Patrick De Gabriele

My personal site for University of the Third Age members and their friends, offering free access to a series of 'talks' on Italian Renaissance art and architecture

My photos

      Following my retirement from the travel industry and the closing of my company at the end of 2019, it was suggested to me that some of my photographs might be of interest to others. The suggestion came from my friends Sue and David Prescott, and they very kindly offered their gallery Feat of Clay in Kangaroo Valley. The exhibition was held in April 2021, everyone’s labour and expertise were freely given, and 100% of the proceeds went to the Kangaroo Valley Remexio Partnership. Since 1999, this remarkable group of people has forged close personal relationships with the people of the Remexio region of Timor Leste – they have raised vast amounts of money over the years, and every penny has gone straight to the people who need it most. It was my honour to able to contribute to this in my small way.

      The photographs were taken over a number of years, mostly in the Middle East and North Africa, with some in the Mediterranean region, one in Indonesia and one in Australia (right here in Berry, in fact). The theme was Work, most of the subjects were women, and it was my hope to present these people in a respectful light.

      I realise that one can’t really understand a culture after several visits, but I see these images as windows into other worlds, and a way of emphasising our common humanity.

      Of the thirty images here, eight were shot in Morocco, four in Iran, four in Egypt, three in Turkey, three in Italy, two in Syria, and one each in Australia, Greece, Indonesia, Jordan, Portugal and Spain. This national spread was not part of my plan – each photo was chosen for the way it fitted the theme of ordinary people at work.

      So please enjoy the photos, and let’s look forward to the day when we can visit these fascinating places, again or for the first time.

Patrick De Gabriele


Camel Attendant, Merzouga

The Erg Chebbi dunes near the Algerian border provide an impressive approach to the Sahara Desert

Shepherd, Middle Atlas Mountains

Amazigh (or Berber) pastoral nomads are reclaiming their traditional culture, but life is still difficult, especially for the women

Hat Vendor, Essaouira

Essaouira is a relaxed Atlantic town with a thriving arts scene

Cafe, Ait Ben Haddou

The World Heritage listed village of Ait Ben Haddou has found a new life as a movie set for films such as Gladiator and Game of Thrones

Friday Night Revellers, Jmaa al-Fna, Marrakech

In this World Heritage listed square, as in most places in Morocco, locals seem to outnumber tourists

Shoppers, Essaouira

Moroccan shoppers are brisk, efficient and determined

Public Letter Writer, Rabat

Literacy rates are high in Morocco, especially in cities and among the young, but there are still some who need a service like this

Beggar, Jewish Quarter, Fes

The giving of alms is one of the pillars of Islam, and this dignified woman is merely reminding passers-by of their religious duty


Moharram Hospitality Stall, Esfahan

The Shi’ite holy month of Moharram is a time when all comers, especially foreigners, are invited to share in tea, coffe and animated sign language conversation

Construction Worker, Garmeh

Garmeh is an ancient oasis town in the central Iranian desert, now trying to re-invent itself as a laid-back tourist destination

Qashqai Shepherd near Pasargad

The number of nomadic pastoralists has dropped dramatically in recent years, but a few continue the old way of life

Shi’ite Devotees, Shiraz

The holy day of Ashura is a major day commemorating the death of the Shi’ite imam Hossain


Attendant, Colossi of Memnon, Luxor

The Colossi of Memnon sit as sentinels to the West Bank at Luxor, with its grand royal necropolis of the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens and other mortuary monuments

Greek Orthodox Nun, St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai

Orthodox Greeks don’t have a very big presence in Egypt, but they do have charge of one of the most important sites in Christendom

Temple Attendats, Kom Ombo

These attendants have been recruited for their picturesque appearance rather than their knowledge of ancient Egypt

Coptic Mass, Monastery of Anbar Bishoi, Wadi Natrun

The Coptic minority has always felt under threat, particularly after the Arab Spring – perhaps this is why monasticism is thriving there


Hot Air Balloon, Cappadocia

The balloons only go over the spctacular landscape when the wind conditions are right

Spice Seller, Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Buying spices is a serious business in Turkey, where Iran is seen as the source of the finest saffron

Flag Raising, Istanbul University

Istanbul’s universities are centres of resistance to the rising tide of Islamism in public life


Enoteca, Venice

The Italian traditions of food, wine and hospitality seem to survive the rising tide of tourism

Carabiniere Wedding, Arezzo

The bride’s arrival at the church seemed quite incidental – moments after this shot, she was whisked inside to allow the carabinieri to return to their posing for the cameras

Church Cleaners, San Francesco, Siena

Italian churches rely heavily on pious volunteers, who do their work in the middle of the week


Fabric Seller, Al-Hamidiye Souk, Damascus

The largest souk or market in Syria, within the old city walls, seems to have escaped the civil war relatively undamaged, unlike the citizens

Bridal Shop, Al-Hamidiye Souk, Damascus

Weddings are taken very seriously in Syria, and bridal shops do a brisk trade in sales and hires


Sideshow Alley, Berry Show

Life has always been hard for show people – the pandemic has made it all but impossible


Presedential Guards, Athens

The evzones are a ceremonial unit of the Greek army, selected for height, skill at keeping very still, and the ability to high-step when required


Rice Farmer, Ubud

Balinese rice farming and water management are part of a complex agricultural, social and religious system known as subak


Bedouin Guide, Wadi Rum

This young man would have been offended if I hadn’t photographed him after he went to the trouble of striking a pose


Graduation Day, Coimbra University

The ancient university still dominates this medieval city


Flamenco Dancer, Granada

The passion and energy of flamenco are clear in this shot, taken from the back row of a tiny theatre