As a grad student in the humanities currently in the midst of studying for my comprehensive exams, I don’t usually have much energy or shelf space for pleasure reading. However, after stumbling upon those old Basenji videos on the British Pathe archives, I decided it would be fun to look up some literature on the history of the breed. I’m pleased that the Basenji Club of America has a rich archive of online material to explore, including some great photos over at the African Stock Project.
For reading material that I could set down on my nightstand, I ordered a copy of Veronica Tudor-Williams’ Fula — Basenji from the Jungle through Interlibrary Loan. It arrived today.
Flipping through the thin little volume, I went immediately for the photo plates in the middle of the book. One picture put an instant grin on my face. Blurry, off-center, and unfit for publication under ordinary circumstances, it was nonetheless perfect in this context. The caption reads: “Basenjis moving off towards a hunt, showing typical Basenji movement — with no time to adjust the camera!” Even though I shoot with a plain little digital camera, I know exactly the feeling. It’s one reason why I don’t have as many pictures of Bowpi, though I find her no less worthy of photodocumentation than Bowdu. When she’s not curled up in a sleeping ball with her shoulder blades turned towards the camera, or pressed too closely against my body to get a good shot, or she appears only as a fidgety blur.
My version of a picture that would appear in a modern edition of a similar book might look something like this:
Basenji moving towards a hunt in the toy section of a pet store, showing typical Basenji movement – with no time to adjust the camera!