Traditional Photography Portfolio by Marj Clayton 

Bumster in training: Tourism began making a significant contribution to the economy in the 1960’s and with it came the bumpster phenomenon.

. Title: Yusepha in mothers room: In his mother’s room, Yusepha seemed some how different. He still wore his fashionable saggy jeans making sure 2 inches of boxers showed and a shiny oversized watch that looked as though it would fall off at any time but

Title: Yusepha’s mother: Mrs Darboe rises early to work in her garden, which is an hour and a half away by foot. Her son Yusepha tells me she is in her 70s which came as a surprise as the average Gambian only lives to 55. Unable to find work Yusepha trie

Title: Abrahim smokes: Abrahim admires the ‘American way of life’ but he has not forgotten the religion he was raised on. In the afternoons he would excuse himself from his friends in order to dedicate some time to prayer. Moslems will pray five times a

Title: Mas in doorway: Mas use to work the airport. ‘When I turned 29 I decided I was too old to be hustling, and took a job working for my uncle at his saw mill. I earn enough to eat and pay the rent but the work is often interrupted by power cuts.’ In 2

Title: Anders makes Attaye at Yusepha’s: Anders makes attaye, ‘gun powder’ green tea. Strong with lots of sugar and fresh mint the tea is poured back and forth between a metal pot and shot glass until it has a foamy head. When the process is complete the

Title: Yusepha reads: One of Yusepha’s tourist friends gave him a magazine, maybe the only one he owns as books are expensive. Sixty percent of the Gambian population are unable to read and write.

Title: Booba & ball: When I met Booba he said before I leave The Gambia I should give him one of my cameras as I had two and he had none.

  Artist's Statement:
I have spent four years documenting Gambia’s unofficial tour guides or hustlers. Gambians refer to them as ‘bumpsters’. The hustling they do is illegal, but they do it out of desperation even though they risk being savagely beaten by the police. For many, hustling is the only way they can make a meagre living and is often a last resort for those who still wish to earn their money honestly. They are marginalized people with a low level of education who live in poverty. As bumpsters, they may not have what many Gambians might consider a respectable job, but they can make money through commissions charged for guiding or aiding tourists and receive kick backs from local restaurants, hotels and taxi drivers when they bring them business. The objective of ‘Bumpsters of Banjul’ is to show my impressions of these illegal guides, their lives and that of their extended families. Since starting this series, I have met various people working as bumpsters and have been invited into their homes to meet their families. The little they have they share as I am often invited to stay for a meal. In an attempt to explain their condition and reveal the personal side of these people I have included background information and their own words and thoughts with the images.
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 All work copyright © 2013 Marj Clayton

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