Before You More Than Me

Before You More Than Me

Before You, More Than Me, Mbawalala, near Dodoma, Tanzania, 2017.

Margareth Ngallya, a former ngariba, under the tree where she performed female genital cutting.

Scan of a Platinum-palladium print on Reich CT48 Translucent paper, from an 8×10 inch negative
Printed 2018

This is the fourth image of ‘From Where Loss Comes‘, a photographic series about female genital cutting and sacrifice. The series is published here with permission from all the people portrayed in it.

As I bring you to this tree, and flow into you through the eyes, through this photograph, this window, you become me, and through me, the tree. Taking you to all that I come from.

And you, in turn, become
all that is more than me,
carrying it forward, before us, like a shield. Like all sacrifices.

There, you see the blazing Unknown, the sky. Dumping its ripples below. And before you, and me, the Known. This is not pain, this is not yours, this, now, is us. More than me, more than you.