In March 2015 David and Issa travelled to Masirah, an island 19km off the east coast of Oman at the southernmost tip of the Ash Sharqiyah Region. While there they discovered Nu Nu.
See below for further details, or click any image to view it full-screen.
Introducing Nu Nu
In March 2015 David and Issa travelled to Masirah, an island 19km off the East coast of Oman at the southernmost tip of the Ash Sharqiyah Region. It has a population of around 12,000 people who live mainly in the 12 villages that are in the north of the island. It is 95km long and between 12 and 14km wide.
During the trip Issa planned to create a range of environmental portraits of the local fishermen, while David intended to concentrate on capturing the sparse but nonetheless beautiful landscape. They did take these shots, but they also found Nu Nu.
Nu Nu, as you can see, is a simple piece of graffiti, spray-painted in red – on rocks, road signs, and a variety of man-made structures – and it’s unlikely either David or Issa would have noticed it if it were not for the fact that one of Issa’s friends is nicknamed Nu Nu. Once noticed, it was impossible to ignore: painted at the side of the road near the docks at the northern end of the island, at the southernmost lookout point over 90km away, and on numerous street signs between the two. Despite its simplicity Nu Nu had become a pervasive feature of Masirah island.
Over the next few days David and Issa photographed Nu Nu. They photographed much the same scenes – there’s repetition in their various compositions – but they did so in different ways, interpreting each scene by reference to their own photographic aesthetic. As an Omani Issa noticed the clouds, a repetitive feature in many of his image, while David (a UK based photographer) concentrated on conveying the warm desert light. They photographed all the Nu Nu’s they could find.
So who or what is Nu Nu? Despite their best efforts they couldn’t find out – nobody on the island seemed to know their origin or author. Maybe Nu Nu is a young girl and the author her suitor, maybe this is a story of lost love, or perhaps something darker and obsessive. We don’t know, and in not knowing Nu Nu becomes yet more interesting: a repetitive and simple visual narrative, but one that defies any simple explanation.
David J. Nightingale
David, a UK based photographer, has been photographing the world around him for over 30 years. His work – from landscapes and seascapes, through architecture, to both formal and informal portraiture – is driven by the belief that photography is an interpretative rather than representational act: a means of re-presenting the world in new and often visually challenging ways.
Issa Bin Saleh Alkindy
Issa Saleh AlKindy, an Omani photographer, grew up in several countries across the Middle East and North Africa. His exposure to different cultures from an early age sparked a curiosity and infused in him an appreciation for ethnic heritage and modern traditions: elements that suffuse his photography.
Over the years Issa has developed an admiration for photography as an artistic medium of expression that enables him to convey a unique point of view when capturing a fleeting moment in time. He strives to portray the significance of that moment through his images.
© DAVID J. NIGHTINGALE & ISSA BIN SALEH ALKINDY