Luo people on a farm near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.

I love these portraits.  The man is at ease with me and my camera, he knows me well, and in his expression we see nothing contrived, just a calm and direct gaze.  The little boy is nervous, but is being reassured by the man’s closeness – while the little girl’s radiant smile is a delight.

This smile reminds me powerfully of African children in general!  I was often in out of the way areas in Kenya, often far off the well beaten tourist tracks, searching for unusual birdlife.  And I can remember entering villages where white people were only infrequently seen – and being beset by a tide of brightly smiling little children like these, chanting “mazungu, mazungu!” – swahili for “white man, white man!”. 

And sometimes they were so curious to see me, maybe not having had close contact with a european before, that they came and wondered at the pale hair on my pale arms – and touched my arms and head as if they couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing – it was a real, uninhibited examination!

I like children anyway, I vastly enjoy interacting with them – and especially so when they can talk – and these were simply wonderful and fascinating experiences.  And I also want to mention here how friendly Kenyan people were in general, throughout my years there – friendly, hospitable and humorous.

On the negative side of things though, it was on this trip that I first contracted malaria – and that is something truly unpleasant.

OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro.


About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. bluebrightly says:

    Gorgeous! What a great portrait this is, in every way. Fascinating text, too. I keep forgetting you’re a birder. Today our Townsends warblers returned. Google that and you’ll see why I’m talking about it. They migrate away in the summer, I think to breed at higher elevations, and come back here for the winter, adding fabulous color to the bird life at the suet.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Wow – Townsends Warblers are rather more colourful than most of our warblers (google the genus Phylloscopus!) – but then Nearctic warblers often are – but what delights to have around the garden! The year is changing here too – migrants from Africa, like the Swifts and Nightjars, will have already left, and small flocks of Starlings are frequently around our rooftops.


  2. Man calm. Boy nervous. Girl delightful. You labeled their expressions perfectly. I am envious of your adventures. Like malaria, envy is truly unpleasant. This photo touches me. You have a tendency to generate a plethora of emotions. Sweet. ☺️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. anjurebekah says:

    I love the way you described the picture, especially this particular line, “The little boy is nervous, but is being reassured by the man’s closeness”.


This blog has two pleasures for me - creating the images and hearing from you - so get your thoughts out to the world!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: