When I look at this photo of a turtle laboriously crossing a desert road, I’m filled with questions… will she make it without being squashed? Are there other cars here—cars rushing madly, unlikely to pay any heed to the possible crossings of turtles?

Marc told me that the car parked a little further along was his. Had he stopped there just after noticing the turtle at the side of the road? Or was he already stopped, having left the car to photograph something else, have a picnic, or relieve himself? Maybe the turtle, seeing that the coast was clear, took advantage of a moment of calm and tried to make it across?

Like all Marc’s photos, this picture raises many questions. It transports us far beyond the image itself, to awaken our imagination to stories untold but implied or suggested by the image.

Such an effort it takes for the turtle to lift her foot over the furrow in the dirt. Be strong, dear turtle! Have you left friends or family behind, or are you en route to meet them? Are you setting out from home, or headed back?

Or are you just, very simply, out for a walk—not unlike Marc Riboud, on a desert road, in the soft Turkish hills in 1955?


Jane Evelyn Atwood
October 2015