Photographing Africa, TV preview: Harry Hook records the changing face of a continent

Harry Hook takes viewers on a journey in search of five Samburu women

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The Independent Culture

Photographer Harry Hook has been documenting African life for the past four decades and now, his striking collection of images and the stories they tell form the basis for BBC Four's Photographing Africa.

Hook, also a film director, grew up in Kenya and Sudan. Thirty years ago in 1984, he photographed five women from the Samburu tribe, and he is wondering how their lives might have changed since then.

Samburuland covers 8,000 square miles, an area the size of Wales, and the semi-nomadic tribe could well have travelled great distances, but Hook is determined to find the women, give them a copy of their portrait and learn more about their culture.

Viewers are taken on an intimate, moving journey across a vast continent as Hook, 54, ventures to isolated communities and encounters fascinating people.


The Lenkarna Lmuget coming-of-age ceremony when Samburu warriors are initiated to become Elders also features during the hour-long documentary – an event that happens just once a decade.

Hook's mission is to record the changing face of Africa through photography and first-hand perspectives, as urban migration begins to gather pace and traditional, rural life starts to blend more with contemporary culture.

Photographing Africa airs tonight on BBC4 at 9pm