Virtual Voices

Weekend Reads: A picture is worth a thousand words

"Weekend Reads: A picture is worth a thousand words" Continued...

Ascension Island is farther north and much harder to live on. Though it has an airstrip, no one is allowed “right of abode.” Only those with a contracted job—mostly military personnel, weather station operators, and their families—may live there. Even natives of the island must leave on reaching adulthood unless they manage to get a working contract. On the other hand, the island’s social pond is much bigger than Tristan’s: It is home to nearly 900 people in its 34 square miles.

Jon Tonks’ photographs of these isolated countries, and two other British-held Atlantic islands like them, are fascinating. The people are, of course, no different from other British citizens. They dress like us and look like us and live in homes like ours in what could be a very small town, Anywhere, U.S.A. But nonetheless, their world is circumscribed by water in a way that mainlanders’ isn’t.

Empire: A Journey to the Remote Edges of the British Empire (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2013) provides a fascinating look through a window into other worlds, parallel to ours, but very far away.  

Caleb Nelson
Caleb Nelson

Caleb grew up on a ranch in northern Colorado and is currently pursuing ordination in the Presbyterian Church in America. He lives in Greenville, S.C.

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