By Marion Kaplan, Photojournalist

Marion Kaplan

Marion Kaplan

It would be accurate to say I didn’t choose adventure. I chose interesting situations rather than practical approaches even before I started work as a photojournalist. The adventures just sort of followed.

It helps, I think, that I am an only child. I had to entertain myself. As a     result, independence came early. I still find it impossible to be bored, even though I’ve reached ‘old age’. After all, what could be more stimulating than witnessing history, discovering new places, experiencing new ideas and people.

I was still quite young, barely out of my teens, and staying with family in South Africa, when I decided to hitchhike overland back to London. The journey became my ‘pigtail safari’ and took more than two years. It left me with an enthralled and educated view of the continent, very useful when I returned to work in Africa.

Nothing in Africa was dull. The fast flow of news sent me on hazardous journeys. For newspapers and magazines in the UK and USA, I covered revolution in Zanzibar, and photographed ‘personalities’ such as Idi Amin in Uganda, and mercenaries in the Congo. I helped record the struggles for   independence, the last years of Emperor Haile Selassie in Ethiopia, and the splendour of African landscapes and wildlife. And for a story that I loved the most, for National Geographic, I voyaged over two thousand mile aboard a wooden Arab dhow from the Persian Gulf to the East Africa coast to record the final days of the ancient Indian Ocean maritime trade driven by sail and the trade winds.

I left Africa for Portugal, a country still raw from the ‘carnation revolution’. I completed my book, ‘Focus Africa’, and turned to Portuguese and broader European matters just as the European Union was taking shape.

Not for the first time or last time, I was compelled to write about my new home. ‘The Portuguese—The Land and its People’ is an affectionate look at an old nation transforming itself into a modern state. Again, I tried to bring a sympathetic eye to a changing world.

But I was still restless, determined not to settle down, but perhaps hankering for something nearer to home. My restless spirit took me to France and a quieter life, where I live today. Yet old habits and the riches of French     culture prevailed. From my home in the rural southwest I have travelled the length and breadth of my adopted homeland, camera in hand. The latest work is the result, ‘France—Reflections and Realities’.

I would like to think the prose is entertaining, and I am confident in stating that there are many surprises alongside the more familiar in the 240 plus photos in my book. I wouldn’t have it any other way !

Marion’s Ten Top Tips for Living an Adventurous Life

  1. Stay interested in things beyond your immediate world
  2. Keep things ‘fresh’ in your personal life – no grudges or regrets !
  3. Ditto in your work life – move on and look out for new opportunities
  4. Be open to a new story – they are all around you !
  5. Keep learning – facts and skills
  6. Respect others
  7. And Respect yourself
  8. Don’t obsess about it – but keep an eye on your health
  9. Keep good company
  10. Have fun and be fun

‘France - Reflections and Realities’ by Marion Kaplan

Available from Amazon or any good bookseller