The Joy Tour 2010 was a motorcycle adventure through southern and east Africa over the course of seven months. It incorporated the unique idea of printing a portrait photo for local people that were met along the way, and giving it to them to keep. The trip has resulted in the coffee table book “SMILE!”
This exhibition showcases some of the images from the book. All other images in the book are also available for order, with a number of printing and framing options.
Below is the introduction taken from the book:
It was a common dream that brought the Joy Tour team together. Hardus Bouwer, Matt Hayter and Guy Anderson have felt the lure of African exploration for as long as they can remember.
Then finally, in June 2010, the time came to hit the road and head north. Motorcycles were the vehicles of choice, to allow flexibility in the adventure, and provide the opportunity to discover an Africa off the beaten track.
In addition to just enjoying what this continent has to offer, the team decided to incorporate a unique concept that would enable them to give something back to the local people along the way.
By carrying a portable printer on the back of his bike, Guy was able to print photographs straight from a camera while on the move. For many, it was the first time they had ever seen a photograph of themselves, and so being able to keep the print left them overjoyed, and with a happy memory to treasure for years to come.
These prints were proudly shown to neighbors and friends, or set up for display in humble homesteads. These very same photographs, which are scattered around the sub- continent, fill the pages of this book.
The inspiration for this "smile catching" came from previous travels through rural parts of Africa, during which children were unable to contain their excitement at simply seeing a photo of themselves on the screen of a digital camera. If they were so delighted with the short lived experience, then surely being a proud owner of their very own printed photograph would be even more special?
As it turned out, it was so. The Joy Tour concept proved its worth time and time again, and much more. The difficulty of carrying a printer, piles of paper, and spare ink was far outweighed at the sight of pure joy on the faces of the friends made along the way. Friendly interactions, prompted by this concept, immersed the team in the local communities, and bridged the gap between different languages, cultures and religions.
In addition to all this, the Joy Tour moulded the journey into an experience that could never have been dreamed up by the wildest of imaginations. The plan had been to complete an eight week round trip through Southern and East Africa, with Uganda set as the most northern destination and turn around point. In reality, nothing went according to this plan.
Break downs, malaria, near arrests, bike accidents and many more unforeseen incidents meant that the deadline of the trip had to be extended again and again. Hardus had to head home after nearly 3 months and Matt followed suit 3 months later. Guy thumbed his last lift home a full 7 months since the start of the trip, bike-less and broke, but with the photographs and memories to tell this story.
These memoirs are simply snippets from the full story, and the photographs are merely an insight into the smiles that inspired it all.