Previous posts have discussed ideas about how a book of travel photographs might be put together drawing on the examples of other writers and photographers, such as Chatwin and Newby. At the 2015 Cambridge Book Fair on Saturday I had the opportunity to see a copy of ‘Sand and Sea in Arabia’ by Norman Lewis, published by Routledge and Sons in 1938.
I had been aware of this book, but never seen a copy. It records in words and pictures – one photograph and a block of text on each page – a voyage by dhow from round the tip of the Arabian Peninsula from Aden to Hodeida (Al Hudaydah). The nature of the trip is has a cloak of mystery around it and has been the subject of several different interpretations. Lewis’ biographer, Julian Evans, says that ‘Sand and Sea in Arabia’, “offers the most plausible account, but still contains gaps and question marks.” The book received only modest reviews on publication.