staying in rural Uganda, teaching photography to the kids from the region, in a project I set up in late 2014, entitled ‘Give a child a camera’. The basis of the project is to supply 35mm cameras and film to the rural schools in this region of East Africa, teaching the children how to shoot photographs. After a week of taking photos of their life, an exhibition is held at the school and the children leave with their very own album, camera and film. One of the images I shot at Eden school in rural Uganda, during morning chapel won the 2015 Travel Media Tourism and Photography award. A great honour and one that I wouldn’t have picked up had it not been for the wonderful children of East Africa. For further information please visit www.julianclaxtonphotography.com
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