Time Frame: Out of the past

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In this image is an echo of the Biblical story of the Nativity, of the visit to the infant Jesus of the Three Wise Men, or Magi, who arrived in Bethlehem some time after his birth, riding camels and bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The reality is rather more prosaic, although it does carry an echo of a life largely unchanged over 2,000 years and more.

It shows members of a Bedouin tribe passing through the desert of the Western Region some time around 1960.

It was taken by John Vale, a British engineer working on the exploration of oil fields around Tarif.

The procession of two men and a  veiled woman, the bundles of scant possessions and a precious clay pot of water on the lead camel, represent the old way of life.

But the photo is actually of the future, symbolised by the tyre tracks in the sand and the empty upturned oil barrel in the foreground. This little camel train is riding into the past.

* James Langton