Naomi Haussmann

the streets were pulsating with the heart beat of winners
flames of celebration
men smoking and shouting and laughing
me and my camera
click click click
Cairo was alive it seemed

then clicking turned my way

all eyes on me, a white unaccompanied female
in a sea of men
soon it was like paparazzi
men asking for my picture
arms around me as if we were old friends
a man jumped in the frame
laid his hand on my breast
egged on by his friends
i shouted and pushed and panicked
the crowd was pressing in on me
i was entertainment

music smashed inside my ears
as the loud slurred voice of the crowd rose and fell
i weaved in and out
hired to capture the stupor as it unfolded
glassy eyed 20 something females and their 50 year old male admirers
click click click
“oi you, oi camera girl ”
oh…he meant me
“take a picture of this" as he grabs at his crotch

arms creep around my waist
the owner of the bar
whispers in my ear
liquor on his tongue
body pressed into mine
“get a picture of me and this broad please darlin”
he pulled a girl from the heaving crowd
more than half his age
grabbed her butt for the picture
then sent her on her way

heat stretching itself across
my shoulders
as the sun takes it final bows
i aim and shoot
shoulders aching
8 hours down
i focus on the band
lead singer thrashing and writhing on the stage
don't miss a thing
“oh lucky us, we get such a hot photogrrrrrapher”
a man mustering his charm as he slides his arm
around my waist
which seems to be a resting place
for a lot of men
his gaze washes me over
and i push him away
“baby where are you going! ”

silently pressing through
narrow corridors in the audience
hiding myself
i’m too tired to say no
but i'm lucky enough to be able to leave

the mist lays low on the belly of the hills
creating soft edges over rough terrain
the waters below hold their breath for the tide
two women stretch their limbs
i pause
look through my lens
the two men in the frame
look as if they are being pulled
away from the edge of the hills

i breath in


the image is breathtaking

all of us
pushing pulling

beneath our feet
shared ground
beneath our feet
shared hope

this is my picture

mana tāne
mana wāhine
mana tāngata