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21st Century Bedouin

Venetia Menzies

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21st Century Bedouin is a documentary project that explores how nomadic life in Algeria has been radically transformed over the past century, through events such as French colonisation, civil war and mass urban migration. The project examines this change through the lens of an individual family, whose story is told by its youngest member. Beginning in 1890s with his grandmother’s story, we find each generation experiences a common theme: migration.

Migration is a polemic issue today, but we have forgotten its perpetual history, its presence everywhere in nature, and its necessity for our survival throughout the human story.

Against photography conventions, we decided to annotate the photographs with a bilingual narrative which invites the reader to understand the intimate details of his family’s experiences.

The story was co-written between myself and the 21st Century Bedouin, all the photos are taken by myself and were taken in Algeria whilst retracing the journey of his family over time. Each photograph is of the specific site discussed in the annotations.

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