Word and Image



We stayed overnight in a tented lodge. Which is to say that the tents were on wooden platforms. I was hesitant to photograph the Masai. They escorted us at night from our tented cabin armed with rifles because there was real danger walking back and forth. These same men also carried our bags back and forth. They were pretty serious looking fellows. I got up the courage to ask whether I could photograph them just before we departed. I was surprised that they all broke into big smiles. One man even opened his shawl to envelope my family. It was a spontaneous moment and the feeling of friendliness was mutual.

8 responses

  1. That is a beautiful picture! πŸ™‚

    And taking a risk pays off. Had you left without asking them, you would have lost a chance to take this awesome picture. πŸ™‚ All genuine smiles. πŸ™‚

    January 23, 2012 at 9:01 am

  2. mjsturtevant

    Very rarely do I read a post on here that genuinely makes me smile… This was one of the best posts I have read in a very long time. Short, surprising, and it just made me really… happy πŸ™‚ Glad you got this photo, it’s really amazing! πŸ™‚

    January 23, 2012 at 9:10 am

    • Thanks for your comment. It means a lot.

      January 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm

  3. Victor, what a fun story, and the smiles you captured on film are incredible! During the past weeks in Vietnam, I’d wanted very much to capture the Vietnamese officials (donning green suits) in an image, but somehow, I don’t think they would’ve been as accommodating as the Masai. πŸ™‚ I accidentally snapped a government building earlier on in the trip, and a plain clothes police officer swiftly popped out of the woodwork to scold me, or rather my husband (who unfortunately was the subject of the photo and not the shutterbug).

    January 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    • Yes. It can be tricky shooting in a foreign place where you don’t know the customs well. You could just shoot from the hip without aiming the camera from your eye. Wide angle and you’ll get some interesting shots. Stay safe.

      January 23, 2012 at 9:34 pm

  4. Those smiles must have surprised you from the serious gents. What a great gesture the one made enveloping your family in such a warm way.

    January 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    • No doubt it was a warm moment. In Dar es Salaam the capital city, folks are in your face asking for money to have their picture taken. It ruins all spontaneity. Out in the country, it’s still a different world. I just hadn’t expected it.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm

  5. This is a terrific image, Victor. Certainly a lifetime keepsake.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:06 pm

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