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.

Click onto the image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that version to enlarge it.

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


I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.


About Adrian Lewis
Photographer - using mono, colour and combinations of the two - many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous, trying new ideas, working in multiple genres. And I've a weakness for Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. The delightful smile was the first thing I saw. I imagine you must pale in comparison to them. 🤪 (oh that’s was a corny joke)

    Great shot, bud.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. krikitarts says:

    I was hoping you’d bring this out of the archives again. A really fine family portrait, Adrian.


  3. bluebrightly says:

    Such a formative, life-changing experience, your years in Africa. The three expressions here are riveting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. David says:

    I love the range of emotions here!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh…this is such a beautiful portrait, Adrian…very moving your capacity of storytelling… (oh, yes…smiling at you, of course!)

    Liked by 1 person

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