As a tourist it is not easy to discover what the Maldives are really like. You stay in your resort and are not free to visit the rest of the country. Although most resorts do organize excursions to neighboring islands, these are usually guided tours.
I wanted to explore the real Maldives but discovered that I needed permission from the local headman of an island to do this. Resorts are cut off from other islands, so contacting the headman is not easy. I approached the staff at the resort.
At first they considered it a strange request and I really had to convince them of my interest in the local communities. Once they had agreed to help me, I was picked up in a small fishing boat, welcomed by the headman and his family, and shown around their island.
Apart from interviewing people for my story on the ‘marriage carrousel’, it was a joy to simply wander the streets and stumble upon interesting scenes, like the girl triplets in the photo. It was their ninth birthday and I had only a few seconds to take a picture because they were welcoming guests to their party.
To enhance the yellow of the dresses which their mother had made for them and the fact that they are identical triplets, I quickly chose a spot that was as devoid of color as possible and asked them to pose for me.