ARCHIVE 272 – BOY ON A FARM
January 26, 2017 30 Comments
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.