Our good friend Willian Cooper-Mitchell recently sent over these Ugandan delights he shot back in 2017, whilst on a road trip driving from Kenya through Uganda & Rwanda to the Congo.
But first, some context! How did WT and William come to meet? Well, welcome to a lesson in chance encounters…
Not too many moons ago, pre-covid, one happened to be in Sri Lanka, somewhat against my will but the things we do!
The waves are soft. The crowds are beyond comprehension. However the locals are charming, the sun shines and the food is delicious. A life of compromise!
Whilst shooting a companion in the water (a rare experience for me, and not one I intend to repeat), I stepped on not just an urchin, but a veritable city of urchins. The waves were awful, the crowds savage. I was in a word, furious. As I hobbled out of the sea, muttering bloody murder under my breath, looking for tweezers and as much hard alcohol as I could eat, a voice said “You alright mate?” in the Queen’s English.
Now the English abroad are a curious bunch. We either hate each other with mutual disdain or instantly gel as bosom buddies. Luckily this was the latter. As I met Will for the first time, picking urchin spines out of each other’s feet, we shared a few warm beers and I learnt of his photography. Fast forward a couple of years, Will has become a good friend of WT, his photography even gracing the cover of Vol VIII. A good bloke indeed. – Alexei Obolensky
Stepping on a sea urchin really does ruin your day. It even does wonders for ruining your sunset surf mood. So as I sat there furious with myself as I knew the entry point to avoid an early spikey retirement I ordered some warm beer and a needle from the barman and sat down to operate.
While my friend started to poke around my toes with a needle we had sanitised in a gin and tonic I watched a photographer and his longboard muse stroll confidently across the beach helping to take my mind off the procedure conducted by a cigarette smoking and increasingly tipsy surgeon. I watched them with not a small amount of envy only to look up again and see the photographer hobbling back out the water, sitting down on the sand and examining his feet. Oh how it improves ones own situation to see another befallen of the same fate, especially if they are British.
Im not sure if it was the warm Lion beer taking effect or my enjoyment of watching the poor man limp up the beach looking for the same answers as me an hour earlier but I called out “urchins?” and offered assistance – a used needle and some even warmer beer.
“Perfect” Came the reply. “I’m Alex”. And we ordered another round. Of beer and needles. And I began to pick black chards of urchin from a strangers foot. A fine chance encounter indeed as Alex turned out to be a perfect fellow patient and friend and none other than the founder of the esteemed Wasted Talent outfit based out of Biarritz. – William Cooper-Mitchell