ARCHIVE 272 – BOY ON A FARM

 

 

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Young Luo boy on a farm near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; Apr 1979.

He is standing in front of the painted mud wall of a hut and is vastly amused to be having his picture taken – what a pity that those weren’t digital days, so that I could have showed him the result – or that I didn’t carry a polaroid camera with me.

Looking for rare birds – I was an out and out birder in those days, photography was very much a subsidiary thing – I remember entering villages deep in the western countryside where the africans seldom encountered white people, to be greeted by little children running at my VW Beetle, shouting “mzungu, mzungu!” – “white man, white man!”.  They crowded around me, looking at my skin and touching it with wonder and great curiosity – and all around were excited grins and smiles like the one above.

Olympus OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO.

UPDATE: this picture was taken 38 years ago and, getting older as I am, I find myself looking at this broadly grinning face, a face from my distant past, and wondering what has become of him.  For a start, is he alive, has he survived?  This is after all the Third World, and an area brutally infested by malaria – which I myself was struck down with – so that nothing can be guaranteed.  Assuming that he is still alive, he will now be in his 40s, perhaps with a family of his own.  So has he stayed on these far western farms, or maybe been drawn by the lure of the cities – nearby Kisumu, or even far off Nairobi or Mombasa?  I can have no answers here but am nevertheless left with one certainty: being a geologist and naturalist, most of my Kenyan photography was of the spectacular landscapes and wildlife – but now, with hindsight, I wish that my photographs had a more of a human element, that I’d taken more photographs of the Kenyans themselves.

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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.

30 Responses to ARCHIVE 272 – BOY ON A FARM

  1. bluebrightly says:

    Your thoughts on this photograph are moving – I can imagine feeling the same way – the wondering about what has become of people you crossed paths with, the wish that more images of them were taken at the time. But every time is different, and then you were caught up in your work, I suppose, and in love with the birds and landscape around you. Not a bad thing!
    In any case, what a wonderful memento. It would be a great starting off point for a writer, who could craft his story.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Yes, the crossing of paths, sometimes the passing of ships in the night – as I age, and as long-term memory therefore sharpens, I find more and more to remember, more and more to ponder and wonder about.

      Like

  2. Meanderer says:

    Lovely, Adrian.

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      So many Africans have this, in the main I found them tremendously friendly and hospitable – and this was all the more welcome and impressive because I was, after all, a national from the former colonial power. A

      Liked by 1 person

      • Our current society could learn a lot from them!!! The more people have, the more spoilt they become, the more miserable they become and we end up with Brexit and Trump 😦

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        • Adrian Lewis says:

          I agree with the spoilt bit – even early in my lifetime, what we have today would have been unimaginable. But I think Brexit, and perhaps Trump too, are a result of governments failing to heed ordinary people’s wishes and aspirations. Trump is both a joke and horrifying at the same time, but I’m a firm supporter of Brexit – we are of course a part of Europe and will always be, but to me that is not at all the same as being governed by Europe. A

          Liked by 1 person

          • I guess we’re all just going to have to wait to see how Brexit actually impacts upon us. I will admit to actually being in disagreement with you over it. Highly unusual for us to have a different viewpoint 😉 I think governments across the world have been guilty of not heeding what constituents are asking for but I also think that many voters are all about what they want regardless of whether they really need it or if it’s even possible to achieve. Every nation has a growing debt, a growing population and greater social needs. I wouldn’t want to be a politician right now because I can’t see any realistic way of making the figures work in. The sad thing is that instead of a true democratic society we’re all under the governance of the capitalist powers. I feel very sorry for those in politics who genuinely want to create a better world 😦 Trump scares me! I wish I could still laugh at his craziness but he’s got such a powerful position now it’s no joke anymore. Anyway, enough serious stuff!! I’m looking forward to having some fun with the children in my life during half term next week 😀 You take care my friend! Sx

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            • Adrian Lewis says:

              Sarah, thanks for this long reply – and I’m glad that I didn’t offend you by nailing my colours to the mast as a Brexit supporter! I think you’re quite right both about governments not heeding their electorates, and about people wanting everything irrespective of whether “everything” is practically attainable. For me, I think the central thing is that the EU has become (and is, as I type, continuing to be) far, far too authoritative, which is unacceptable. I think Brexit will impact on us, quite probably negatively in the short term, but I do think that we will be amply able to stand on our own two feet in the longer term. Yes, the demise of democracy – which we see right here. After all, there can be nothing as democratic as a referendum in which everyone is given a vote – and so the UK has voted (and my view would be the same had it voted to stay) and now all manner of people are trying to derail what the majority have voted for. And of course there was Project Fear that preceded the referendum – day after day, naked threats and dire warnings about the consequences of voting to leave – I remember the Chancellor threatening a “brutal” budget. We talk of British democracy, but I think that the past year’s events show us in a rather different light. A

              Liked by 1 person

              • Oh you didn’t offend at all!! Life might be simpler if we all agreed on everything but it would also be incredibly boring. I doubt mankind would have evolved into the species we are today without different ideas and thoughts. It’s so very hard to know what the way forward is for the world but I don’t like the separatism that seems to be unfolding. Project Fear was symptomatic of the negativity of media and society I think 😦 We should be trying to build on positives rather than divide through the negative!

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                • Adrian Lewis says:

                  I’m very glad not to have offended you, Sarah. You are right about the negativity if the media (good news = no news???) and society, but I think Project Fear was a concerted attempt by the then government (notably the Chancellor) to sway the result of the Brexit vote – and I saw on the news recently that, at that time, David Cameron had tried to persuade the Daily Mail to sack a pro-Brexit editor. Anyway, glad we are still friends! Adrian

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Of course we’re still friends 😀 I love that we can have such great discussions even though we’ve never met! I still think Project Fear is something that actually goes waaaay back in history. So many political and social movements have used it and sadly will continue to do so 😦 I just look at the way Trump has duped so many with his fearmongering tales! It’s a dreadful thing that there are people in America who actually believe what he says. Wondering who will be next from the Trump team to be sacked for talking to the Russians! What a bonkers world. I’m focusing on good stuff for the near future 🙂 Planning a weekend away in the Cotswolds with my best friend at the moment and getting more involved with some local photo groups who do photorambles etc. The Woking Peregrine Project have put more cameras up near the nest box and I am really hoping for another successful nesting year for them 🙂 They’re amazing to watch!

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                    • Adrian Lewis says:

                      Yes, I agree, Project Fear didn’t start before the referendum, it is a tool that was in use way before then. And I wonder when it will be used again …? As for Trump, both a joke and a nightmare – a little boy is in charge of the world’s most powerful superpower.

                      Yes, focus on the good stuff! >>> enjoy the Cotswolds – and the Peregrines too! A 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Someone really needs to take his twitter account away from him 😉

                      Liked by 1 person

  3. steveo says:

    Nice photo Adrian. Pictures like these always remind me how little it takes to make a kid happy. I’m sure there’s a lesson somewhere in that.

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thanks, Steve! Yes, a lesson there, I’m sure too – and maintaining a childlike sense of wonder at the world can I think be a great boon to photography. We should try to keep away from thinking things mundane, we should really look at things and experience their beauty and wonder. Adrian

      Liked by 1 person

  4. paula graham says:

    What a face…let us hope life has been good to him…and yes, I travelled all over the world without a camera, before I encountered Photography!

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Photography is of course wonderful, but it can take over I think, and to some extent interfere with enjoyment of new surroundings – the search for images can obscure the overall, “being there”, enjoyment and appreciation of a place, at least I’ve found it can. So maybe you got more from your travels without a camera at the time, but have fewer reminders now. As with many things, its a question of defining priorities, and keeping a balance.

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  5. Mathias LK says:

    A catching portrait and some very wise thoughts.

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  6. That’s nice Adrian. I know what you mean about the human photos. I always tend to do objects, animals and landscapes. I always think myself that I need more people in them. Brings a special life to a photograph to have a human in it. I hope he is well too.

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Photographing people is not an easy genre, at least I don’t find it so anyway, but I do think it rewarding and worthwhile. I’ve done a lot recently but they’ve all been candids, of people going to work on Bristol – but I’m edging, just edging, towards asking people if I can take their photographs – haha! >>> watch this space! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! Yes I know where you’re coming from. It’s a challenge. Sometimes I wonder if photography is a good hobby for my introverted self. No people involved. 👀😎

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        • Adrian Lewis says:

          I think one of the great things about photography is that it is what each individual one of us makes it, it can be anything we choose >>> so if you are introverted and don’t relish human contact, then there’s no need for human contact. One of my core, basic, very firm beliefs is that there are no rights or wrongs in photography – and I would say the same of any of the arts >>> we do what we do and that is right for us, and that is all that matters. A 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  7. like the Afghan Girl! what a smile on his face, very poignant Adrian. I hope he is well.

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