It was a toss-up tonight between two photos that suited the theme of ‘ready’. One was of my father and his mates in the training camp, ready and waiting to be sent to the Middle East. And there was this one of an Egyptian kitchen hand bearing about 50 plates with more behind him, ready to serve all the extra patrons. His hands have a firm grip on his load…
The wedding of an Australian General Hospital sister, approx. 1941. The church is the Basilique Notre Dame d’Héliopolis, Cairo. I’ve written a little about the church here, and included a photo of the whole structure.
The nurse probably worked at the hospital in Kantara (also El Qantarah and several other spellings), Egypt, close to the Suez Canal. My father may have known her since he was a patient in this hospital, but he didn’t record her name.
A wedding in the middle of a war zone. A triumph of hope over reality.
In the album I found a few photos of Arabs snapped in the simplicity of their daily lives. This one really narrows it down: a shadeless desert, a man stopping to pray, a curious and patient camel. Bowing over his mat in prayer, the Arab blocks out the Allied soldier behind the camera lens, and the complications of war.
This week, it really was a challenge to find a photo in the war album that suited a peaceful theme… I like this one of the sun rising behind the pyramids, though even this photo has a disturbing darkness.
Another photo from my father’s war album.
There’s also his postcard-sized painting on the same theme: