Lost in moments

Zied Ben Romdhane

The series is shot in Jendouba, a region in the north west of Tunisia, considered as the main source of water for the country and holding several big dams. The villages nearing the city (oumm el bichna , wled thifallah , el grafa , sloul) are small and scattered groupements of about one hundred People struggling to have access to drinkable water and relying on thin mountain streams and wells usually infected with hepatitis A.

These people go twice a week during the winter to supply their needs on water, the trip takes about one hour and half. Mostly with donkeys, during the summer the process becomes harder, the streams dry up and the ques accumulate to Bill a single barrel.

Despite the short distance between the national dams and these small villages, there are no water conducts, the governmental company for water distribution set up a plan to link these regions with drinkable water, the project in on hold for years.


Black and white photograph of a male farmer burning the hay on a cloudy cool humid autumn morning. The face of an old man wearing rubber boots fades as he slowly walks into the smoke coming from. In the background, there is a corrugated iron fence that separates the man from his property. A brick wall is visible behind the iron fence. The ground is tapestried with grass where a plastic bag is laying on it.


A panoramic black and white photograph of three women from the Awled Dhifallah village in Northwest Tunisia. The photo was captured as they were telling stories about their living conditions as small-scale farmers to the photographer. The woman in the centre of the photograph is actively expressing herself while looking directly into the camera.  The women are wearing scarves around their heads to protect themselves against the cold. There is a large, bare tree in the background, connecting them together with its branches. The tree stands as a metaphor that connects the harshness of the environment with the difficult living conditions women are faced with due to lack of access to essential resources.


A black and white photograph of a barefoot 7-8-year-old boy. He is standing next to a tree trunk. The long, dense roots of the tree are visible due to erosion caused by rainwater eroding the soil.


A black and white panoramic photograph shows half the face of a small light-haired girl whose family has lost their best agricultural lands due to the construction of the dam.  Behind her, there is a village composed of brick and concrete unfinished houses. The waterway affected by the dam is visible in the background. The photographer intentionally chose a panoramic view with many layers to highlight the way the government has extracted resources from the land without reciprocating access to the people who depend on it for their livelihoods.


Women and children from the ‘Ain Elbya’ village fill water containers on a bright sunny day. . It smells like pine trees. Due to the inability to pay for the electricity that pumps water at a spring closer to them, people are forced to walk around 7 kilometres to another water source to access water which is considered unsanitary and sedimented.  There is a pickup truck on the edge of a cliff. Women gather around a donkey beside the water source. The photographer wanted to show the nuance of exploitation - men over women, elders over children and the government over the community.


A small water source in ‘Awled Dhifallah’ village between two small hills of rocky ground and leaf litter texture. A floating plastic container belonging to a person waiting behind the photographer to recollect water can be seen at the back of the photograph. Two small containers are placed at the border of the hill.


A ‘moment in paradise’ photo captured on a beautiful sunset day from inside of an unfinished brick wall construction. The air smells like pine and the terrain are full of fertile and abundant grass. Two rounded holes from inside the wall introduce the image of a man sitting at the top of a small hill while the other two silhouettes are moving and joking in the background. These people are waiting in the queue for collecting water from ‘Awled Dhifallah’ village.


A woman washes clothes under a tap of water at a public water spring. There are two other women beside her, washing clothes and collecting water for their families. A child carrying a plastic container can be seen in the background. The woman is ostracized in the community as she does not come from the village and is not given fair access to water collection. Behind the women, there is a concrete wall that protects the spring from erosion.


A portrait of a ten-year-old boy looking straight into the camera. He is standing against a roughly textured unfinished cement wall. The reflection of sunlight lighting his face creates a glowing halo above his head.


A photo of a cemetery on a very foggy day up in the mountains. Lines of graves and marble tombstones are found in the centre of the image. The cemetery is naturally surrounded by a rocky hill with several trees. The day is humid and it smells like wet earth after it rains. The air is fresh and feels abundant in oxygen.


This photo was taken in the Awled Dhifallah village. A group of people are gathered behind dry water well. The moment was captured when they were telling their stories.


Two men walk along a muddy path surrounded by cactus. The men are walking through a thick archway of cactus. It is a rainy autumn day, and a small stream runs along the path. The photographer remembers the air feeling damp and a deep smell of wet soil.


A man collects water from the swampy endpoint of a spring. The man comes here because it is quieter than the other points of collection and ensures that he only fills water from the top of the pool. The cover of a plastic container floats on the right side of the image. The water has flowers and a mucky substance floating along the surface.


A man plays a ‘zokra’ - a kind of bagpipe during a wedding in the ‘Ommil bechna’ village. The light from the wedding diffracts on the cemented wall creating a shadow of the man and some trees.


Two people stand next to their home beside a tree with large, bare, tangled branches. The roots of the trees are visible due to erosion from heavy rainfall. There are cacti present on the corner of the photograph.