The Princess and The Fish

 

princess-and-fish
Photo Taken circa January 2006 – on the coast close to Lagos, Nigeria

 

The Princess and The Fish is what I’ve always called this photograph.  I took it almost 11 years ago on a slim spit of beach wedged between the quiet creek and the wide Atlantic Ocean just a short boat ride along the coast from Lagos, Nigeria one lazy Sunday afternoon.

This girl was seemingly the leader of her ‘gang’ of beach roaming children.  She was older than the others and was insistent that I photographed her and her friends.  As I snapped the first picture, the one of her alone, she unexpectedly blew into the fishes’ mouth to make it puff up.  She was pleased to show me her party trick and laughed gleefully at my surprise.

The children look so serious and sombre in the group shot, but the camera lies.  They were an excitable and exuberant bunch who tailed us about the beach chatting to us and asking questions, eventually departing happily with our excess picnic food.

 

children-at-the-beach
Many Nigerians believe that photographs can capture a part of your soul, so you should always seek permission before photographing people.  Despite their serious demeanour, these children were desperate to be photographed.

Who is the girl and what became of her?  Did the fish she kissed turn into a handsome prince to whisk her off her bare feet?  I like to imagine so.

What kind of fish is it?  I never found out.

It’s unlikely, but if you know who the girl or her friends are or what kind of fish the girl is kissing, I’d love to know.

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